Archive for the ‘vegan’ Category

Egg, gluten and dairy free wedding cookies

Monday, January 28th, 2013

I was asked how to decorate cookies with flooded icing without using egg. You can get the same effect, shinier in fact by using fondant icing.

I don’t mean sugarpaste. I mean bakers fondant which is made from sugar and glucose syrup. This can be bought in block form which is how bakers use it, you can buy it from the supermarket as ‘fondant sugar’ which you mix with water before using or you can buy real fruit fondant powder from Squires Kitchen.

The three cookies on the left were decorated with block fondant. The three cookies on the right are decorated with powdered fondant sugar. My photography is not brilliant but I hope you can see that both give a good finish.

Both block form and powdered fondant sugar will give a smooth shiny finish which is as shinier than flooded royal icing – and you don’t need a heat lamp to dry the icing.

Tips – Prepare your fondant sugar in a glass bowl and stir with a metal spoon. Plastic bowls can hold onto any grease previously held in the bowl and this will affect the shine of your fondant.

Pipe the outline of your shape with sugarpaste ‘let down’ with cooled boiled water. I add 1ml to 20g sugarpaste but this doesn’t have to be exact. Use this to fill a piping bag fitted with a number 2 nozzle.

To prepare your fondant sugar – stir in water a few drops at a time until it is a thick pourable consistency. Colour with liquid or paste food colouring.

To prepare block bakers fondant – place your fondant in a glass bowl, pour a small amount of water over the top. Place into a microwave on a low heat, stir after every 30 seconds until it is the required consistency. It should be just warm. You can add a little water to adjust the consistency. Do not overheat as this will effect the shine and constant overheating will cause the fondant to become grainy. Colour with liquid or paste food colouring.

Both sugars dry hard and you can pipe on top. This method can also be used to make free standing ‘run out decorations – you can either draw your pattern the wrong way round onto a piece of silicon baking paper, turn upside down so the pencil marks are underneath, or place a piece of clear cellophane on top of your design and pipe your design onto this. Pipe the shape outline with let down sugarpaste in a piping bag fitted with a number 2 nozzle. Fill in the shape with the fondant icing in a piping bag. Leave to dry before carefully running a very thin thin palette knife underneath to loosen from the paper.

This recipe makes about 12 x 3inch heart shaped biscuits.

 Ingredients
70g caster sugar
150g dairy free margarine
100g gluten free plain flour
100g maize flour or cornflour
1 x 500g pack fondant sugar (available from your supermarket)
Small amount sugarpaste, coloured as required
paste or liquid food colouring
any extra decoration

Equipment
1 large baking tray
cookie cutters
rolling pin
small paper piping bags
number 2 piping nozzle
small cranked palette knife

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas mark 4.

Mix the sugar together with the dairy free margarine until combined.

Mix in the gluten free flour and maize flour and bring together to form a dough.

Dust your worktop with gluten free flour. Roll out the dough ¼ inch thick and stamp out shapes using biscuit cutters.

Place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper lightly brushed with oil.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes and leave on the baking tray to cool.

Let down your coloured sugarpaste with cooled, boiled water. Paddle with a small cranked palette knife to remove any lumps and air bubbles.Fill a paper piping bag fitted with a number 2 piping nozzle.

Pipe any outlines on your cookie with the let down sugarpaste.

Prepare and colour your fondant sugar until it is a thick pouring consistency. Fill a paper piping bag with this. It does not need a nozzle.

Snip the very tip of your piping bag off with a pair of scissors and pipe the fondant onto your cookie within the outline. Start piping, keep the point of your piping bag in the piped fondant to ‘guide’ the fondant where you want it to go. Try not to overfill. Leave in place to dry. Decorate as required.

Once dry the fondant can be piped on top.

Leftover mincemeat?- Gluten and dairy free mincemeat shortbread

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Unusually this year I had a jar of mincemeat leftover after Christmas. I also needed to make something for lunch boxes this week.

I fancied a mincemeat bakewell tart but there is a no nuts policy at school so decided to make mincemeat shortbread.

Recipe

Ingredients
1 large jar of gluten free mincemeat. (If you haven’t got enough mincemeat, you could mix it with stewed apple or pear)
375g dairy free margarine
180g caster sugar
250g gluten free plain flour
250g maize flour or cornflour

for the Shortbread

Preheat oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas mark 4.

Mix the sugar together with the dairy free margarine until combined.

Mix in the gluten free flour and maize flour and bring together to form a dough.

Line an 8in x 8in brownie tin with greaseproof paper, grease with sunflower oil or dairy free margarine if needed. I used an 8in x 12 in tin and spread the shortbread out to 8 inches. It didn’t spread any further when cooking so you can use a bigger tin.

Press half of the dough into the bottom of the tin.

