One of the best things about blogging is the people you meet who become lifelong friends; and when those friends are talented bakers, they write beautiful cookbooks and send a copy to you. Such is the case with Marbled, Swirled, and Layered written by our very good friend Irvin Lin of the wildly popular blog, Eat the Love.

Irvin is a passionate baker with a love of all things pastry and who also happens to have a gift for pairing traditional flavors with unusual combinations; they create multilayered desserts you might not have considered: Seville Orange Bars with Salted Shortbread and Gin Meringue (Gin Meringue!) or regional recipes such as Butterscotch Whoopie Pies with Apple-Cream Cheese Filling. His cover recipe, Marshmallow-Filled Chocolate Cake is a spin on one of my childhood favorites – the Hostess Cupcake – complete with swirled icing on top.

I’ve been a gluten-free baker for the past 6-years and even though this isn’t a gluten-free book, the recipes can be converted with success so there’s no need to feel left out at any type of celebration. There are also recipe hacks which give a traditional recipe that special ‘sumpin’-sumpin’, such as adding bourbon or spiced rum to a pie crust (Apple-Blackberry Tarte Tatin anyone?).

I have several pages flagged for recipes to bake in 2017 but one of my seasonal favorites is Irvin’s take on the humble brownie; I’m pretty sure we can all agree on our love of brownies but topped with Salted Caramel popcorn? Sublime. But wait  . . . he also gives a few alternatives including one for Candied Peppermint Popcorn Mocha Brownies; so good in fact, that the recipe landed in Oprah’s December issue . . . yes, the Oprah.

I made mine gluten-free and switched it up yet again: white chocolate ganache popcorn, laced with crushed peppermint candy. We shared leftovers (who has leftover brownies??!!!) with The Professor’s students and they were a huge hit!

If you’re a baker, even a gluten-free baker, you need Marbled, Swirled, and Layered on your shelves – it’s a beautiful book – and one you’ll bake from again and again.

Disclaimer: I am not being compensated to share this with our readers; and while I received a free copy of the book, everything I write here are my own words, my own opinion, and my own experiences.

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  • 105 grams gluten-free flour (¾ cup, your favorite)
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your mix already includes)
  • 35 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6-ounces unsweetened chocolate (do not use semi-sweet chocolate)
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 210 grams sugar (approx 1-1/2 cups)
  • 105 grams brown sugar (approx ¾ cup)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 Tablespoons instant coffee
  • 6-ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup crushed candy canes, plus additional to garnish
Read the whole recipe on Smith Bites