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Allergen-Free Ingredient Substitutions

The Martha Stewart Show, March 2010

Don't let food allergies discourage you from baking tasty treats. Try these allergen-free ingredient replacements from Cybele Pascal, author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook."

Ditch the Dairy
In baking, dairy is used to provide moisture but also contributes to flavor and body, and its sugars help with browning. Vegan milks can easily mimic all of these qualities.

Rice Milk
Use rice milk anywhere you might traditionally use cow's milk -- it is easy to find and has a mild flavor. Rice milk is generally made from brown rice. It is thinner than other nondairy milks, but it still provides yummy moistness.

Hemp Milk
Hemp is the most nutritious of vegan milks, and it has a rich, nutty flavor.

Egg-Free Baking
Eggs provide moisture, richness, binding, and leavening. You can use a variety of alternative ingredients in place of eggs.

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce = 1 egg
Applesauce works as a binding agent and is a great substitute for eggs, oil, or shortening when you want to reduce the fat. 

1 teaspoon baking soda + 1 teaspoon cider vinegar = 1 egg
This is an old baking trick from World War II days, when eggs were rationed. It provides leavening in place of eggs. Add the baking soda to the dry ingredients and add the vinegar to the liquid. Wait to combine the dry and liquid ingredients until the very last minute, because the chemical reaction occurs as soon as the baking soda and vinegar meet.

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons warm water = 1 egg
Flaxseed works just like an egg, doing everything but leavening. It's moist, rich, and binding. Flax is often processed in facilities along with tree nuts or other allergens, so be sure to check with the manufacturer before consuming flax if cross-contamination is a concern for you.

Peanut Butter Proxy
SunButter (sunflower seed butter) is a great replacement for peanut butter and other nut butters.

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