From iced gingerbread cookies at the office potluck to Aunt Sally's homemade fudge, the holiday baking season is here, and the options for blowing your daily caloric quota are endless. If you have a food allergy or intolerance, however, traditional holiday goodies can cause more than mere indigestion or weight gain. Problematic ingredients, such as wheat, gluten, and milk, can potentially ruin a holiday gathering and even put someone's health at risk.
Fortunately, there are numerous options available today when it comes to allergy-free dessert and bread recipes. We've put together this holiday collection of recipes from three beautiful, information-packed cookbooks, each focusing on a different food allergy or combination of food allergies: gluten- and dairy-free cookies; gluten-free bread; and dairy- and egg-free pie.
Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Baking Tips
Suzy Singh, a finalist on Fox's MasterChef and a corporate chef for Illinois-based NOW Foods, has created numerous recipes using gluten-free flours and egg replacements. Here, she shares her favorite holiday baking tips. Visit nowfoods.com/chefsuzyrecipes for recipes.
- Easy 1:1 replacements for dairy in baking recipes include rice milk, hemp milk, and quinoa milk. All of these are wonderful alternatives, but may impart a unique taste in your final product.
- A great 1:1 replacement for eggs is ¼ cup applesauce mixed with 1 tsp. of baking powder. Applesauce provides the essential moisture that an egg would normally give to a dish, and baking powder supplies the leavening, which is needed to help baked goods rise.
- Another good egg replacement option is white chia meal. It's allergy-friendly, gluten-free, and also a good source of fiber and calcium. Use 2 Tbs. of white chia meal with 6 Tbs. of water; mix until you get a gel-like consistency very similar to an egg white. This mixture will yield about the same weight as a regular egg. Use as a binder in cookies and quick breads.
- If you want to avoid tree nuts, pumpkin seeds are a great 1:1 replacement. Dry roast pumpkin seeds on medium-high heat for 2 minutes, or until slightly browned. Then fold the seeds into your batter and bake for a delicious crunchy treat.
- Don't be afraid to add a personal touch. For example, add a crushed peppermint stick to a gluten-free brownie mix (such as NOW Foods Living Now Organic Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix) for a festive holiday flair.