Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cook IT Allergy Free Gingerbread Contest is up! Vote Now!

Cook IT Allergy Free's Gluten Free Gingerbread House Contest is up! You can vote for your favorite every day now through December 17th! 

My entry is #15! Here are the photos I submitted, so you can get a better look. :) 

In order to keep this entirely safe for my little guy the house is not only wheat free (had to be gluten free under the contest rules) but it's also dairy free, corn free, egg free, nut free and as made very obvious when compared to the others in the contest, dye free. It's not a true "gingerbread" because it doesn't have the spices, because we don't know that those are safe for him either. The only actual ingredients in the whole structure are brown rice flour, arrowroot powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, shortening, sugar, molasses, golden syrup and rice milk. But, nevertheless, he and my girls certainly did enjoy digging into it!

When I last posted about the contest I wasn't quite sure how I'd make it all work. Boy was I clueless!
I did indeed use our standby graham cracker recipe with the addition of an extra 1/2 cup of brown rice flour (and I used only rice milk). Also I didn't roll the dough out as thin as I normally do, I left it almost 1/4" thick. I baked it with all the scrap dough so it didn't warp.

The vegan corn-free "royal" icing was a total flop! It was a maple-colored glaze at best, no way could it hold anything together, no matter how much sugar I added in. (I did use it to pipe the railroad tracks.) The last resort was melting sugar a la Martha Stewart! It was bit hazardous to my fingertips, but it worked! The graham crackers are so fragile I do think they benefitted from getting a bit stale, as odd as that sounds. The railhouse entryway piece absolutely crumbled early on and I rescued it by glueing it with sugar syrup on to a piece of cereal box cardboard (also the little guy's, just to be safe). Then I set all the pieces aside for a couple days while my fingers healed and when I got back to construction, everything came together much nicer.

For decorating I made a "buttercream" out of shortening and homemade cornfree powdered sugar! I gave a dusting with powder sugar on the foiled board for the look of snow. I originally thought I might use a bit of chocolate to decorate but ended up liking the "winter wonderland" look of the all white decorations!

Everyone's submissions were to the Cook IT Allergy Free contest were great! I'm so happy that Kim inspired me to make this fun project this season for my kids to enjoy, no matter what the contest outcome. :) If you would like to vote for my entry, just click on over and leave a comment for #15 and say why you think it should win. Thanks!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Crisped Rice Treats - Take 2!

I tried making these last year with limited success but was determined to come up with something even closer to the originals for a school event this past week and I did! I used a variation of this recipe and was pleased with the results! I forgot to take a photo of the big plates I sent off to school but here were the leftovers. :)


1/2 cup 100% dark amber maple syrup
1/2 Lyle's golden syrup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon Spectrum palm oil shortening
6 cups Erewhon crisp brown rice cereal

additional shortening for greasing
optional Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Prepare 9"x13" pan by lining with greased waxed paper. Grease additional wax paper sheet to use for pressing hot cereal mixture down into pan and set aside. Measure 6 cups of cereal and set aside in large bowl.

In a pan heat the maple syrup, golden syrup and sugar until the mixture starts to boil. Add tablespoon of shortening and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in part of the cereal. Then pour sugar - cereal mixture into the remaining cereal and stir until evenly mixed. Pour into prepared lined pan and press firmly into place using the greased waxed paper. Press in chocolate chips if desired.

Let cool on counter or in refrigerator before cutting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Have you seen the Gluten-Free Gingerbread House Contest?

Cook IT Allergy Free is having a Gluten-Free Gingerbread House Contest! I really want to join in the fun and make a special gingerbread house for my little guy! I really don't think his will win - he has so, so many restrictions I just can't use all the fun colorful candy - but I think he will still enjoy the final result and I think it will be a fun process!

I'm blogging about the contest for two reasons! First, to let yu know about the contest so you have time to start crafting a gluten-free gingerbread house of your own! Secondly, I'm posting so that hopefully I won't forget about doing it myself! I've started planning....

I'll be using these graham crackers or something similar, baked in a large sheet then cut out according to paper patterns immediately out of the oven. 

Real royal icing is out of the question because of the egg whites so I found this vegan eggless royal icing recipe that I'm going to attempt to make corn-free by switching to Lyle's Golden Syrup and homemade corn-free powdered sugar.  Otherwise, I'll make a "buttercream" with Spectrum shortening and homemade no-corn powdered sugar hope it will be strong enough to hold up long enough for pictures! :)  

For decorations, I'll go with piped icing, sprinkled powdered sugar, sprinkled coconut and maybe even some Enjoy Life! chocolate chips.