As the parent of a child with several severe food allergies, I’ve learned a lot about ingredient substitution and have a few good baking tricks in my pocket. I’ve got six years of experience baking without dairy, eggs and nuts under my belt, and a few months ago I added corn to that list. I can rattle off different ways to substitute eggs in a cake, make a dairy-free cheesecake that the whole family will love, and make my own powdered sugar without cornstarch. I’ve come a long way from the newly veganed cook who made that awful looking and even more horrible tasting birthday cake for ‘A’s first birthday several years ago (to the delight of everyone who was there to choke down a few bites).
I used to love to bake, but I’ll tell you this: omitting corn has been a game-changer. It’s hidden in so many ingredients and by the time I get done wondering what I need to substitute, my excitement about baking has died out. Cake, cookies and muffins haven’t made an appearance in my home for a few months, and I had no plans to bring them back until the Baked Egg Food Challenge came along this week. I’ve posted about the food challenge here, providing information on what it is and why you would do one while also sharing some good news. We took our daughter ‘A’ to Children’s Hospital in Boston to feed her muffins made with eggs and determine what her reaction would be. I was instructed to make muffins using two eggs for a recipe that yielded twelve muffins. Sounds like a cinch, right?
Almost all of my cookbooks are vegan, so finding a recipe that included eggs was my first order of business. I have eaten far too many dry, crumbly, tasteless muffins in my lifetime and I know better than to trust just any recipe. I turned to my worn, well-loved copy of The Joy of Cooking for help. There lay the recipe for “Basic Muffins with Milk or Cream.” I began to list the substitutions. I had to pay attention to the baking powder, milk and vanilla. Baking powder contains corn. So does vanilla (even the delicious Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract I use contains ethyl alcohol, a corn product). I decided to omit the vanilla. I also adjusted the baking temperature and time – the Joy’s recipe calls for a 400 degree oven and a 12-15 minute baking time. I needed to bake these for 30 minutes, so I set the oven at 350.
A note about this recipe: If I were to make it without eggs, I would whisk together 3 tablespoons of warm water with 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and incorporate this egg substitution with the wet ingredients.
Dairy, Nut, and Corn-Free Muffins for the Child Undergoing an Egg Challenge or Egg Immunotherapy
(How’s that for a recipe title?)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-muffin pan with paper cups.
Whisk together thoroughly in a large bowl:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon homemade baking powder (2 parts cream of tartar, 1 part baking soda)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Whisk together in another bowl:
2 large eggs
1 cup rice milk
2/3 cup sugar
8 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil
Add to the flour mixture and mix together with a few light strokes just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add any desired fruit. Do not overmix; the batter should not be smooth. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack.