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My favorite allergen-friendly substitutes!



I believe you shouldn't have to compromise on dessert flavor, texture, or decadence just because you have dietary restrictions! As I specialize in baking allergen-friendly treats, I've experimented with a ton of dairy-free butters, gluten-free flours, egg substitutes, and unrefined sugars, and I want to share some of my favorites with you! Below you'll find my two favorite products for each category, as well as some links to specific brands I love.


If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to comment or send me through a message on the "contact" page of my website. Happy baking!


Gluten-Free

Almond flour: I LOVE using almond flour--it's tender, slightly nutty, and gives baked goods a nice crumb. It's an integral ingredient in macarons, almond cake, and Italian rainbow cookies. While it can be expensive, Trader Joe's sells blanched, fine almond flour that is reasonably priced.

Because almond flour has a high fat content and is denser than all purpose flour, it's important to use binding and lightening ingredients (like eggs or whipped egg whites, applesauce, xanthan gum, melted chocolate, or nut butters) to ensure that your baked goods hold shape and are not too heavy. You can also use equal parts almond flour and a ready made gluten-free flour blend for optimal texture. *I recommend using almond flour to replace one-third to half of the amount of flour listed in the recipe and use a gluten-free flour blend for the rest.


Gluten-free flour blends: I often like to mix a ready-made GF flour blend with almond flour, as many flour blends have a tendency to make the texture of baked goods gummy or leave a slightly bitter aftertaste. Blends can be expensive, so it may be more cost effective to buy the various flours and gums in bulk and blend them yourself! I always look for blends that contain rice flour, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum. I've used other types of GF flour blends with ingredients like buckwheat, potato starch, and guar gum, but I've personally found that they aren't quite as tender and light. Shop around online and in local grocery stores to find deals--I've seen GF flour blends run as low as $3/lb to as high as $10/lb! *Use an equivalent amount of this product to the amount of flour listed in the recipe.


Dairy-Free

Country Crock Plant Butter with Almond Oil: This is the closest thing to butter in terms of texture and flavor that I have ever used! It makes the lightest, fluffiest frosting and has no overpowering coconut, nut, or margarine flavor and doesn't melt at room temperature. It also bakes well, especially in cakes or cookie doughs that you chill after mixing. *Use an equivalent amount of this product to the amount of butter or oil listed in the recipe.


Earth Balance Soy-Free buttery spread: I use this product exclusively in a soy-free version of my Junk Cookies! It's great because it doesn't contain any nuts, soy, or dairy and has a neutral flavor. I recommend using it as a substitute in recipes that contain oil (like cakes or brownies) or are chilled before baking (like cookies), since it melts easily at room temperature. It doesn't hold well in more delicate items like buttercream, shortbread, or ganache. *Use an equivalent amount of this product to the amount of butter or oil listed in the recipe.


Egg Substitutes

Greek or Vegan Yogurt: Great for egg-free cakes, brownies, and custards, the gelatinous texture and high protein content of yogurt does a great job of mimicking eggs. If using vegan yogurt, I recommend looking for a higher protein brand, such as Trader Joe's, as some vegan yogurts have almost no protein, which will impact the texture of your treats. Whether using vegan or greek yogurt, I recommend getting yogurt with a moderate amount of fat (such as 2%). Non-fat will be too watery, and super high fat (more than about 12g per 5oz container) may be too rich, depending on the recipe. Yogurt will help bind and moisten baked goods, providing a similar richness and structure as eggs. *Use 2 tbs of yogurt per egg listed in the recipe.


Light Corn Syrup: If you're looking for something that will help bind egg-free cookies or bars (especially if they are also dairy-free), corn syrup is your best bet! It may sound odd, but corn syrup does a great job keeping crumbly baked goods together without using eggs--I use about 1 tbs per dozen in my vegan Junk cookies, and it keeps them from falling apart. If you are making vegan cookies and want to also ensure they come out tender and chewy, I recommend adding 1 tbs of cornstarch to every one dozen batch as well. *Use 1 tbs of corn syrup to replace each egg in the recipe.


Unrefined Sugars

Maple Syrup: I absolutely love maple syrup (I went to college in Vermont, so I'm partial to the stuff from the Green Mountain state), and think it lends a great depth or flavor and rich texture to chewier or smoother desserts, like brownies, puddings, muffins, pie fillings, and some cookies. Since it is a liquid sweetener, replacing granulated sugar with maple syrup takes some tweaking and trial and error to get right. *I generally recommend replacing about half of the sugar listed in a recipe with maple syrup, using a dry sweetener (like coconut sugar) for the remaining half, then reducing another liquid (such as milk, oil, melted chocolate, or yogurt) by about 25%. Experiment with different ratios and see what works best for your recipe!

Coconut Sugar: This is best suited as a replacement for brown sugar, as most coconut sugars have a molasses-like deep flavor. Look for a finely ground coconut sugar or pulse it in a food processor before adding to your recipe for optimal texture (many coconut sugars have larger granules than white or brown sugar, which could alter the texture of your final product). *Use an equivalent amount of this product to the amount of brown sugar listed in the recipe.

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