People who live with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can struggle to find ways to prepare meals that their digestive systems can tolerate and that offer the tastiness that makes mealtime enjoyable.

Donna Washburn and Heather Butt have been writing cookbooks for people with gluten intolerance since 2001. Their latest, "The Gluten-Free Baking Book" is subtitled, "250 small batch recipes for everything from brownies to cheesecake."

The book is geared toward people who live alone or who are empty-nesters, who want just enough dessert for one or two people. The recipes featured have been downsized from the standard 9-by-13-inch pan to a 9-by-5-inch pan. Cupcake recipes are for six instead of 12, cookie recipes make 1 1/2 dozen and individual tarts, using custard cups or ramekins, replace the standard 10-inch tart pan.

The authors say another goal for their gluten-free books is to continue to increase fiber and calcium, and decrease fat, sugar and sodium, in their recipes.

CLASSIC BANANA BREAD

Makes 6 slices

Serving size: 1 slice

Equipment: 5 3/4-by-3 1/4-inch mini loaf pan, lightly greased

3/4 cup mashed bananas

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/3 cup low-fat soy flour

2 tablespoons tapioca starch

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons GF (gluten-free) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

- In a large bowl, combine bananas, milk and vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes.

In a bowl or plastic bag, combine sorghum flour, soy flour, tapioca starch, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Mix well and set aside.

Add egg yolk and oil to banana mixture and, using an electric mixer, beat until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Let stand for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 20 minutes. Check to see if loaf is getting too dark and tent with foil if necessary. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until internal temperature of loaf registers 200 degrees* on an instant-read thermometer. Let cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.

Variation: Stir in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans at the end of step 3.

Tips: You'll need about 2 very ripe medium bananas for 3/4 cup mashed. Do not add extra.

*This is a very dark loaf, and will appear baked before it is, so it is important to take the internal temperature.

HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE BLONDIES

Makes 16 blondies

Serving size: 1 blondie

Equipment: 8-inch-square baking pan, lightly greased, bottom and sides lined with parchment paper

1 cup low-fat soy flour

1/4 cup hazelnut flour

2 tablespoons tapioca starch

1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 ounces bittersweet (dark) chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided

2/3 cup toasted coarsely chopped hazelnuts, divided

- In a bowl or plastic bag, combine soy flour, hazelnut flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum and salt.

In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer on low speed, cream brown sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla until well blended. Stir in the dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in half each of the chocolate and hazelnuts.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Using a moistened rubber spatula, spread to edges, leaving top rough. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate and hazelnuts, pressing them into the batter. Let stand for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Bake for 32 to 35 minutes or until golden. Let cool completely in pan on a rack, then cut into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Variation: Substitute 1/3 cup bittersweet (dark) chocolate chips for the squares.

CARROT CAKE

Makes 4 servings

Equipment: Two 4-inch mini Bundt pans, lightly greased

3/4 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

2 teaspoons GF (gluten free) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup shredded carrots*

1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1/3 cup raisins

3/4 cup Cream Cheese Frosting (below)

- In a bowl or plastic bag, combine sorghum flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat sugar, egg, milk, oil and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and carrots; mix until just combined. Stir in walnuts and raisins.

Spoon batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Using a moistened rubber spatula, spread to edges and smooth tops. Let stand for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Let cool in pans on a rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely on rack. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Variations: Bake in two 5 1/4-by-2 1/2-inch mini loaf pans for 35 to 37 minutes. For 6 cupcakes, bake in a 6-cup muffin pan lined with paper liners for 20 to 23 minutes.

Tips: Let cakes cool completely, then wrap tightly and freeze for up to 6 weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator.

*One medium carrot will yield about 3/4 cup shredded.

MINI BATCH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Makes about 3/4 cup, enough for 6 cupcakes or two mini cakes

Serving size: 2 tablespoons

1/4 cup brick cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup sifted GF (gluten free) confectioner's sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

- In a bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioner's sugar and vanilla until blended.

Tip: You can use light or regular cream cheese. Spreadable or whipped softens too quickly to use.

- Per serving: 136 calories, 6g fat, 4g saturated fat, 15mg cholesterol, 89mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 1g protein, 15mg calcium.

Excerpted from "The Gluten-Free Baking Book" by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt (© 2011 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca.) Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

(Reach reporter Karen Herzog at 250-8267 or karen.herzog@bismarcktribune.com.)