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When FAST first began, it had three sections only . . . "Recipes," "Resources," and "Tips." Much of this information goes back to 1997, when the site first went online! The page is not as organized as some of the other sections at FAST, but the information is just as helpful as it was back in the 1990s.

Shortening Alternative

Sumitted by D.

If you are allergic to milk and soy it can be tough to bake without shortening, butter, or margarine. I have found in most recipes I can exchange the amount of margarine or shortening for oil by 75%. For example, a recipe calls for 1 cup shortening. I substitute 3/4 cup oil. Canola works great.

Cookie Info!

Submitted by KDK of WNY Food Allergy Connection

My son was not used to chocolate, because I kept him away from it so long. So for quite awhile, he liked vanilla or other flavors and wouldn't even try the chocolate products. After about 6 months, that changed and now he likes a variety. His favorites are: ginger snaps, animal cookies, double chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin cookies. I must tell you that all are so good, even without wheat, that other kids and adults gobble them up. This is a little guideline to substituting other flour if there is a wheat problem:

For each 1 cup of regular flour (wheat), substitute:
1 cup barley or millet or corn or tapioca flour
7/8 cup buckwheat flour
7/8 cup rice flour
1 1/8 cups oat flour
1 1/4 cups rye flour
or a combination of these flours (others are also available)

For the animal cookies, you'll need a cookie press/spritz. Until my son had allergies, I never used one. Boy are they easy! I'll never want to do those cut out sugar cookies again. Cookie presses cost about $18, come with about 10 shapes and are really easy. You can make things besides cookies with them, but they come with those instructions anyway.

You'll also want to buy some arrowroot powder. It helps hold baked goods together, and really is a boost to egg free baking. It can even be used as an egg substitute in baking, but I prefer it as an enhancement to other egg substitutes. It will last at least 6 months (store it in the refrigerator or freezer). Although grocery spice isles have it too, it costs a fortune by comparison. And you'll want to use it generously. If a recipe calls for a teaspoon, make it a heaping one. The flavor is not affected and the results are terrific. It makes a good thickener for gravy and pudding too.

A nice side benefit of baking without dairy and egg is that foods stay fresh longer. These cookies taste just as good a month later, if stored in airtight containers. Most cookies made with butter and eggs taste worse after a few days... These cookies are also so tasty that your whole family will enjoy them. My son's cookies are the most popular item at playgroups or when other kids come over.

Animal Cookies

2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teasp baking powder
1 cup dairy free margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 teasp baking powder, blend with oil and water
1 teasp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375.

Blend arrowroot, flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

Cream margarine and sugar. Beat in oil/water/baking powder. Gradually blend in flour mixture. Fill cookie press and form cookies on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Leave on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling racks. Store in airtight containers.

Yields about 80 cookies.

Variations: Chocolate - add 2 oz. melted baking chocolate, and substitute 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for the 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. A little more flour may be added if the cookies are too "wet".

Caramel - substitute 1/2 cup brown sugar for 1/2 cup sugar. Substitute the 1/4 teaspoon baking powder with baking soda.

Orange - add 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 teaspoon orange peel, grated.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup dairy free margarine
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tablespoons oil
3 table water
2 teas baking powder, mix with oil and water
1 teas vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teas arrowroot powder
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teas baking soda
1/4 teas salt
1 cup dairy free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

Beat margarine at medium speed until fluffy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add oil/water/baking powder to sugar mixture. Add vanilla, beat until smooth. Combine flour, arrowroot, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gradually blend with creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by teasponful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes. Cool slightly; transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers. Yields about 70 cookies.

Recipe Info.

submitted by KDK of WNY Food Allergy Connection

A few tips about recipes...

Cooking is a learned skill that takes years to master; cooking with alternatives to traditional ingredients will also take some time to master. It took several months of experimenting in the kitchen before coming up with anything remotely resembling edible food, so don't be discouraged if it takes you a little while to get adjusted. You'll soon be baking cookies that everyone will love, and creating recipes of your own. My first attempt at alternative brownies was a panful of boiling goop, which I am convinced had a life of its own. Let's not mention flat-as-a-board cakes, crumbly muffins, and rice flour cookies that more closely resembled the taste and texture of sand. Friends and relatives used to run the other way when they knew I was working on a new recipe, lest they be requested to sample some.

There is really no such thing as an allergen-free recipe, except possibly boiled water. That is because individuals can be allergic to so many varied things. One may be allergic to dairy products only, another to soy, wheat, rice and peanuts, and so on.

Understanding you will READ THE LABEL CAREFULLY at all times, following are a few products I have had success with in recipe preparation.

