English Muffins

As I’ve previously mentioned I haven’t had much luck making gluten-free breads. I found a new method in a cookbook entitled The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook. Their flour blend however includes dry milk powder which doesn’t work for those of us allergic to dairy. It’s also heavy on the carbohydrate flours – white rice, potato starch and tapioca. And their English muffin recipe includes eggs and cornmeal (for dusting the muffins). So I gave it a go and here’s what actually worked. I left their flour mixture the same, same ratios without the milk powder.

It took me awhile to try this because it is quite a long recipe and somewhat complicated but I finally decided if I took it step by step it wouldn’t be bad and it wasn’t. In fact, it was quite simple, just took a while to complete all the steps but the tasty muffins are definitely worth it. The frozen ones I was buying were tough on the outside, almost impossible to slice while these are easily split with a fork. Says it makes 10 but I got 11 and several of them are quite small so I think next time I make them, I’ll increase the individual muffins and perhaps only get 9 instead.

Prepare 2 medium size baking sheets by dusting with ground millet (or if you can use it, cornmeal which is the traditional coating for English muffins). It takes approximately 1/2 cup so process the whole millet in a food processor to a medium grind (coarse is too little and fine makes flour which doesn’t work either, we want it the consistency of cornmeal. Sesame or poppy seeds would also work.

In a large bowl combine:

4 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

2/3 cup aquafaba

Let sit for several minutes to form flax gel. While that happens, in a smaller bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups white rice flower

3/4 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup potato starch (NOT potato flour)

1/4 cup tapioca flour or starch

3 tablespoons powdered psyllium husk

2 tablespoons date sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (or 1 packet which is 2 1/4 teaspoons)

Stir to mix in the yeast before adding:

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Whisk into the flax gel:

2 cups warm water (approximately 110 degrees)

2 tablespoons oil or melted vegan margarine

In increments, with a hand mixer or heavy spoon (stand mixer would be better with a paddle if you have one), mix the flour mixture into the wet mix. When it gets too thick for the hand mixer, use your hands (with gloves) and keep mixing until the dough comes together. It’s about the consistency of cookie dough.

With wet hands form about 1/3 cup of dough into balls (I’ll probably do 1/2 cup of dough next time) and set them on the dusted baking sheets widely spaced, about 5 per sheet (so they have room to rise). I heated my oven by setting it at 170 degrees for approximately 2-3 minutes before turning it off. Cover the muffin balls with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.*

Remove them from the oven and make sure the rack is on a lower-middle setting. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the dough and using a greased spatula, flatten the balls to approximately 3/4 inch disks. Dust the tops with the millet (or cornmeal).

Spray a 12″ skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium heat before placing 4-5 muffins in the pan. Brown over medium heat and brown on each side (about a minute per side). Repeat with the remaining muffins. If the muffins begin to puff up, gently press them down, doming isn’t what we want and means you’re probably cooking them too long. Transfer to a clean baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake until firm, about 30-35 minutes, rotating baking sheet half way through cooking. Cool on a cooling rack for at least 15-20 minutes before splitting with a fork and toasting. Store unsplit muffins in a zip-lock bag for up to 3 days. I put 2 per sandwich bag, sucked out the air and then put the sandwich bags into a gallon freezer bag and put the extras in the freezer.

*In a previous life, when I lived in a house with steam heat radiators, I used to place my bread dough to rise on a towel on top of a radiator. It worked quite well as long as the heat didn’t get too hot while they were on there!

Pumpkin Donuts

Pumpkin is a favorite flavor of mine anytime of the year, not just over the holidays. And pumpkin is a natural soother of an upset stomach so it has health benefits as well. Here’s a pumpkin donut recipe that has the spices of a pumpkin pie, mixes up quick and easy and bakes in about 10-12 minutes. Topped with a maple glaze, to die for!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size bowl whisk together:

2 tablespoons avocado oil

3 tablespoons non-dairy milk

2 tablespoons aquafaba

2 tablespoons maple syrup (use the real stuff here)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 teaspoon vanilla

When well mixed whisk in:

1/2 cup date sugar

To the bowl add:

3/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have the mixed, you can use the individual spices – 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon allspice)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

TIP: If you want the pumpkin taste stronger than the spices, reduce the spices to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Blend until combined with a spoon. Let sit for a few minutes while you grease the donut pan(s). It will make 6-10 donuts depending on how large you make them. Using a 1 gallon food storage bag, spoon the donut mix into the bag and zip it shut. Cut off one corner and pipe the donut mixture into the donut pan(s). Bake 8-14 minutes depending on how large the donuts are (I made only 6 donuts so baked them the full 14 minutes.) When the tops are set, they are done.

