alternative baking

Today, I made my maiden voyage into the land of baking sweet things that I can actually eat.

Now, in the not so distant past, I’ve made a crushed-cereal crust fruit tart and a Passover sponge cake, but I don’t think those really count.  The stakes were too low.  Today, I actually followed a recipe, from scratch, with my own dubious substitutions, and ventured to make food that will not make me feel like shit tomorrow.

Over the last year, a host of food sensitivities have surfaced.  I say “sensitivities” rather than “allergies” for a few reasons.  The first reason is that I’ve never been tested; my list is of trial-and-error best guesses that I have narrowed down with less than diligent experimentation.  Considering there’s been no clinical research on my particular case, and I didn’t use to have these sensitivities, I have no idea what’s causing them… That’s not true; I have lots of ideas, but no proof than any of them are true.  My current speculations are that they are a result of a year plus of chronic life stress and the increasing number of foods being genetically modified and so forth.

The second reason is that while some foods very obviously make my life suck when I ingest them, I don’t go into anaphylactic shock or break out in a rash of gory hives.  My main symptoms are, in no particular order : general malaise, unrelenting fatigue, abdominal discomfort, constipation, other GI complications, noxious flatulence—a.k.a. “silent but deadly farts”—the like of which I cannot even blame on someone’s dog.

The foods I hold suspect are in two general groups : probably bad and really bad.

In the really bad group are : cow milk, lactose free cow milk, cow milk yogurt/kefir/buttermilk, soy milk yogurt, cow milk ice cream, most cow milk US cheeses, wheat, soy-based faux meats, (instant, sweetened) oatmeal, peanuts, Spam.

The probably bad group is made up of foods that also seem to have a negative affect, but only when in large quantities and/or frequent intervals.  It includes : cow milk butter, cow milk heavy cream, chicken eggs, refined sugar, (glutinous?) oats, salami & sausage, many four-legged meats, soy milk, refined sugar, cruciferous vegetables, beans & legumes, onions, fresh garlic.

Now, let’s try to bake !

I bought a bag of butterscotch baking chips from the grocery store last week, for a semi-safe indulgence of my sweet tooth.  I noticed a recipe for butterscotch walnut cookies on the back and thought I might give it a go with my recently acquired spelt flour.  Spelt, while not wheat, is an old cousin to wheat, has gluten in it, and isn’t on my guaranteed “safe” list.  I’m hoping that because it’s not as widely farmed as wheat, and this batch is organic and unbleached, it might work out okay… I’m not sure if it’s the gluten or the wheat that’s hurting my belly.

I also have some rice flour and masa, which is finely ground corn treated with lime, used traditionally for corn tortillas.  I have almond milk to replace cow milk, though the recipe promises I could use water.  I have a little bit of ground arrowroot which, I think I might bust out for the occasion… or not.

Yesterday, on a trip to the co-op, I bought my first duck eggs.  They’re open stock, so I bought three : two for the recipe and one for fun.  I spoke with the gal stocking the eggs and she said that duck eggs are more rich and, well, gamy than chicken eggs.  She attested to like them, but warned that many people do not.

So here’s the recipe I ultimately followed :

butterscotch walnut cookiesadapted

1 c packed brown sugar
½ lb (two sticks) salted butter
2 duck eggs
3 T water
1 t vanilla extract
¾ t salt
¾ t baking soda
1 ½ c spelt flour
½ c rice flour
½ c masa (fine corn flour)
1 c chopped walnuts
1 11oz. pkg butterscotch baking chips (we’d already eaten about ¼ of it)

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Cream butter and brown sugar.  Mix in eggs, water, and vanilla.  Then mix in salt, baking soda, and all flour.  [I added maybe 2 T agave nectar because it seemed a little dry.]  Mix in walnuts and butterscotch chips.  Spoon out with ice cream scoop onto greased cookie sheet (or Silpat) and bake for 11 – 12 minutes.  Let cool 2 – 5 minutes before handling.

I haven’t finished baking off all the dough, so I don’t know how many this recipe makes.  I’m guessing you can get at least two dozen this way.  As the grocer promised, the duck eggs add a gamy aroma which, along with the nuttiness of the spelt flour, somehow makes sense with butterscotch and walnuts.  It wasn’t what I expected at first, but it was still yummy and satisfying, especially hot from the oven!  I wouldn’t do this with chocolate chips, however, considering the rigidity of my taste-expectation of standard, bleached all-purpose wheat flour chocolate chip cookies.

The real test is how I feel, or rather smell, tomorrow.

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One Response to alternative baking

  1. Pingback: gluten-free spumoni cookies « seasonal adjustments

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