Gluten-Free, Milk-Free Gingerbread
Years ago I inherited a gingerbread recipe that sent my taste-buds flying. It was a dear friend’s mom’s, and I remember the first time I made it for a group of friends. Back then, I was relatively unfamiliar with basic cake techniques, and the idea of “starting and ending with dry” seemed practically scientific.
The cake got raves. But after that first time, I couldn’t eat it. My milk allergies had gotten worse.
Fast forward ten years later and I made the recipe my own. I think actual ginger-bread is too often overlooked in favor of its cookie-d cousins. Which, trust me, I enjoy thoroughly. But there’s something so homey and warm and New England holiday about it that I particularly love.
Substitution ingredients are below, but this blend of ingredients produced a moist, perfectly sweet, highly-spiced cake that I ate way too much of as soon as it was cool enough to slice.
Notes: I used butter, but not milk, substituting with unsweetened almond milk. To make completely dairy-free, substitute the melted butter with melted butter-flavored Earth Balance. You can use regular all-purpose flour (2 cups) if you don’t have gluten problems, or substitute with a gluten-free mix of your own. I use less xanthan gum in this recipe than you might expect – if you want to omit completely, just add 1 Tbsp of flax meal.
Another time I made this recipe I used 1 cup white rice, 1/2 cup tapioca, 1/2 cup sorghum and 1/4 cup millet and it worked well too!
Top with unsweetened coconut milk whipped cream for a special holiday treat!
- 1 cup white rice flour
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch / flour (or arrowroot starch)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup melted butter (or melted Earth Balance to make dairy-free)
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vinegar and enough unsweetened almond, soy or cow’s milk to make 1/2 cup of liquid total
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup hot water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan (preferably something thick like a Pyrex dish), set aside.
- In a measuring cup, heat the milk and vinegar so that it’s slightly warm.
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), add flours, tapioca starch, salt, baking powder, baking soda, xantham gum and spices. Stir/mix/whisk quickly to combine.
- Make a well in the center and pour in this order: molasses, maple syrup, melted butter, egg, and milk/vinegar mixture.
- Stir/mix together until combined.
- Add hot water and beat until combined.
- Pour into pan and bake for 40 minutes or until slightly browned on top and slightly springy when you press it with your finger.
- Cool for 15 minutes, then loosen from the pan with a knife and invert onto cooling rack.
- Cool completely before slicing.
Decorate with sifted powdered sugar and whipped cream (either cow cream or coconut milk are delish!)
For some reason listening to Nina Simone seemed appropriate when making Ebelskivers alone in my apartment last week. Being that Nina is neither from Denmark nor filled with jam, I don’t know why this was so. Maybe sweet cinnamon, sugar and molasses made me think both of the blues and pancakes?? Or strong coffee and whiskey? Mine is not to reason why… just to bake and sway slowly and enjoy. Which I did.
My friend Abigail loaned me her cast-iron pan for these little treats recently, and I had a feeling “waiting” for a brunch crowd was going to test my patience too far. So these got simply rolled in cinnamon and sugar and were served atop whipped cream with chocolate macaron shells, hazelnut cookies and cherry compote at a dinner party I attended later in the evening. I should have taken pictures of the whole caboodle, but let’s just say a few bottles of Prosecco had made their way around the room by the time dessert was plated.
Abigail also gave me her recipe, which is a basic pancake recipe but where the smart (and culinary-school trained) lady specifies separating the egg whites and yolks and beats the whites to stiff peaks, giving the pancakes a lot more lift and chew.
I simply adapted by using my gluten-free cake flour blend and changed / added a bit here and there. And I learned from a few floppy results how to get the pancakes as round and fluffy as possible!
- 1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (I used my standard cake flour blend)
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 Tbsp soy sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp melter butter or cooking spray
- Sift flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
- Lightly whisk the milk and soy sour cream until smooth (this somewhat replicates buttermilk).
- Add cinnamon and vanilla.
- Lightly whisk the egg yolks and then whisk into milk mixture.
- Combine wet with dry.
- Beat egg whites into stiff peaks and then fold into batter.
- Melt butter and wipe with a pastry brush into Ebelskiver pan, then set over medium/high heat. If using cooking spray, spray liberally.
- Bring to a medium/high heat and fill 3/4 way with batter, making sure to note where you’ve started and ended to make turning easier.