* Alternative flours for wheat free cooking are in abundance. Some include buckwheat, rye, oat, corn, rice, barley, amaranth and quinoa. When using in recipes calling for flour, use these measures per 1 cup regular (wheat) flour:

1 cup barley or millet or corn or tapioca flour
7/8 cup buckwheat flour
7/8 cup rice flour
1 1/8 cups oat flour
1 1/4 cups rye flour
or a combination of these flours (others are also available)

It should be noted for those dealing with alternative flours that it takes some experimentation until you become comfortable with the grain properties. Always store them in the freezer, as they usually have no preservatives. If using wheat flour, the measurements are relatively straightforward. Non wheat grains each have their own special textures and tastes. Rice flour tends to be grainy; oat flour is sweeter but also sticky; buckwheat flour should be the light variety (the dark has a stronger taste which some may not appreciate.)

Individuals allergic to wheat may want to check celiac sprue (or gluten intolerance) resources. It is not the same problem, but those with gluten intolerance have learned how to make breads and other grain foods without wheat (or oats, barley and several other grains). These recipes can be of benefit, even if you are not gluten intolerant.

Flours also vary in qualities from manufacturer to manufacturer. It takes a little time until someone new to cooking with these grains feels a sense of mastery. Measurements cannot be taken literally; go by the "feel" of the dough. What does that mean? Pancake batter shouldn't be watery; it should have a little thickness or you'll have flat, runny pancakes. Likewise, cake and brownie batters shouldn't be watery; they should have a consistency with some thickness and no lumps, or you1ll have a cake that burns at the edges and stays soggy in the center. Cookie dough should not be "wet", damp or sticky to the touch, losing its shape and spreading too easily. Nor should it be too dry, crumbly and difficult to shape. To get the right texture, begin with the recommended measures. If the dough is wet, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it is the desired texture. If it is too dry, add water a few drops at a time until it is the desired texture. You may want to make a batch with wheat flour first (if some family members are not wheat allergic), to see what the consistency should be like. To test, cook only three or four cookies at a time. Cool them off and taste. This helps you adjust the quality and texture without wasting the whole batch, which can be quite costly. If making a cake or other recipe for a special occasion, don't wait until that special day to try the recipe for the first time. It takes a little practice to make any recipe perfectly.

Arrowroot powder is a wonderful product which no egg or wheat free kitchen should be without. It has binding and thickening qualities, which help keep baked goods from crumbling ( a common problem with non wheat grains.) It does not affect the taste of the recipe, so use it generously. If a recipe calls for a teaspoon of arrowroot, use a heaping teaspoon. The same can be said of baking powder; this helps baked goods rise, and can also be added generously. One nice side benefit of egg free and dairy free recipes: they stay fresh longer. Most of the cookies last for at least a month if kept in air tight containers. Cakes can be made one or two days ahead of time and are still moist and fresh - this takes pressure off of birthdays and other occasions where anything that can be prepared ahead of time saves effort on the big day. We recommend baking special occasion foods at least a day before to give enough recovery time if there should be a problem.

* Chocolate, yes, chocolate! is not off limits for people with dairy allergies, but you must read labels for other ingredients that will be a problem such as milk, nuts, egg, etc. Powdered non dairy cocoa is available, as are other baking chocolate products. Carob, which is in the legume family, can be a problem for people with legume allergies.

* There are many milk alternatives, including rice milk, soy milk and oat milk (try to use the calcium fortified versions of these.) To replace the nutrients being missed, such as calcium, consult your physican or a nutritionist. For cooking, milk is unnecessary. It can be easily replaced with the alternatives listed, juice or even water. As a thickener for "cream" soups, use cooked, pureed potatoes or other thickening vegetable purees. For mashed potatoes, add dairy free/soy free margarine, seasonings and a little water or chicken broth - no one will know the milk is missing. In frostings or other baking, substitute an equal portion of water or other liquid. I have used rice milk in some recipes as a straight substitute for milk, and had disastrous results. Water seems to work better for pudding, and some baking.

* Not all products have to be made from scratch. Bread is a special challenge for many, and there are pre-baked alternatives available. Rice bread, millet bread, tapioca bread, rye bread are all available. There are also pasta alternatives, made with either rice, corn, quinoa or a blend of these.

* There are many excellent food allergy cookbooks available, some for single allergies such as to dairy products, others for a variety of allergies. Local libraries, bookstores and health food stores carry many titles. Regular (non allergic) cookbooks also have many recipes which are easily adapted. Cookies are especially forgiving of substitutes and may be a good place to start.

* Arrowroot powder should be purchased from the health food stores, in the 8-12 oz bags, which cost much less than the spice size. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

This website is for personal support information only. Nothing should be construed as medical advice.