Bake for 15 minutes, leave to cool. I would always recomend part baking the base if using a domestic oven.

Cover with the mincemeat.

Place the remaining dough onto a piece of parchment paper which is bigger than the brownie tin.

Roll out onto the parchment until it is the same size as the brownie tin and of an equal thickness.

Get somebody to help you. Each hold two corners of the parchment and turn over onto the mincemeat.

Manoeuvre into the right place, rub over the parchment with your hand to stick the shortbread to the mincemeat, then peel off the paper.

Mark into portions and sprinkle caster sugar over the top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Leave to cool before slicing into portions.

Getting ready for Christmas: Gluten Free Mincemeat

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

I love the run up to Christmas and it starts with our Christmas baking. Cheesy Christmas music is a must. My youngest son joining in for the first time.

We started this year with mincemeat, making double the usual amount after running out last year.

I used to just mix all the ingredients together, put into jars and leave until needed but a couple of years ago I found the apple had fermented so I now follow Delia’s advice and warm up the mixture to melt the fat so it coats the fruit.

I always use vegetable suet in my mincemeat as I find beef suet sometime solidifies once the mince pies are cooked and cold. Gluten free vegetable suet is available from whole food shops. I used Community Foods. If this is hard to find I would use white vegetable fat as we are going to melt it anyway.

If you want to use beef suet, you can buy this fresh from some butchers which can be grated or blitz in a food processor.

This recipe makes enough to fill 5 jam jars.

The Recipe

200g raisins
200g sultanas
200g currants
200g wheat free mixed peel
2 cooking apples, peeled and chopped finely
200g gluten free vegetable suet or white vegetable fat (Trex)
200g Demerara sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 orange, zest and juice
2 tsp mixed spice
pinch salt
25ml rum
25ml brandy

The Method

Mix all the ingredients except the rum and brandy in a large bowl. Cover and leave overnight for the flavours to develop.

Preheat the oven to 120°c / gas mark ¼. Place the mixture into a deep ovenproof dish and warm in the oven until the fat has melted.

Take out of the oven and leave to cool, stirring occasionally. When cold stir in the rum and brandy.

To sterilise the jars – clean five glass jars in hot soapy water and dry with a clean towel. Place the jars in a moderate oven (160°c / 325°f / gas mark 3) for five minutes to ensure they are sterilised.

Fill the jars with the mincemeat while the jars are still hot.

Cover with a plastic coated lid. The fruit can corrode a metal lid.

Dairy Free White Chocolate Easter Egg

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Exciting news! Found – a dairy free white chocolate Easter egg in Sainsburys.

Is this the first commercial dairy free white chocolate egg?

Choices, made by Celtic Chocolates. The price was £2.25 for 65g of chocolate. I was excited to find this after being really impressed with their dairy free ‘milk’ chocolate. Personally I found it tasted very sweet and I prefer the melt in the mouth feeling of Humdingers white buttons, but this is great for all the people who usually miss out having their own Easter egg because they can’t or don’t want to eat dairy and the packaging is lovely.

Does this mean dairy free white chocolate will be returning to our supermarket shelves? Let’s hope so. I don’t know about anybody else but I’ve had real trouble getting hold of any lately. They all replaced Humdinger dairy free buttons for their own brand buttons made by Celtic Chocolates.

If you are missing your Humdinger dairy free buttons, you will find them at the brilliant www.veganstore.co.uk where maybe soon there will also be a return of my favourite – Holy Cow dairy free white buttons.

Food Allergy Advice For Cake Decorators – update 22/02/2012

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

I have decided to update my original post of the same name as it is still very popular and a lot of the information it provided has now changed. 

I have been making celebration cakes for people on special diets for as long as I have been making cakes and have spent a lot of time making sure the ingredients are safe to use for individual diets. I constantly check to see if the ingredients have changed or new products come on the market.

As a cake decorator are you are being asked more frequently if you can make cakes for special diets?
Do you get confused with ingredient lists?

I have put together a list of the common icings and sugarcraft ingredients used in the UK and allergy advice on each.

There are hidden ingredients that you may not think about. The main ingredient that causes confusion is Glucose syrup. This ingredient is found in most sugarcraft products.

Glucose can be made from any kind of starch and is used in sugary foods to soften texture and prevent crystallisation of sugars.

Most of the world seems to make glucose syrup from corn and call it corn syrup rather than glucose syrup. In Europe glucose syrup is made with corn and wheat.

If you buy your ingredients from a catering wholesaler there is a good chance the glucose in the product will be made from wheat, – this includes glace cherries and mixed peel.

To be sure what is in a product ask your supplier for the food specifications. This is a printed sheet which gives a description of a product, packaging info, shelf life, origin, ingredients and their derivatives  and any allergy information.

