One thing I’d like to avoid on this page is the image of me as some flawless baker. We’re in uncharted territory here folks, and while I could probably knock up a batch of normal, allergen-stuffed cupcakes without breaking a sweat, the moment we venture off the beaten track and into the jungle of Free From Recipes things get a lot more risky. Sometimes there’s a technical malfunction (a polite, blameless way of saying ‘I blinked and my kid played with the oven temp dial’), sometimes I screw up, and sometimes a recipe really just would never have worked. Any posts with titles starting as “Hall of Shame” will be warnings to others from my adventures. Imagine them as little drawings on your free from baking map, marked “here be monsters”…
Most of the time the recipes i put here start as ones on other blogs, which I then adapt and tweak until they suit my needs or work better before posting them here. However sometimes I come across something that simply doesn’t work, no matter which recipe variation I try.
Right now, rice flour sugar cookies are my nemesis. The ‘Free From’ Internet is stuffed with delicious photos of beautifully decorated rice flour sugar cookies, colourful icing beckoning the eye in. Little snow flakes, pretty Easter bunnies, delicate flowers… bake with kids, decorate together for a fun filled afternoon!
Yeah, do that, but don’t expect to eat the stupid things. For a cheap and easy estimation, mix 1 cup sand, 1/2 cup sugar and one egg, then bake at 180c for 10 minutes, cool and throw in the bin. Seriously, they’re so dry and powdery you’ll wonder if anything wet ever went near them. If you blow at them they’ll puff away into the wind like a marvel character in Endgame.
So why is that? Well firstly, rice flour doesn’t like to absorb liquid much. It’s naturally quite a dry flour, unlike some which drink it up. Secondly, dairy-free butters don’t retain moisture in bakes well at all. While real butter will help keep bakes tender and soft, dairy free butter just can’t. I don’t know the chemistry behind it (yet) but it doesn’t work. The end result is like someone made cookies from firmly packed sand.
I thought snickerdoodles might work better because there’s a load of cinnamon and brown sugar in there, two of my favourite flavours… but no. If anything it was much worse because they were thicker, there was more to hate. The final nail in the coffin was when Kiddo dropped half of the one he’d optimistically demanded, and then the dog – ever Kiddo’s snack-hopeful shadow – tried it and turned it down. The things I have seen this dog eat are not worth repeating, but he wouldn’t eat that, and I really can’t blame him.
But I’m a silver linings sort of person. When it’s this bad, things can only get better with a bake. It’s a good warning to you guys not to believe those temptingly pretty Pinterest photos, and I plan to experiment and come up with a version that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Even, if he follows closely enough behind, the dog.