Easter Baking!

It’s that time of year again: spring is right around the corner (if not here already) and your taste buds are dying for some fun Easter recipes.  Don’t let your allergies stop you from baking just about anything you want!  Almost any allergen can be replaced by something else, and this article has got you covered in that department!  Read on for some cool allergen replacements, and three delicious springtime recipes!

It’s pretty difficult to find a recipe that doesn’t call for butter, flour, or milk, but don’t let that stop you!  Butter can be replaced with half the amount of applesauce or an equal amount of canola oil.  These are totally normal replacements too; vegans use them in place of butter all the time.  Replace milk with soy milk, rice milk, or even water, cup for cup.  Many gluten-free flours can easily replace flour, but another alternative is cornstarch; just use half as much of it as you would flour and you’re good to go.  Yeast can be replaced with a combination of baking soda and powdered vitamin C; just replace the amount of yeast called for equal parts of each substance.  Finally, nuts are the easiest to replace: just leave them out!  Usually nuts are an optional addition to any recipe, but even if they aren’t, you won’t be missing out if you don’t add them.  If you’re allergic to eggs, you can use a product called egg replacer.  Bananas are also a great substitute.

Using those new allergen replacements, try these three recipes!  They’re all free of nuts, and can easily take replacements.  The last one is especially good for allergies!   Let us know how your recipe turns out! Remember to always double check the labels of all of your ingredients to ensure it does not contain your allergens!

(Recipes originally published in Chatelaine Magazine, The Cooking Channel, and Martha Stewart Food).

 

Strawberry and Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes1

(Image and recipe from Chatelaine)

For Frosting:

–       250g brick cream cheese, at room temperature

–       ½ cup store-bought or homemade lemon curd

–       ½ cup finely chopped strawberries

For Cupcakes:

–       1 ½ cups all purpose flour

–       1 tsp. baking powder

–       ½ tsp. salt

–       ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

–       1 tbsp. lemon zest

–       1 cup granulated sugar

–       1 tsp. vanilla

–       2/3 cup milk

Directions:

1.    Beat cream cheese in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, until fluffy.  Gradually beat in lemon curd until smooth.  Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

2.    Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper cups.  Stir flour with baking powder and salt.  Beat butter with lemon zest in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.  Gradually beat in sugar until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla.  Gradually beat in a third of the flour mixture, then half the milk.  Repeat additions, ending with remaining third of flour mixture.  Spoon into muffin cups, filling three-quarters full.

3.    Bake in centre of oven for 25 mins.  Enjoy!

Hot Cross Buns

(these are great for almost every common allergen – just use the replacements!)

(Image and recipe from The Cooking Channel)2

Buns:

–       2 ounces fresh yeast

–       2 cups lukewarm milk

–       ¼ cup honey

–       4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

–       3 eggs

–       4 ½ cups flour

–       spice mix (recipe follows)

–       1 teaspoon kosher salt

–       ½ cup dark raisins

–       ½ cup golden raisins

–       glaze (recipe follows)

Directions:

1.    Crumble the yeast into a large mixing bowl and add 1 cup of the warm milk.  Using the dough hook attachment, gently mix together.

2.    Add the honey, butter, 2 eggs, flour, spice mix, salt, and raisins.  Start the mixer and gently pour in the remaining 1 cup of milk while mixing.  The dough should come together as a soft ball after a few minutes of mixing.  If it is too sticky add a few sprinkles of additional flour; if it is too hard add a few more drops of cold milk.

3.    Turn this soft dough out directly onto a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap.  Let is rise until about doubled in size.

4.    Preheat oven to 350F.

5.    When it has doubled in size, turn the dough out onto a floured surface.  Cut the dough in half and each half in half, etc. until you have a dozen pieces.  Shape these pieces into rounds with your hands.  Place these rounds equally spaced apart on a floured piece of parchment on a sheet pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until almost doubled in size.

6.    Beat the remaining egg with a fork in a small bowl.  Very gently brush this mixture on each of the buns.  Using a sharp knife cut a cross shape in the top of each bun.

7.    Bake for about 15 minutes.

8.    When cool, ice each bun with the glaze in a cross shape, following your cuts and using your spatula to drizzle icing on.

Spice Mix:

–       1 ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg

–       1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

–       1 teaspoon ground cloves

–       ¾ teaspoon ground ginger

Glaze:

–       2 cups confectioners’ sugar

–       ¼ cup milk, plus more as needed

Put the sugar in a large bowl with the milk.  Work the sugar and milk together until combined, adding additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time until you have a nice smooth thick glaze.

Polenta French Toast
(for Easter Brunch – not only is this recipe free of gluten, it’s also egg and nut free!)

(Image and recipe from Martha Stewart3

For “French Toast”:

–       ¼ cup corn flour

–       ½ cup maple syrup

–       ½ cup raspberries

For the polenta:

–       6 ½ cups water

–       ½ teaspoon coarse salt

–       2 cups cornmeal (not quick cooking)

–       ½ cup pure maple syrup

–       1 cup raisins

–       2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

–       Finely grated zest of one orange

–       1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

–       1 cup milk

Directions:

1.    Make the polenta: Bring water and salt to a boil in a 2-quart pot.  Add cornmeal in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly.  Cook, stirring often, until mixture begins to thicken, about 4 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, for 1 hour.

2.    Stir in syrup, raisins, cinnamon, zest, nutmeg, and milk.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Spread polenta onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, and let cool.  Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

3.    Make the “French Toast”: Cut cold polenta into 4-inch squares; cut each square into 2 triangles.  Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Toss polenta triangles with corn flour, dusting off excess.  Add to pan; cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Serve with maple syrup and raspberries.

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