You may be wondering ‘what is the problem with glucose?

Glucose syrup is gluten-free. It can be derived from wheat but the production methods make it safe for people with coeliac disease to eat.

Research on whether wheat derived glucose syrup is safe for a person with a wheat or gluten allergy or intolerance strongly suggests that it should be fine for them to eat. I follow this advice but everyone’s tolerance and reactions are different. Some people with a wheat allergy or intolerance say it does affect them and even some Coeliacs too. If I have a customer who can’t eat wheat, I will ask them if glucose syrup or maltodextrin affects them personally.

Manufacturers do not have to state where the glucose syrup in their products derives from so you will have to contact them to get this information.

The following legislation applies to cake decorators selling cakes directly to the consumer.

Since November 2011 EU law now states that food whether prepackaged or sold loose has to provide information if it contains any of the following allergens or ingredients derived from the following allergens

Peanuts and products thereof – found in sauces, cakes, desserts, groundnut oil, peanut flour.

Nuts and products thereof, namely; almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia nuts, except for nuts used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
– found in sauces, desserts, crackers, bread, ice cream, marzipan, ground almonds, nut oils.

Soybeans and products thereof,
except:

(a) fully refined soybean oil and fat ( 1 );

(b) natural mixed tocopherols (E306), natural D-alpha tocopherol, natural D-alpha tocopherol acetate, and natural D-alpha tocopherol succinate from soybean sources;

(c) vegetable oils derived phytosterols and phytosterol esters from soybean sources;

(d) plant stanol ester produced from vegetable oil sterols from soybean sources;

Soya can be found in tofu or beancurd, soya flour and textured soya protein, some ice creams, yogurts, sauces, desserts, meat products, vegetarian products, ready made meals, margarines, lecithin.

Mustard and products thereof – Including liquid mustard, mustard powder and mustard seeds, in salad dressings, marinades, soups, sauces, curries, meat products.

Lupin and products thereof – lupin seeds and flour found in some types of bread and pastries.

Eggs and products thereof – found in cakes, mousses, sauces, pasta, quiche, some meat products, mayonnaise, foods brushed with egg.

Fish and products thereof,
except:
a)fish gelatine used as a carrier for vitamin or carotenoid preparations;
b) fish gelatine or isinglass used as fining agent in beer and wine

– found in some salad dressings, pizzas, relishes, fish sauce and some soy and Worcestershire sauces.

Crustaceans and products thereof
– shrimps, prawns, , scampi, crab, shrimp paste, crayfish, lobster

Cereals containing gluten, namely: wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, Kamut,or their hybridised strains, and products thereof,
except
a) wheat based glucose syrups including dextrose
b) wheat based maltodextrins
c) glucose syrup based on barley
d) cereals used for making alcohol distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
– found in cereals such as wheat, rye and barley and foods containing flour, such as bread, pasta, cakes, pastry, meat products, sauces, soups, batter, stock cubes, breadcrumbs, food dusted with flour. Most oats are also contaminated with gluten containing cereals in the milling process.

Sesame seeds and products thereof
 – found in bread, breadsticks, tahini, houmous, sesame oil.

Celery and products thereof
 – including celery stalks, leaves and seeds and celeriac, in salads, soups, celery salt, some meat products.

Sulphur dioxide and sulphites at concentrations of more than 10mg/kg or 10mg/litre in terms of the total SO2 which are to be calculated for products as proposed ready for consumption or as reconstituted according to the instructions of the manufacturers
– found in meat products, fruit juice drinks, dried fruit and vegetables, wine, beer.

Milk and products thereof
except
a) whey used for making alcoholic distillates including ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
b) lactitol

 – including milk products. Cream, butter, cheese, yogurt. Found in many ready made foods.

Molluscs and products thereof – abalone, clams, mussels, octopus, oysters, squid and scallops.

Also if you are still using one or more of six food colourings being voluntarily phased out, you must include a warning on products. In addition to the standard required information,

labels must also have a warning using the following wording: ‘the name or E number of the colour(s)’ may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’. The colours are:

  • sunset yellow (E 110)
  • quinoline yellow (E 104)
  • carmoisine (E 122)
  • allura red (E 129)
  • tartrazine (E 102)
  • ponceau 4R (E 124)

From January 2012 food producers cannot label their food as gluten free unless it has been tested for the gluten levels. It now has to be labelled with – No gluten containing ingredients. See this link for further information:

www.icedgembakes.co.uk/special-diet-blog/hints-and-tips/new-gluten-free-food-labelling-for-caterers

Take a look at the list below for a one-stop guide to popular sugarcraft products and their allergens. If you want to add any brands I’ve missed or let me know of any changes, please do get in touch.

Product ingredients and their derivatives can change from batch to batch so always check the label. 

