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!)
Honeybun Ice Cream with Fruit Compote and Macarons
This dessert is incredibly happy-making. Honeybun ice cream made with coconut milk, topped with stewed fruit and a French macaron – divine. It was the perfect conclusion to my FoodBuzz 24×24 Scarborough Fair Summer Supper Party. Laced with lavender honey and infused with spearmint, it’s both sweet and refreshing at the same time.
Oh, and why is it named Hurricane Irene Erosion? Because my lavish summer supper party poolside in Connecticut became a rainy dinner for seven in my apartment in NYC because of the impending doom of Irene that – gasp! – dropped a twig on my car. Check out the post on the party.
The ice cream itself is incredibly creamy, silky smooth and just-sweet enough without being overbearing. It’s made with a base of egg yolks and coconut milk tempered together to make a rich custard. Sweetened only with honey and vanilla, it’s a healthy version of the classic for those of us with milk allergies.
The photos don’t quite do it justice – let’s just say if you make it you won’t be disappointed.
Oh, and the entire recipe is gluten and dairy free.
I’m not going to put a macaron recipe up here – they’re not easy to make. This was my first successful attempt after 5 failed tries. It took my interviewing Jill Colonna of Mad About Macarons and a pastry class at Dessert Truck Works to get it right. So I’ll let you explore those options if you want to tackle macarons, or suggest my Rosewater Lavender Shortbread.
Hurricane Irene Erosion
Ingredients: Ice Cream
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
- 5 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup honey – split
- 1 tsp gelatin
- Bring a pot of water to a simmer and place a large metal bowl on top in old-school double-boiler style.
- Place coconut milk and vanilla in the bowl and heat until hot but not boiling. When warm, add 1/2 cup of honey and whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks.
- Temper the eggs by whisking about 1/2 cup of the warm coconut milk into the egg yolks. Make sure you whisk continually so that the eggs don’t clump. Repeat two or three more times until the egg yolks come up to temperature, and then add the yolk mixture to the bowl of milk. Whisk together over just-simmering water until the mixture thickens slightly.
- Sprinkle the gelatin on top and let it dissolve slightly, then continue to whisk until incorporated.
- Remove mixture to cool and then refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
- Make according to the directions of your ice cream maker, or pour into a wide pan and stir every half hour for about four hours. When the mixture is just coming together, swirl in the remaining honey so that it remains in streams in the ice cream. I used honey infused with lavender, which was quite delightful.
For the Fruit:
I used a pint of black plums and two ripe peaches. I simply stewed them with a teaspoon of gelatin over medium heat until they boiled down a bit, then cooled them to gel. When completely cool, I stirred in two tablespoons of fresh spearmint.
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