Remove from oven, let cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

While the donuts are baking make the maple glaze:

In a small bowl whisk together:

1/4 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance soy free)

1/2 cup powdered monkfruit sweetener (Lakanto makes one that Whole Foods or Amazon carries)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon non-dairy milk

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

2-3 shakes of salt (or a dash!)

When the donuts are still warm, dip one side into the glaze. If you want to make them really decadent, top them with crumbled (cooked!) bacon right after dipping. Let sit at least a half hour for the glaze to set. When dry, the glaze is really not that visible, just shiny.

Easy Sausage Gravy (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free)

I’ve been discovering many different things to eat for breakfast since I am now allergic to eggs. Sausage and gravy is one of my very favorites. So satisfying.

To make sausage gravy, fry in a non-stick skillet

  • 1 pound lean turkey sausage (if you use pork sausage, drain off fat before proceeding; and there are excellent meat-free sausages now available if vegan is desired)

When cooked, add

  • 2 cups of your favorite non-dairy milk (DO NOT USE SOY MILK)

Whisk until smooth

  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free all purpose flour (depending on the milk you use, you might need to use more than 1 tablespoon but no more than 2 TBS should work)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, except soy

Add to pan; whisk until smooth and thickened; this should only take about 2-3 minutes over medium heat.

Gingerbread Waffles (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free, vegan)

I much prefer waffles to pancakes so for my birthday this week, I bought myself a new waffle maker that has removeable plates for easier cleaning. And in one of my older cookbooks [Homemade Bread, FARM JOURNAL] I found a recipe for Gingerbread Waffles! My favorite cookie is a gingersnap or gingerbread cookie so this was a real delight!

So here’s the updated recipe. Takes a little more work than mixing up a batch of pancakes but really worth the extra effort!

In a medium bowl mix:

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed with

1/4 cup warm water

After mixing, let sit for a few minutes. While that’s working in a smaller bowl, mix:

2 teaspoons aquafaba powder (if you don’t have any aquafaba powder, use 1/3 cup aquafaba liquid)

1/3 cup cold water

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

And whip until stiff peaks. Set aside. To the flaxseed mixture add:

1/4 cup vegan margarine or shortening (such as Sprectrum)

1/2 cup date sugar

Using a hand mixer, beat until combined. Add:

1 cup non-dairy milk such as hemp, soy, or oat

1/4 cup unsulfered molasses

and continue beating until everything is incorporated.

Add:

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon dry ginger (or if you don’t have any fresh ginger on hand, increase this to 1 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon salt

Using a spoon, mix until everything is incorporated. Like with pancakes, don’t overmix, its okay if you still see a little flour or a couple of lumps. Fold in the “whites” (the aquafaba mixture) until combined, again be careful not to overmix or you’ll have tough waffles. Now you’re ready for the waffle iron.

Cook per your machine’s instructions. I cooked mine on the medium setting remembering that gluten-free baked goods often take a little more time to cook. A single recipe makes 7 good size waffles. These waffles are great served with a fruit sauce topped with some non-dairy whip or vanilla frozen dessert. However, I decided to combine my waffle with one of my other favorite things and made a plate of chicken and waffles with real maple syrup drizzled over the top. Delicious!

This is a heavy dense waffle so one is enough per person.

Cinnamon Swirl Sticky Buns (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free)

I love cinnamon rolls! In fact, I won the winter carnival for my junior class in high school with my sticky buns. Back then I didn’t worry about gluten or dairy, didn’t have any allergies then. My son recently asked me, after the cinnamon swirl bread, if I could make some rolls instead. Here’s what I came up with. The recipe makes a 12-15 rolls.

This a a very tender, soft dough and doesn’t rise as much as traditional yeasted dough.

In a large bowl mix:

1/2 cup warm water (around 100 degrees; my Nana always told me the key to yeast was to make sure the water didn’t feel hot or cold on your wrist, just wet, then it’s the perfect temperature, like a baby’s bottle should be)

1 teaspoon date sugar

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

Stir to dissolve the yeast and then let sit for 5-10 minutes until it bubbles. Throw it out and try again if it doesn’t bubble or foam, that means its not working.

Warm over a very low heat in a small sauce pan:

1 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup honey, agave or coconut nectar

2 tablespoons oil

Be sure not to get this liquid hotter than the water was for the yeast or it will kill the yeast mixture when you pour it into the bowl. When the honey is melted, pour the milk mixture into the yeast and add:

1 cup whipped potatoes (don’t want any lumps in the dough!)

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt (be sure the salt goes in last so it doesn’t affect the yeast)

Mix thoroughly. Add more brown rice flour if the mixture is too wet. You want a dough that you can handle and roll out. Grease a bowl and add the dough, put in a warm place, covered with wax paper or a clean small towel and let rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours.

