Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"If You Can't Be With The One You Love Honey, Love The One You're With"

Hello very inconvenient and random dairy allergy! Happy Anna Howard Shaw day to you! 
What's that? Why am I not the grumpiest person alive when I find myself having to cut out dairy for the two weeks that fall right on top of the most chocolaty day of the year? Why, because I have these shockingly delicious dairy free chocolate cupcakes!

Oh, and P.S. Mr. Dairy Allergy? SUCK IT! WE ARE NOT FRIENDS!

It has come to my attention that dairy seems to be triggering my eczema, which isn't at all inconvenient since it's not like I'm in cooking school or anything. Oh, wait! 

The alternative though is walking around looking like Tyrone Biggums which isn't exactly good for business eitherSo I've found that my only choice right now, at least until all this calms down, is to go completely dairy free, and possibly have periods when I'm dairy free in the future.

So... you know what that means! More stuff to learn!

The very first thing I thought about when the universe presented me with this obstacle was "Oh no! How am I going to bake?!?!" But after a little googling my second thought was "Thank god! There are vegans!" Vegan's pretty much rule half the internet, in fact I'm pretty sure that if we lived in a world without vegans, my quest to learn about dairy free baking would have taken about a hundred years longer. Sure there are other people out there with allergies with knowledge to share, but vegans are passionate! They will find a way to do whatever they want without dairy and they will tell you about it! It's amazing. I love you vegans! Go ahead, lay your knowledge on me!

As it turns out there are all kinds of ways out there to bake tasty delights and what's wonderful is that my gluten free knowledge fits right in with my dairy free knowledge. Honestly if I hadn't taken the time to really delve into the archives of The Gluten Free Girl I never would have thought it would be so easy to modify recipes to fit your lifestyle and your dietary needs. Shauna's focus may be on gluten free baking because that's the obstacle that she has, but she is a wonderful inspiration and advocate for modifying recipes to find what works for you.  And guess what, the cupcake recipe I used today, is my handy work! I started off with a recipe from Martha Stewart and then I tore it to pieces and reconfigured it using all the new stuff I've learned.

And it is DELICIOUS! Crazy good! Moist with that soft fat crumb you want from chocolate cake, and total yumtown. Not like "oh this is pretty good for gluten free" or  "this is surprisingly digestible for something with no butter in it" but actually real world no comparisons necessary mmmm chocolate cake tasty. And it is liberating and shocking to be able to bake this way! I want to kiss Shauna's feet for teaching me! And I want to kiss the vegans too!

Happy Anna Howard Shaw/Valentine's day everyone!
 Kiss the one you love! Kiss Shauna James Ahern! Kiss a vegan!
Slap an allergy in the face and bake some cupcakes!

Gluten Free/ Dairy Free/ Egg Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Originally Martha Stewart but cut to pieces, also you can find the dairy free butter cream icing recipe here

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2 tablespoons golden flaxseed meal soaked in 6 tablespoons of water for 15 minutes
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup soymilk + 1 tsp cider vinegar (left to curdle for ten minutes)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
3/4cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups Gluten Free All  Purpose Flour Mix *
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

1. In a large mixing bowl cream together flaxseed mixture, warm water, soymilk mixture, coconut oil, sugar and vanilla extract until combined.
2. In a separate bowl sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture a little at a time and whisk until it is well combined and there are no more lumps. It'll look pretty soupy at this point but if you let it sit for five to ten minutes it'll thicken up.
4.Divide into a paper lined cupcake tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until it passes the skewer test.
Let cool 30 minutes and serve topped with butter cream icing and sprinkles.

Makes 18 cupcakes

* for my GF AP flour mix I used sorghum+teff+brown rice for my grains and tapioca+potato+sweet white rice for my starches

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"On The Road To Insufferable" or " Say, Have You Done Your Homework Yet?"

I am becoming absolutely, ridiculously, crammed full of food knowledge. And I'm not just talking about school. No, this is a self induced condition, and for some reason I just can't help myself.

It started out innocently enough, I was just peeking at some gluten free flour prices on amazon.You know, the moon rocks. But somehow, and I don't quite remember how this came to be, I am now living in an apartment with a  digital food scale, a digital SLR camera and about 30 pounds of gluten free flours. 

I have a problem, I know.

It's this insanely counterproductive way I have of coping with stress; I become obsessed with learning really involved other things when I find myself absolutely swamped with work. I say "other" because it's always something that will not help me with my main task in any way. You'd think that at a time when my life is very busy (quite possibly the busiest its been in years) I would want to maybe spend any free moment just relaxing, you know, watching X files reruns with my eyes half open while reciting all the dialogue. But instead I find myself cultivating a list of strange hobbies - gluten free baking, dairy free baking, ratio baking, manual dslr photography and imperial to metric weight conversions (in my head) - with X files on in the background.

Because apparently, I love pain.

To make things worse, even though I'm talking about this ( you know, laughing at myself) I'm still completely lost in the madness. Don't let me fool you.

The recipe I made today isn't only gluten free.

 Oh, no. 

It's flourless. 

Yeah. Because we're doing that now too.

I find myself wondering if I'll drop dead come the end of the semester; brain grown too large for its container. 

But then again, that could just be the X files talking. 

Either way it does sound like something I might want to google... you know... because there could be something there... to learn about...


You can find the Flourless Brownie recipe here