Perfectly Golden

Article by Linda Kissam
Additional commentary by guest Bobbie Kitto
Photographs courtesy of Countryman Press

Recipes included: Strawberry Pretzel Pie & Mixed Berry Preserves

A cookbook of treats from the Great Plains to satisfy every sweet tooth.

Who is excited about a full-on dessert book? ME! Me! Me! Especially this one, because it is one of the few books from a currently working pastry chef who shares fabulous EASILY adaptable recipes for sweet and simple treats.

Use the recipes from Perfectly Golden by Angela Garbacz when gluten-free matters, when dairy free is a concern, vegan is your thing or you just want a “normal” flour and sugar treat recipe.


Angela Garbacz

Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, Goldenrod Pastries is a community bakery with an ambitious and talented baker at the helm. Angela Garbacz learned at her mother’s and grandmothers’ elbows, mixing up cookies and rolling sweet buns. Her training continued in New York City before she returned home and opened her dream shop. “We believe that everyone deserves treats and birthday cakes, so we work hard to make pastries that can be enjoyed by as many people, with as many diets, as possible. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan treats are our most common and most requested, though Goldenrod caters to just about any allergy or dietary restriction.” “Our style is whimsical, pure, and always accented with bright colors, sprinkles, edible glitter, and flowers. Our pastries pack a punch and are designed to inspire both your palate and your imagination.”

Guest author and home pastry chef extraordinaire Bobbie Kitto sums up her thoughts on this book

What a pretty surprise when I received my book. The cover is simple but attractive. I like that finally, people with dietary needs can graduate to the adult table of desserts and not be stuck chewing on tasteless cookies or cakes while others get the good stuff. No longer will home chefs have to make two kinds of breads, cookies, pies, or cakes so everyone can feel included at the pastry table.

Bobbie Kitto

I was especially intrigued by the bread section. The author provides a few recipes that are the basis for many different kinds of rolls, buns, or bread that will stay within everyone’s dietary needs.

The cinnamon rolls and The Funeral brownies were my favorites. I could taste the gooey “chocolateness”  just reading the ingredients. The story behind the name reminded me of when I was asked to bring my peanut brittle to a funeral lunch.

The author does a good job explaining her thoughts on food, family, and why she went the extra mile to break each recipe down into gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and original version. I am sure there are many people reading this review who will be eternally grateful that they too can include all members of their family and friends in the enjoyment of treats.


Garbacz’s pastries come out of the oven perfectly golden and regularly sell out. My favorites included the Sticky Pecan Buns, Turtle Cookie, Date + Lemon Cake, Apricot + Oat Cookie Squares and the Hummingbird Cake. More than 100 color photographs are in this beautiful cookbook – as well as the photography, the philosophy, and the desserts easily share the path to what success looks like.

Enjoy the following recipes courtesy of the author: Strawberry Pretzel Pie & Mixed Berry Preserves

Strawberry Pretzel Pie

Yield One 9-inch pie

What’s not to love? A sweet and salty pretzel base, fresh strawberries barely held together with their own juices, and a whipped coconut cream topping. This is something I remember eating during the peak of hot Nebraska summers. I always tried to scrape more than my fair share of the salty pretzels on the bottom.

This was a very popular dish in the 1990s in Nebraska—a really popular potluck and summer holiday menu item. It was always called a “salad” though, which I thought was a little odd, so I made it into a pie. But, if we’re calling this a salad, I’d like to see more salads just like this!


Pretzel Crust

Nonstick spray for pan

6 cups (400 g) pretzels, dairy- or gluten-free if necessary

3 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons (75 ml)

Melted coconut oil

Strawberry Filling

4 cups (476 g) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 cup (240 ml) water

3/4 cup (150 g)

Granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca starch

Red gel food coloring as desired topping

1 recipe Whipped Coconut Cream (page 230)

Make the crust: Grease a 9-inch pie pan with nonstick spray. Crush the pretzels with the bottom of a pot or with a rolling pin until they are a mixture of pretzel powder and pretzel pieces. Transfer the pretzels to a bowl, add the sugar and coconut oil, and mix together to combine. Press into the bottom of the prepared pie pan and transfer to your refrigerator. Let the crust chill and set while you make the filling.

Make the filling: Crush 1 cup (120 g) of the strawberries and cook in a small saucepan with the water for about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and let the juice cool for about 20 minutes. Combine the sugar and starch in a small bowl and whisk into the strained berry juice. Transfer back to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Add a couple of drops of red food coloring as desired. Place 1½ cups (178 g) of the remaining strawberries in the bottom of your chilled piecrust, then pour half of the sauce over the berries. Repeat those layers with the last 1½ cups (178 g) of strawberries and the remaining sauce. Chill for at least 5 hours before serving. Top with Whipped Coconut Cream and serve.

Whipped Coconut Cream

This recipe marked a big change in how I perceived eating dairy-free. It gave me hope that I would find the same joy in nondairy treats that I had found in my past life of butter- and cream-filled treats. This whipped coconut cream is everything I wanted whipped heavy cream to be: it is super rich and luscious, sweet on its own without adding any sugar, and the perfect accompaniment to so many of my favorite desserts in this book.


2 cups whipped coconut cream


Two 15-ounce (425 g) cans full-fat coconut milk

2 teaspoons

Pure vanilla extract

Refrigerate the cans of coconut milk for at least 24 hours. Freezing doesn’t work, so just be patient, plan ahead a little, and use the refrigerator.

After they have been refrigerated, open the cans and carefully scoop out the top layer of cold, solidified coconut milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Reserve the remaining milk for another use. Add the vanilla extract and mix on medium-high speed until most of the lumps of coconut fat have broken up and soft-peaks have formed, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate or use immediately.



The most reliable brand of coconut milk that I have used for this recipe is the Whole Foods 365 brand full fat coconut cream. Try to choose a brand that doesn’t add any gums or sweeteners to the milk, as the final product will be impacted by these additional ingredients.


Mixed Berry Preserves

Mixed Berry Preserves


Yield 3 cups preserves

Use fresh berries in the summer or when they’re available to you, and use frozen berries when it’s more convenient.


5 cups (500 g) mixed berries (I like a mix of strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries)

3/4 cup (150 g)

Granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh

Lemon juice

5 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca starch

Combine the berries and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce is cooked together and bubbly, stirring often. Whisk together the salt, starch, and lemon juice in a small bowl, then add to the hot fruit sauce. Whisk constantly until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat and let cool completely before using.

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ISBN: 978-1-68268-476-4

PRICE: $29.95

PAGES: 256

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Note from the author: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided a free copy to me to perform a professional review. No fee was paid by the author for this review. I only recommend books that I find to have value for my readers. Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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