Dairy-free is easy.
Don’t deny your sweet tooth. If you or someone you know has a dairy allergy or sensitivity, you can still milk the baking cabinet for all it’s worth — without so much as a slither of butter. “It’s very easy. The key is to not think in terms of substitutions but in terms of which ingredients can be highlighted or which use less fat,” says Cara Eisenpress, author of “In the Small Kitchen” and blogger at Big Girls Small Kitchen. “These are recipes that don’t require any special skill or method.” Here are eight dairy-free desserts for any occasion:
Tamara Duker Freuman, a registered dietitian in New York and U.S. News Eat + Run blogger, says coconut milk is a good alternative to regular milk and will satisfy your hunger as if you used the plain, old-fashioned stuff. Just combine rice, coconut milk, water and sugar in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cinnamon and vanilla when warm or chilled.
Peanut butter cookies
“Peanut butter cookies are kind of a miracle in that they’re gluten-free as well, and they get all their texture from peanut butter, eggs and sugar,” Eisenpress says. “That’s the base. From there, you can build up a flavor combination just like you would from any other cookies.” That means different types of nuts or fruit, candy, ginger, pretzel bits — you name it. “As long as you like peanut butter,” Eisenpress says. This recipe also works well with other nut butters, such as toasted almond or almond butter. People with nut allergies can use sunflower seed butter, Eisenpress suggests.
Banana chocolate chip bread
For a different spin on this classic loaf, pour the batter into a round cake baking tin to give it more of a cake feel. “It’s fun to call it banana bread so you can eat it for breakfast, too,” Eisenpress says. “For a low-fat route, apple sauce can add moisture.” If you’re adding chocolate chips to your banana bread, double-check the ingredients, she adds. Dark chocolate or semisweet morsels are usually dairy-free, but milk chocolate is not. Check out the recipe here.
Most gingersnap recipes don’t call for butter or dairy, Eisenpress says. “It’s a good [recipe] to play around with because they have so many flavors,” she says. This particular recipe calls for crystallized ginger — a high-sugar version of the flavorful ingredient. It’s not necessarily healthy, so consider limiting your gluttony. “[Consider adding] oil [which, unlike butter] can make for a nice, soft cookie. In this case, you would get delightfully chewy molasses cookies,” Eisenpress says. Added bonus: Ginger root has been shown to relieve digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain.
Trade in that bowl of ice cream for pumpkin sorbet. Duker Freuman says a quick Pinterest search yields many homemade sorbet recipes that feature mixed frozen fruit. “Throw in some canned pumpkin with frozen bananas, add a little cinnamon and a sweetener of your choice,” she says. It should only take 10 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to make this type of sweet dessert. You’ll just need two bananas, peeled and chopped; 1 cup pumpkin puree; 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; and 1/4 almond or coconut milk.
Flourless chocolate cookies
Flourless chocolate cookies are like a macaroon, except you’ll need to incorporate egg whites. Throw them together with powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt, and drop them on the baking sheet, Eisenpress says. If the cookies look runny, something went wrong. They should come out of the oven cracked with a gooey center. Flourless chocolate cake isn’t much different, Duker Freuman says. “There’s typically no cream, butter or milk,” she says.
This is a good palate cleanser that’s also gluten-free. Take 2 cups strong, hot brewed coffee, add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoonful vanilla, and mix until the sugar melts. Pour the batter into a metal loaf pan, and place it in the freezer. After an hour, stir the granita, return it to the freezer and continue every half-hour until it’s slushy. Scoop the granita to serve right away. “It’s really refreshing and has a crunch to it,” Eisenpress says. Get crafty and serve it in an espresso cup or Champagne or wine glasses.
Chocolate mousse pie
Sure, it’s deceiving, but chocolate mousse pie can be dairy-free, Eisenpress says. Just leave out the whipped cream. She prefers Maida Heatter’s 41-year-old recipe featured on the Big Girls Small Kitchen blog. Once it’s removed from the oven, the center sinks, allowing for additional mousse to be added to the rich dessert. “It slices beautifully, and it’s really festive if you’re looking for a centerpiece,” she adds. It’s flour and butter-free, too.
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