{Recipe Challenge} Food Allergy Muffin Therapy

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.



12 Comments Add yours

  1. Alexis says:

    And congrats on the result of the egg test Jillian!

    1. Jillian says:

      Thanks! It’s a huge step forward.

  2. Christine says:

    Totally catchy recipe title. I had heard about the water & flaxseed substitution before, I’ll have to give it a try! Also, I had no idea you could make your own baking soda. Awesome.

    1. Jillian says:

      Christine I love the flaxseed mixture. When I started baking vegan, I did side by side cookie batches, one with egg, the other with flaxseed. The flaxseed always baked up better and tasted better. When it comes to cakes, eggs win hands down. But you can’t argue about the health benefits of flaxseed.

      1. Christina says:

        I too can attest to the flax egg magic. I too use it all the time; great results. Someday I will post a baked oatmeal with it.

  3. Deanna says:

    Even though I don’t have food allergies to worry about in my house (thank goodness), I always worry about what’s lurking in ingredients that I don’t know about (especially when cooking/baking for friends with allergies). I can’t even imagine your challenge. Regardless if one has allergies or not, thanks for all the great tips! The baking powder trick is one I’m definitely going to keep in my pocket 🙂

    1. Jillian says:

      Deanna, you totally want me want to make biscuits, and I’ll be using the homemade baking powder for them! YUM!

  4. Christina says:

    Jillian, Your post came at the right time. I cringe at the idea of cooking or baking for Miles, or Chuck & I for that matter. I kinda have given up. Miles coughs all the time, still, and I’m rundown. And baking, forget about it, especially since the eggs have left the building.

    That said, the positive news of ‘A’ egg challenge has brought me hope. A is farther along down the allergy road than MJ, so I see her gigantic step forward as a beacon of light. I sooo needed that. I am holding this close to my check. Hope is alive.

    1. Jillian says:

      Hey Chris, get the ovomucoid blood test done on him. If it’s zero, he can eat baked egg with no problem whatsoever, and statistically speaking he WILL outgrow the allergy, it’s just a matter of when. Hers was 1.1 and clearly is low enough so she can eat it. Even if she never eats scrambled eggs, at least I can use eggs in cakes. My goodness, it really goes bind together the carbs quite well! It makes food so much yummier.
      That said, I hate cooking for food allergies. I’m all out of steam too. Same thing every night it seems. Blah.

  5. I use a flax “egg” a lot in baking for my food allergy kids but I just started experimenting with chia seed as an egg or xanthan gum replacer. So far so good and good for us!

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