Baking Day!

Since Easter is late this year, Spring break was later than usual.  But since it is later, it is warmer.  And since warmer weather makes me feel better, I have more energy!

Yesterday I decided to have a pantry challenge day, also known around my house as commando baking.  (This means using up what you have, not to be confused with baking in the buff!)  It was raining, we had nothing to do, and everyone in my family complains we have no food anyway!  Since I am constantly telling them that we DO have food, it’s just not prepared, I decided I ought to prepare it for them!


Thursday, at the library, my reserved copy of “Allergy-Free Desserts: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, and Nut-Free Delights” by Elizabeth Gordon was available.  Not everything is vegan, but most things are.  Everything looked good but my kids really wanted something with frosting.  The problem was that the icings are not vegan so we went back and forth trying to decide what to make.  In the end we decided on Banana Chocolate Chip Cake.  Since T is allergic to potatoes it does mean I need to modify pretty much all recipes.  Therefore I always feel a little bad reviewing someone’s cookbook recipe when I have to modify it so much.  That said, it was a tremendous cake.  If one more recipe from the book turns out this well I will be buying this one!

In the pantry I found a gluten-free and vegan icing I had bought at the store so we decided to try that.  Now, I am normally not good at layered cakes and stick with snack cakes but the kids convinced me to try.  The frosting from the store was so-so tasting, and did not spread easily.  We put it in between the layers but decided to try something else for the top.  After much searching we decided on This icing.  It takes a long time in the stand mixer but the result was definitely light and fluffy.  The kids insisted on tinting it orange and now have lots of ideas for Halloween cakes!  (The 100 in chocolate chips was because Mark got 100% on one of his final projects!)

While I did more baking, apparently I forgot to take ANY pictures of the rest of it!  Sorry!

When I was at Trader Joe’s last week I found some almond meal and this Almond Thumbprint Cookie recipe looked perfect.  I used non-hydrogenated shortening instead of vegan butter, and mixed up a sub for the potato starch.  I used 1/2 cup of arrowroot, and then an additional 1/4 cup of sorghum flour and almond meal.  For the jams I used a variety of things.  In the end we liked the strawberry jelly and the pumpkin butter the best.  T was in heaven, but asked that next time I not put in the jelly.  I think this might be my go-to shortbread recipe from now on.  In fact I’m going to make them again for my Easter celebration and this time I’ll try to remember to take pictures.

And now for the savory portion of my day…. This gluten free calzone dough had been talking to me for a week or so.  I’ve been thinking that it would make good pre-made lunches for T.  And when I found out we’ll be going to hang out with friends tomorrow night and the kids will be eating pizza, I decided it was a prime time to try these so I could bring one for T.  Since there is no potato starch in the recipe I could make it as written, generally.  I did not have any rice bran but added the same amount of quinoa flakes.  The dough does break easily, but I have found that with pretty much all gf flours.  With some spaghetti sauce and dayia mozzarella this was incredibly yummy.  I made extras for T; He’ll take one tomorrow night and then have some for school lunches that he can pull out of the freezer.  Luckily he likes that sort of food cold.

One aside: These are not all the recipes I tried today.  Two did not work out for us.  One was inedible, probably because of the subs I had to make.  Finding a good balance of gluten free flours is not always easy, and I subbed out a mix of agave syrup and brown rice syrup for the called for honey.  The other recipe was ok, and I’m still trying to figure out how to make them more appealing.  I did have to make quite a few changes as it was not a gluten free recipe and it called for apple juice, which T is allergic to.  I wish it was was easier to wave a magic wand and have good healthy food for my family, but for now I work for it.  🙂


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by MaryD on April 23, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    I appreciate the mention of one being inedible, since that happens probably with greater frequency to me ;0.

    I hate to admit I truly miss real mozzarella…being Italian and all…(but I don’t for a minute think the cows want me to fall back into my past cheese love).


  2. Yep Mary, sometimes things just aren’t “right.” I look at the glossy vegan blogs and think “I’ll never be that good.” But in the end I realize I only have to feed my family nutritious good tasting food. It doesn’t all have to be restaurant quality!

    Dayia is the best vegan mozzarella I’ve found, but it’s not the same. I miss brie the most I think…


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