I love desserts and I love baking desserts! A number of my friends have various food allergies and/or sensitivities, so over the years I’ve tweaked recipes to avoid gluten, soy, corn, legumes, sulfites, tree nuts, and more. (See my sister blog, Ariane’s Kitchen, for recipes that don’t take allergies/sensitivities into account.) Sometimes the tweaking goes well, and the dessert both looks and tastes like a reasonable approximation of the normal version. (One friend calls this “tasty deliciousness.”) Other times the dessert falls apart or looks funny but still tastes good. (The same friend calls this a “failed abomination” – before he devours it anyway.) And of course, sometimes the poor dessert neither looks nor tastes good, but I won’t bother posting those recipes!
My goal has been to find recipes that require minimal change from the originals, and that still taste more or less the same. They are meant for the home baker who feels compelled to feed his or her friends with desserts, but doesn’t want to track down (or have cabinet space for) bags of xanthan gum and five different flours.
A few notes on baking supplies:
- I use the Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour because it avoids a friend’s allergens, but there are many flour substitutes out there. I think the Trader Joe’s variety provides a reasonable approximation of normal all-purpose flour.
- Soy lecithin is unfortunately very difficult to avoid, but Guittard (which you can find at Safeway) and Enjoy Life both make chocolate chips that are soy free. I use those as substitutes for regular baking chocolate.
- If you don’t have a kitchen scale, one 10-oz bag of Enjoy Life chocolate chips comes out to a little over 1.5 cups.
- Most powdered sugar contains cornstarch, but Trader Joe’s has corn-free powdered sugar, thank goodness.
- Brown sugar often has sulfites, but you can make a substitute from white sugar and molasses. If you want to be precise about it, use 3 tablespoons of molasses for every 1 cup of sugar to make dark brown sugar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons for light brown sugar. I usually just add a dollop of molasses to my mixing bowl.