Special Publications Editor Mary Creel has been exploring the vast, ever-expanding world of gluten-free foods.

Cute packaging and graphics shouldn’t be criteria for evaluating products. But I have to admit; a woman in a pink headband on Jules’ Gluten Free All Purpose Flour is more than just a pretty face. Jules Shepard, like many people with food allergies, became an entrepreneur to satisfy her own need for high quality gluten-free ingredients at a time when they were scarce in the market place.

Her breakthrough came when she nailed down a mix of five grains and starches to approximate the properties of wheat flour for an all-purpose flour that can be substituted cup for cup for regular flour in recipes. In addition to the flour, people rave about her cookie mix, yeast bread mix, cake mix, oats, to name just a few. Her colorful web site is easy and fun to navigate with recipes and product ordering information, link to her blog, as well as recommendations of other gluten-free products for someone starting to make the conversion to a gluten free lifestyle. She’s also penned three books.

I made the blueberry muffin recipe on the sample bag of all-purpose flour we received in the office. People didn’t know they were gluten-free because they looked and tasted like regular muffins.

In addition to heading product and recipe development, Jules travels the country teaching cooking classes and educating people about her no-compromise approach to living gluten-free.

I’d put her in the league of one of the best gluten-free bakers.

So in Jules’ case, you can judge a book by its cover.