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Holiday Baking

I’ve always liked baking, especially around the holidays. Part of it is my family tradition of making sugar cookies (see my Sugar Cookies post), but I also like to make a lot of other things as gifts for people. This lets me sample some of it, as well as sharing the wealth.

So when I was recently diagnosed with new food allergies, I wasn’t quite sure how that would work for this holiday season. Could I still make things that were tasty but didn’t include gluten, eggs, or dairy? I decided to find out, using my church’s upcoming holiday fair as a good excuse to experiment. After all, I’m not the only one who has these sorts of allergies, and others might appreciate being able to get something sweet at the fair. But really, that’s just rationalization - I’ve largely been doing it because, for me, it’s fun.

It’s not hard to replace dairy - there are lots of options. And for eggs, I’ve been using ground flaxseed with water. The gluten is trickier, since gluten-free flours tend to be a bit more crumbly. But the Internet is a wonderful resource, and I’ve been able to make some items that don’t even call for regular flour and have gotten positive reviews.

My first attempt was plaintain brownies. They came out very well, as you can see in the photo.

Plantain brownies.jpg

My neighbor, though, did prefer the chocolate-cherry brownies made with oatmeal and black beans (I left out the pecans, since I’m not a fan of nuts in brownies, and I might also leave out the cherries in the future.) Those were denser and more fudgy than the plaintain brownies, but also took more ingredients and longer to prepare. But always good to have options.

Next came the cookies. I tried pumpkin pie cookies, made with almond butter, but I wasn’t that excited about them (though the ones with chocolate chips were better). What I liked more were the pumpkin oatmeal cookies; they have a nice flavor and texture.

Finally I tried a lemon cornmeal cake. It didn’t transfer from pan to plate as smoothly as the directions made it sound, but the crumbs are quite tasty, and I may experiment making it as cupcakes, which would eliminate that problem.

Lemon Cornmeal Cake.jpg

I think I’m going to stop there, though, since I have to go back to work next week, but it’s been fun. I’ve been very pleased with the results, and knowing that I, and others with similar allergies, can still have some tasty treats to enjoy over the holiday season.

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