When I learned I couldn’t have gluten or dairy anymore, I kissed my Huckleberry Bakery days good bye and immediately jumped into baking gluten- and dairy-free.
To my surprise, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Let me share some of the tips I picked up along the way.
1. Get to know your ingredients.
It might seem strange as the first suggestion, but when I started, I realized there was a lot I didn’t know, like the way sugar lends extra moisture to a pastry. When substituting, you have to make sure you account for that.
2. If your goal is to bake vegan pastries, buy chia or flax seeds.
Chia seeds are the better substitute for eggs. Add three tablespoons of water to every tablespoon of seeds, sit back and watch the magic happen!
3. Don’t think that you need to substitute margarine for butter.
The more components in something, the less pure an ingredient. Instead of artificial margarine or another butter substitute, try grapeseed oil for its mild flavor. Okay, sure, there are certain things you cannot make with grapeseed oil, like cinnamon buns, but I would faster turn to coconut butter than margarine. A general rule of thumb is ¾ cup oil replaces 1 cup of butter, but it really depends how you prefer your cookies.
4. Invest in almond meal.
If you’re making cookies, almond meal is essential for gluten-free baking. Not only do you get protein, but it adds a nutty flavor. Most chefs buy blanched almond meal, but I buy unblanched.
5. Replace refined sugar.
Gluten and dairy free chocolate chip cookies Recipe
The batter should be loose, so it is best to use a small ice cream scoop to get them on to your cookie tray. I suggest using a piece of parchment. If you don’t have any, you can use a nonstick baking mat.
Bake the cookies for approximately 13 minutes, although all ovens are different. They should be golden brown. For crispier cookies, bake a few minutes longer.
Side note about cherries: they do occasionally have pits left in them, so be careful! Also, if adding them in, look for non sulfur, natural dried cherries without added oils and sugars. Soak them for 5 minutes to rehydrate them before you add them to your dough.
Photo credit: Coco Bakes LA