Studio Musings

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Baking Experiments - GlutenFree & EggFree

Thanksgiving = Food + Family & Friends

I don't know about you, but there are a number of recipes that I only eat around the holidays.  Foods I look forward to year-round.  One of my personal favorites is Old Colony Gingerbread.  The recipe comes from the 1965 Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 5.

1965 Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery & Old Colony Gingerbread

Last weekend, I decided to try remake it to fit with my current dietary restrictions.  Old Colony Gingerbread 2.0 used gluten-free oat flour, coconut oil in place of the shortening, and substituted allspice for the nutmeg.  I also increased the baking powder by 1 tsp. to offset the lack of gluten for rising.

The results tasted great.  Good texture, too.  But either the egg or the coconut oil were too much for my system and it was an epic fail from a health perspective. The fun of food sensitivities!

So yesterday, I decided to try again.  This time, my goal was a gluten-free, egg-free, and coconut-free version.  Since eggs are typically used as a binder to keep the finished baked item from falling apart, I decided to try a trick that I learned from a Depression-era Spice Cake recipe.  That recipe is completely vegan - no eggs or butter.  I kept the butter for my gingerbread.  The secret ingredient?  Raisin water!  I think that the pectin from the raisins substitutes for both the gluten, and for the binder that the egg usually provides. 

Gingerbread Version 3.0

The result was a little heavier than the original recipe, but not by much.  The cut gingerbread held together well on the plate, and the flavor was spot on.  Served some to visiting friends without telling them it was an altered recipe and they both went back for seconds.

My Gluten-Free, Egg-Free Gingerbread Recipe (Version 3.0)

1 c. Distilled water 
3/4 c. Raisins 

1 c plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free oat flour 
2 1/4 tsp. Baking powder 
1 tsp. Ground Ginger 
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon 
1/4 tsp. Allspice 
1/4 tsp salt 

1/3 c. Butter 
1/4 tsp. Baking soda 
1/3 c. Firmly packed dark brown sugar 
1/3 c. Dark molasses (mix of Grandma’s original & Brer Rabbit) 

Put raisins and the water into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, allowing the water to boil gently or simmer, and continue to cook, partly covered for 15 to 20 minutes.

After 15-20 minutes, the raisins should start looking kind of pale, and the water will have a dark, tea-color.  Pour the raisins and their water through a strainer set over a measuring cup.  Keep 1/2 cup water.  (The raisins and any extra water can be discarded.)  If using, add the instant coffee to the raisin water.  Add butter and baking soda and stir until dissolved.  Then add sugar and molasses to the raisin water/coffee/butter mixture.

Pour batter into lightly buttered and floured 9” square pan.  It will be quite runny - that's expected.  Bake in preheated moderate oven (350F) for 25-30 minutes.  You can use a toothpick to check if it's done.  Serve warm or cool.

Fresh out of the oven, and already half-gone!


There are no actual raisins in the gingerbread, just the water they were boiled in.  The gingerbread has no discernible raisin flavor, and there are no raisin 'lumps' to bother the raisin-haters in your family.

I did not grease the pan before pouring in the gingerbread batter.  It was easy to serve, even piping hot, with very little sticking.

While oats are naturally gluten free, oat flour may be contaminated with gluten if it's milled in a factory that also processes wheat and other grains.  If gluten is an issue, make sure that you use oat flour that specifically states Gluten Free.  I couldn't find any locally (visited 3 grocery stores) and ended up ordering from Amazon.  I think it's really cool that Gluten Free Prairie is basically a family visit, created because one of their family members is Celiac.  And that the packaging states that the flour is also glyphosate free.  

The Gingerbread 3.0 has a shorter bake time than the original recipe.  I would definitely recommend the toothpick test at 25 minutes baking time. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Holiday Ornament Exchange List

Last week I sent out emails with all of the pairings for this year's Holiday Ornament Exchange.  Hopefully everyone has already heard from their trading partners.  If not, please let me know asap so I can see what I can do to help.

Here's the full list of participants:

Carrie Johnson and Therese Frank
Jasvanti Patel and Becky Clay
Jane Knaub and Mandi Bugatti
Sherry Eagle and Amy Severino
Judy J Jacobs and Judy Deshaies
Adrienne Hendrickson and Francie Broadie
Cyndi Nason and Karen Williams

On other fronts, I had a busy, crazy, wonderful, chaotic, extended weekend with the visit of my brother and his family.  Only managed to snap one picture of his whole crew. 

settling in to watch Miyazaki's Spirited Away
They've all headed home, and the house is way too quiet now - so it's time for me to put on some fun music and start working on ornaments.