For Elizabeth Gordon, a Midwestern girl turned New Yorker, baking is a near spiritual experience. Which is why she was devastated after being diagnosed with wheat and egg allergies. “I thought, ‘My favorite pastime is out the window,” Gordon said.
Instead, she found alternate ingredients and got to work experimenting, launching a bakery business and a cookbook, Allergy-Free Desserts, both of which cater to sufferers of all of the most common food allergies—all recipes are free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, and eggs.
So, instead of white flour, she uses bean, sorghum, or rice flours.
Coconut oil may take the place of butter, and applesauce or a flaxseed meal and water mixture will act as eggs.
While the recipes are made for the allergy-prone, they happen to be mostly vegan, by default. “I am definitely carnivorous, and so the vegan part was unintentional,” admits Gordon. She also couldn’t have predicted the number of people choosing to skip wheat for health reasons.
Most recipes still pack a decent amount of sugar, so health foods these are not. The recipes will also take longer—both procuring the ingredients at the supermarket and preparing them at home. I was all ready to bake when I realized I needed to find and combine three kinds of flour, a task I was not excited about.
But when you show up with these delicious treats at a holiday party (or a break-the-fast get together this Saturday), for once, nearly everyone will be able to dig in. -Lisa Elaine Held
Ready to try Allergy-Free Baking? Try this perfect fall recipe from the book:
Each loaf serves 8
3⁄4 cup water
1⁄2 cup ground flaxseed meal
3 cups Betsy’s Baking Mix (3 3/4 cups garbanzo bean flour, 2 1/4 cups potato starch, 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups granulated sugar
2⁄3 cup canola oil
One 15-ounce can solid pack pureed pumpkin
1⁄2 cup raisins, optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with canola oil. In a small bowl, combine the water and flaxseed meal and allow to thicken for 3 to 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the baking mix, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and canola oil for 1 minute on medium speed. Add the pumpkin puree and beat for another minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the flaxseed mixture, and beat for another minute. Scrape down the sides again and add the dry ingredients. Mix the batter on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides, then beat the batter for 45 seconds. Fold in the raisins, if you are using them.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 1 hour, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let the pumpkin breads cool completely in the pans on cooling racks before slicing. Store the completely cooled breads, tightly wrapped and refrigerated, for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
To purchase Allergy-Free Desserts: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Soy-free and Nut-free Delights, $15.61, visit Amazon.com
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