Thursday, 22 August 2013

Gluten-, Egg- and Dairy-free Adventures (plus 2 Biscuit Recipes!)

The other day, I got a phone call from a friend who has been suffering a lot with a large variety of medical complaints for a few years now. Having endured countless tests, retests and arsing around from the HSE, she finally received some manner of positive step forward on the route to recovery: she had a food allergy test done, and tested positive for intolerances to dairy, egg, gluten, soya and a plethora of other things, including potatoes and tomatoes. Basically, the poor girl can eat nothing that traditionally appears in baking.

Despite the extent of her food allergies, she was happy to have some closure on at least a few of her difficulties, and asked me to help her out with shopping and cooking for her new diet. Meals on a free-from diet are pretty straight forward, but baking is a different story altogether.

Now, for years I've been developing wheat-free recipes to cater for my own intolerance, and occasionally dabbled in completely gluten-free baking with varied results, but now I was faced with a whole new challenge: baking with no gluten, dairy, or eggs. To further complicate matters, I couldn't use potato flour or anything containing soya lecithin.

Because her new diet is basically that of a coeliac vegan, I checked out a bunch of vegan recipes and found a few recipes, varying from promising to frighteningly awful. But after a few hours of researching I thought screw this, let's experiment!

I made up two different recipes (not writing them down, of course, which would have been clever) by just throwing stuff together until it looked right, and the results were pretty tasty! Such is the genius of xanthan gum.



  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) rice flour
  • 1 ounce (30 grammes) cornflour
  • ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) vegetable margarine (check for soya lecithin)
  • 1 ounce (30 grammes) icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest.

  • Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F, Gas Mk.2½, or very moderate).
  • Sieve together the flours, salt and xanthan gum onto a piece of grease-proof paper. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the living daylights out of the vegetable margarine until soft and creamy. Use a wooden spoon: it needs more elbow grease, but you have much more control over how soft you make your margarine.
  • Pour in the icing sugar, and cream until light and fluffy. Then add the dry ingredients and mix until the flour is combined; you may need to use your hands as the dough gets very stiff.
  • Lightly sprinkle the work surface with rice flour and roll out the dough to a ¼ inch (about 5 millimeters) thickness. Cut into little shapes and transfer carefully onto an un-greased baking tray.
  • Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until dry but still pale. Cool on a wire rack.


  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) ground almonds
  • 1 ounce (30 grammes) rice flour
  • 1 ounce (30 grammes) cornflour
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) soft brown sugar
  • 1 ounce (30 grammes) golden syrup
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) vegetable margarine
  • Caster sugar, for rolling

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F, Gas Mk.4, or moderate), and brush ½ teaspoon of sunflower oil on a baking tray.
  • Sieve the ground almonds, flours, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, melt together the margarine, sugar and golden syrup. If you can't find golden syrup, use maple syrup or honey.
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the melted mixture. Combine with a wooden spoon.
  • Take teaspoons of the mixture and roll into balls, then roll each ball in caster sugar. Place on the baking tray 2 inches (5 centimeters) apart and flatten out with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern.
  • Bake in the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until set and firm around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on the trays until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack, about 5 or so minutes.

My friend and mother told me that these tasted very good, and there almost indistinguishable from normal biscuits. So, it seems throwing things from around the kitchen together with gay abandon worked pretty well! Now to tackle gluten-and-soya-free-vegan-friendly cake!


  1. These were both quite literally the best biscuits I have ever tasted, I have had to stop myself eating all of them in one sitting!!

    1. Thank yooooooooooou!! Glad you enjoyed them! XD


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