This is a question I’ve been asked: Can I use real eggs instead of egg replacer in the Make It Allergy Free recipes? The answer is yes. Although the recipes were written to avoid common food allergens, including eggs, if you are not allergic to them, you may certainly use them. My recipes were developed for being able to substitute items as you need. As they are written, you will avoid the common allergens. With substitution you can just avoid the ones you need to. Keep in mind, though, that some changes will affect the final result of the recipe. For instance, real eggs not only acts as a binder, but it also helps baked goods to “puff up.” If you use regular eggs instead of egg replacer, be sure to allow room for the extra expansion in your cooking container.
I personally use a few different egg substitutes depending on the recipe. I use commercial pre-packaged replacer mostly in cakes and baked goods. My favorite brands are Ener-G and Organ. However, if you don’t want to use a packaged one, ground flaxseed meal works excellent as well. But, be sure this is used in a dish where you don’t mind the flecked look of the flaxseed. To use ground flaxseed, just combine 1 tablespoon meal with 3 tablespoons of hot water and let it sit until it’s thick and gooey. When I’m short on time, I’ll put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and let it sit for another minute or two. (I know some people have a thing about microwaves, but I think it’s okay in moderation.)
Some other recipes have the binding action of eggs built in and do not need egg or egg replacer. These recipes would be ones that contain baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice. So, you don;t have to worry about eggs in these.
To sum it all up, if you want to use eggs, go ahead. My recipes will generally state ‘prepared for X eggs’. Just use that many eggs in the recipe.
This is actually a tip I posted on the mailing list a couple of weeks ago, but thought I’d share it here too. I hope you find this useful.
A spring handle ice cream scoop can come in very handy with allergy free cooking. Batters made from gluten free flours handle a lot differently than those made with wheat flour. They tend to be more delicate and somewhat sticky. I have found that using a regular sized ice cream scoop with a spring handle comes in real handy for filling muffin cups. It is just the right size to fill a medium sized cup to the right level for baking. It also works great for making pancakes and waffles. Just scoop and release onto hot griddle or waffle iron for uniform pancakes and waffles. Smaller scoops are also great for making cookies. Give it a try sometime.
Originally posted February 4, 2011
In many of the Make It Allergy Free recipes, vanilla is listed as alcohol free vanilla. You may be wondering what’s the deal with that. Well, although vanilla is one of the most common flavorings used in cooking, it can also be a source of allergen for people with allergies to corn or wheat. Most vanilla and vanilla extracts are made with grain alcohol. Grain alcohol can be made from corn, wheat or rye, or a combination thereof. Alcohol free vanilla is generally made with vegetable glycerin. Of course even with that you have to watch your brand and make sure you understand what the glycerin is made from. Most are made from palm fruit, but some others are not.
So what’s a cook supposed to do when you can’t find alcohol free vanilla? How about make your own? Yes, you can. It’s also very easy too. Plus, homemade vanilla tastes so much yummier.
To make your own vanilla, you will need:
1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup 100 proof vodka (made from potatoes, check your brand-many are not)
or food grade vegetable glycerin
8 oz glass jar with tight fitting lid
Place the vanilla bean in the jar and pour the vodka or glycerin over it. Cut the bean into pieces if it is not totally immersed in the liquid. Cover with a tight lid and let it sit undisturbed for one month. When the extract has taken on a golden color and vanilla aroma, remove the beans and strain the vanilla extract. I like to make mine in a mason jar so I can monitor it’s color and progress. Once it’s finished, I’ll store in an amber bottle with screw top to protect flavor and make it easier to pour.
That’s it. Use your homemade vanilla in any recipe calling for vanilla flavoring or extract.
Originally posted February 2, 2011