For the filling you need:

1/4 cup avocado oil, coconut oil, or vegan margarine

1/4-1/3 cup date sugar

2-3 teaspoons cinnamon (more or less to taste, I was rather generous with mine and probably used more like 2 tablespoons)

Prepare a 9×12 baking dish by greasing. Remove the dough and place on a floured surface where you can roll it out to approximately a 24×30″ rectangle. You may need to add some flour to the top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Once rolled out, rub the dough with 1/4 cup of avocado or coconut oil (or a vegan margarine), sprinkle with 1/4-1/3 cup date sugar and several teaspoons of cinnamon. Beginning on the longer end, slowly roll the dough (you may need to loosen the dough from the counter with a butter knife if stuck). Tuck the ends into the roll and make sure the last side is securely attached to the rest of the roll. Cut into 1″ slices and place in the prepared baking dish. You don’t have to leave much space between the rolls because they won’t rise much at this stage. Cover with a clean towel or waxed paper and put in a warm place to rise again. (I turned my oven to 170 degrees (the lowest setting it would go) and turned it off after 5 minutes of warming so that it was approximately 100 degrees and used that to let the dough rise. Worked well.) This should only take about 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the Honey-Bee Glaze like we used on the Cinnamon Swirl Bread (1/2 cup date sugar, 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1/4 cup agave or coconut nectar, 1/4 cup oil, 1/2-1 cup hemp hulls, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds – if too thick to pour, add a little more milk) and pour it over the rolls before baking them in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a middle roll comes out clean.

Spicy Pumpkin (or Sweet Potato) Quick Bread (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free)

I really enjoy baked items that I can make without pulling out my stand mixer or even my hand mixer. This is one of those. Takes two bowls but otherwise a very easy bread to make. It’s a dense loaf but moist and tender. Perfect as a side for a salad or toasted with some non-dairy cream cheese for breakfast with your favorite protein.

Makes 1 loaf

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Generously grease a 9×5 bread pan. Mix in a medium to large bowl:

2 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup date sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix until combined. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together:

1 can pumpkin puree

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup oil (I used avocado oil but any oil you have will work)

2 teaspoons vanilla

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined. Before combining you might add one or several of the following:

1/2 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup hemp hulls

or 1 cup dried fruit such as currents, raisins, cranberries, etc.

Spoon into the prepared pan, smooth over the top and place in the middle of the oven. Bake 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan or on cooling rack.

Quick and Easy Orange Spice Coffee Cake (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, cane sugar-free, nut-free, vegan)

It’s difficult to find recipes for desserts that are delicious along with being allergy free. Here’s a light, delicious cake that’s quick to mix and bake. Takes longer to get all the ingredients together than to make. And nobody will believe you that it is gluten-free or egg-free, never mind that there’s no refined cane sugar in it. I used a “Honey Bee Glaze” topping but it would also work well with the standard coffee cake streusel topping. The honey bee glaze made a gooey sticky cake best served hot while the caramel like goo is still pliant. And would work well with any kind of non-dairy frozen vanilla or orange “cream”.

I’m allergic to nuts so I used hemp hulls in the topping but any nut if you can have them would work, sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds would even work well.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Generously grease an 8×8″ baking dish. Here’s what you’ll need for the cake:

In a 2-cup bowl mix together:

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon aquafaba powder and 2 tablespoons water

Let sit several minutes while you,

Mix in a medium mixing bowl:

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

2/3 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice (feel free to substitute the cinnamon and allspice for whatever spices your family likes such as nutmeg, mace, ginger, or cloves)

Mix until combined.

Now back to the smaller bowl add:

1/2 cup oil (I used avocado oil because of its light flavor but any oil would work)

1/2 cup non-dairy yogurt (my 5.5 ounce container was exactly a 1/2 cup)

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/3 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons grated rind (rind from one large orange)

1 tablespoon vinegar

3/4 cup raisins, dried cranberries, currents, etc. (Optional)

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Don’t worry if there are dry spots but you don’t want too many. The batter is like a biscuit or scone batter when combined.

Spread the batter in the greased pan and top with Honey Bee Glaze or coffee cake streusel (the cinnamon mixture used in the Easy Cinnamon Swirl Bread would work here, just double the recipe). Bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Here’s the recipe for Honey Bee Glaze adapted from the Joy of Cooking.

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup honey or date syrup

1/2 cup crushed nuts, seeds, or hemp hulls

Pour over coffee cake batter before baking.

Easy Cinnamon Swirl Bread (dairy free, gluten free, refined cane sugar free, egg free, soy free, vegan)

One of my favorite breads has always been cinnamon raisin. I can no longer eat raisins but cinnamon is such a wonderful flavor, especially this time of year. And it naturally lowers blood sugar levels so has health benefits as well.