- Using a miniature frosting spatula, tongs, a 2-pronged fork or miniature spatula, flip Ebelskivers when they are just starting to pull away from the pan and browning on the bottom. I’ve found confidence and the grace of a ballerina help when turning them without the batter messing all over the pan. Standing with one foot slightly raised and toes pointed somehow also contributes to success. As does giving yourself an extremely low curtsy afterwards in celebration.
Now, I simply tossed mine in cinnamon and sugar and they were divine. On a more ambitious day (or when trying to impress an overnight guest who’s daring to stay for brunch) I might put a drop of jam or lemon curd into the center. Ooh, or dark chocolate (for them, not me).
I found the result to be a lovingly fluffy, chewy pancake, rather neutral in flavor as one must be. Mixing some ground flax seed and diced ginger might be delightful. Hmm… now I’m hungry.
Round and fluffy and delicious
Insanely yummy, healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins
Yesterday morning I awoke to Autumn, not Spring, dripping its way down my New York City windows. It was chilly, much more so than I’d want for a May morning. And though I had very little time to get a bunch of stuff done before yet another commute east for rehearsal, I found myself craving something grainy and warm.
And luckily there’s always time for… muffins!I love making muffins because of how easy and versatile they are. I obviously wasn’t going to go out to get any ingredients, and I didn’t have an apples or rotting bananas on hand. So I scoured my pantry and found an old can of sweet potato puree left over from my waffle experimentation.
Voila! Naturally gluten-free, these muffins are chock full of fiber with flax seed meal, have a little boost of protein with quinoa flour and contain no processed white sugar. You can also easily make them dairy free (directions below). They’re moist and dense, but not very sweet. Because of this you can toast one up for breakfast or serve as a dinner “roll”. If you need them sweeter, I suggest slathering with some jam or dunking in maple syrup or honey. Butter is also delightful… mmmmmmm…
Yields 12 insanely delicious muffins
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup ground flax meal (not flax seeds)
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot or potato starch
- 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup sweet potato puree
- 4 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance, melted
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, soy or cow’s milk
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Line 12 muffin tins with liners or spray with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
- In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, sweet potato puree, maple syrup, butter and milk thoroughly until smooth.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated and a bit lumpy.
- Fill evenly into tins and smooth with a spoon.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until slightly browned on top.
Yields 12 muffins.
For nutritional info please go to this recipe on CookEatShare.
Yummy, moist and slightly sweet Sweet Potato Flax Muffins
Recipe is loosely based on one by Michelle at TasteAsYouGo. Please support her blog!
Coriander Cinnamon Carob Candy
That’s a word I’ve been throwing around my kitchen lately. My ambitions with allergy-alternative baking are to make gorgeous treats just as delectable for those without sensitivities as those with, that are as appealing to the eyes as they are to the tastebuds.
But sometimes things just look…rustic. They taste delicious but look a bit like the ugly duckling pre-swan-age.
This recipe is one such recipe. I’m playing with molding carob powder with spices and fat into a hard candy that is satisfying and palatable for even the most sensitive stomachs. Once again, this combination tastes delicious – with citrusy tangs of coriander and a cinnamon spice – but it took a while to get them to release easily from the molds. Like the little engine, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can… but for now I’ll enjoy my “rustic” treats.
- 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter) or unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp ground decaffinated coffee
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 cup coconut creme
- 1 cup carob powder
- Lightly grease mini-cupcake tins and dust heavily with cinnamon
- Place a small pot on low heat and melt ghee or butter
- Add 2 Tbsp cinnamon, coffee and coriander, and whisk to combine
- Let sit on low heat for about 5 minutes to infuse
- Slowly whisk in coconut creme, doing so until thoroughly combined and the mixture is a light brown with all the butter absorbed
- Add carob, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking thoroughly with each addition. By the second addition, the ghee may separate from the creme and start to lump with the carob: don’t sweat this. It should absorb back into the final mixture, which should be rather lumpy. The mixture should not be smooth like chocolate, but almost look like a big pile of used coffee grounds.
- Use a scant tablespoon to fill each mold, and pat the tops down flat.
- Heavily dust with two coats of cinnamon.
- Refrigerate until hard, about 1 hour, then let sit for about five minutes to soften a tad. Use a very thin knife to work around the mold and slowly ease candies from pan. Dust with cinnamon.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.