This bread is very easy to make, don’t even need a mixer, just be careful not to overmix and spread evenly in the pan so there isn’t one part that takes longer to bake. Mixes in about 10 minutes so most of the time is baking, 40-50 minutes to bake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (gluten free all purpose) a bread pan.

In a medium bowl mix:

2 tablespoons ground flax seed (preferably golden so it doesn’t show in the bread)

1/4 cup warm water

Let sit 5 minutes or until thickened and add:

1/2 cup date sugar

1 cup non-dairy milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 6 ounce container of plain yogurt (mine was actually 5 1/2 ounces and I just added an extra tablespoon of milk)

1 tablespoon vinegar

In a smaller bowl, mix together:

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

When mixed, slowly add to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined. Spoon evenly into prepared bread pan.

In a separate small bowl mix together:

1/3 cup date sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted vegan margarine or avocado oil

Spoon over bread mixture and using a fork or knife, swirl through the bread mixture.

Bake 40-50 minutes in the middle of the oven or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the bread is cooking, make the glaze:

1/3 cup sugar free confectioners’ sugar (Lakanto has a monkfruit based powdered sugar)

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

If you don’t care for the taste of monkfruit sweetener, mix together 1/2 cup agave or coconut nectar with 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed (white).

Put the bread on a cooling rack that sits on top of a cookie sheet. Be sure its fully cooled before glazing. Pour either glaze over the top of the loaf, coating evenly. If using the nectar based glaze, be sure there are no pools of glaze that might soak into the bread.

You could add some raisins or cranberries to the bread before baking or even some chopped candied fruits if you don’t mind a little sugar in the mix! That would be a lot like my Nana’s Christmas bread!

Triple Carob Glazed Donuts (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, vegan)

Sometimes you just want something “good” for breakfast instead of the usual smoothie.  This is one of my go-to recipes when that happens to me.  This is not a very sweet donut so if you like your donuts sweeter, just increase the amount of monk fruit powder in the recipe.  But I find that the glaze gives it all the sweetness it needs. This recipe makes six donuts.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a donut pan (be sure to grease the center as well so your donuts don’t stick in the middle.

In a medium bowl combine:

  • 1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca (or arrowroot) flour
  • 1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup carob (or cocoa) powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon monk fruit powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup unsweetened carob (or chocolate) chips

In a second small bowl combine:

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix by hand until combined (be sure to scrap the bottom of the bowl so that you get all the dry ingredients mixed in; I only say this because I frequently find when I scoop out the dough into the gallon zip bag that there’s dry on the bottom of the bowl).  Scoop the dough into a gallon ziplock bag.  Cut off a bottom corner and pipe into the prepared donut pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Try to make all the donuts the same size so that they all cook at the same rate.

Remove the donuts from the oven and let sit on the counter for a couple of minutes while you prepare the ganache (see recipe under Sauces…).  Loosen the donuts from the pan and turn onto a cooling rack.  Dip each donut into the ganache to coat the tops.  

TIP:  You’ll probably have some ganache left over — make some truffles letting the ganache firm up in the refrigerator and then roll (about a tablespoon or two) into a ball and then roll in ground nuts, flax and chia seeds, hemp hulls, coconut, or carob powder.  

Quinoa and Rice Cereal with Fruit (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan)

I grew up in New Hampshire and my mother was always very frustrated with me in the winter because I absolutely refused to eat any type of hot cereal.  I remember distinctly back in the 1950s and 1960s that Maypo was the go to hot cereal along, of course, with oatmeal.  Not for me!  I hated hot cereal, it was always so slimy in my mouth.  Probably the way my mother cooked it.  My mother would be so upset with me now to see how much hot cereal I eat during the winter.  This is one of my favorites.  I used to buy expensive quinoa and rice cereal already premade, just add the liquid and cook it.  Now I make my own; so easy and it can be done with the new overnight refrigerator technique.  I give you the stovetop version here.  Makes two servings.

In a medium saucepot:

  • 1/2 cup white quinoa
  • 1 small pear diced
  • 8-10 blackberries or raspberries (blackberries don’t break up as much as raspberries so I usually use those and its fine to take them out of the freezer and add them into the pot frozen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash or two of salt

In a blender, blend until mainly smooth:

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cold water

Add this to the pot, cover and cook over low heat, stirring frequently.  This will thicken   quickly because of the fruit so be sure to stir often.  Keeping it covered insures that the quinoa cooks.  When the quinoa looses its white sheen, its cooked.  If its too wet, cook uncovered for a few more minutes.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup if the fruit hasn’t gotten it sweet enough.  You can also feel free to add a tablespoon of ground flax, some chia seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, etc.  Or substitute an apple for the pear.

To use the overnight refrigerator technique, put all the ingredients into a large mason jar, shake to mix (or stir), and refrigerate overnight.  Heat up in the morning and enjoy.