Key:
v = vegan / does not include any animal ingredients including eggs, dairy, gelatine or honey.
df = dairy / lactose free
nf = nut free
gf = gluten free
ef = egg free

Sugarpaste / Rolled Fondant

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Renshaws sready to roll icing Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Made in a factory that handles nuts glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Dr Oetker Regal-Ice Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free May contain nuts  Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Pettinice vegetarian Gluten Free Contains dairy Egg Free Nut Free  Egg and gluten in the same factory
Covapaste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Silverspoon Ready To Roll Icing Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free may contain traces of egg May contain traces of nuts Glucose derives from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
M & B Sugarpaste Vegan Gluten free Dairy free Egg free Nut free Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Satinice vegetarian Gluten free Dairy free contains egg Nut free  completely free of wheat and corn products

 

Marzipan – Almond paste

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Odense Vegan Contains gluten Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts
Ingram Brothers vegetarian Contains gluten Contains dairy Egg free Contains nuts
Dr Oetker Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Silverspoon Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Sainsburys Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Waitrose Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Asda Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten
Tesco Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Contains nuts Glucose from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten

 

Flower paste (gum paste)

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen
Flower paste
vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Sugar City Platinum Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free
Sugar City Diamond Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free

 

Mexican / modelling paste

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Mexican Paste vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen Instant Mix Mexican Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen Sugar Dough Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen Pastillage Vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut  Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Sugar City Mexican Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Nut free
Sugar City Modelling Paste Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg free Nut free

 

Fondant/ Poured Fondant

Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Fondant Icing Mix Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free  Egg Free  May contain traces of nut
Tate & Lyle Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free
Silver Spoon Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain egg Nut Free
Almondart block fondant Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free egg free Nut Free

 

 

Chocolate Paste

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen dark chocolate Cocoform vegetarian Gluten Free May contain traces of milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen milk chocolate Cocoform vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen white, green and red chocolate Cocoforms vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Squires Kitchen flavoured cocoforms (English mint, Brazillian orange, cappuccino and strawberry) Vegetarian except strawberry Gluten Free Contains milk May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Contains soya, glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Regalice luxury white chocolate Sugarpaste vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk Egg free May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Regalice luxury chocolate Sugarpaste vegetarian Gluten Free Contains milk Egg free May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Tracey Mann dark chocolate paste vegetarian Gluten Free May contain traces of milk Egg free May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten

 

Dried egg white

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen pure albumin vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut
Dr Oetker egg white powder vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg Nut free
Meri-White vegetarian Contains gluten from wheat made in a factory that handles dairy Contains egg Contains wheat

 

Royal Icing Mix

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg May contain traces of nut
Tate & Lyle vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Contains egg Nut free

 

Supermarkets now stock Dr Oetker writing icing which does not contain any of the allergens and is handy for piping a simple message or decoration. Always check the label as ingredients change all the time. Alternatively, use watered down sugarpaste, which works well piped from a piping tube. Water down with pre-boiled water to prevent bacterial growth.

Food colouring

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen Powder colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut
Squires Kitchen paste colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Sugarflair powder colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free Egg Free Nut free
Sugarflair paste colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free Egg Free Nut free
Sugarflair liquid colours Vegan Gluten Free Dairy free Egg Free Nut free
Orchard cake tools powder colour vegetarian Gluten Free Contains dairy Egg Free  contains lactose and cornflour

 

Glucose Syrup

Vegan / vegetarian Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Other info
Squires Kitchen glucose syrup Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free May contain traces of egg May contain traces of nut Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Dr Oetker’s glucose syrup Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free  Glucose derives from wheat but does not contain gluten
Silver Spoon’s glucose syrup Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Egg Free Nut Free Glucose made from wheat or corn but does not contain gluten

Dairy Free Advent Calendar – Vegan Store

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

If you are on the look out for a dairy free chocolate advent calendar and other Christmas chocolate then you should really visit this website if you haven’t already.

www.veganstore.co.uk

This is a brilliant website stocking vegan groceries, toiletries and clothing but the page which really excites me is Chocolate and Sweets!

Not only can you buy a whole range of dairy free chocolate, you will also find vegan jelly sweets, dairy free fudge, vegan marshmallows and loads more.

Vanilla Rice Dream

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

A short review!

I received a carton of Vanilla Rice Dream to try last week. I have used rice milk before but it’s always nice to receive something for free!

I do find rice milk too thin in consistency for cooking but the Vanilla Rice Dream is refreshing as a drink. I keep a few small cartons of the milkshakes to take on picnics.

My mother in law makes a lovely cup of coffee using half a cup of hot Vanilla Rice Dream and half a cup of hot water.

The Rice Dream website gives lots of information about their products and general advice about allergies and intolerances. It also contains lots of dairy free recipes. http://www.ricedream.co.uk/

Silver Spoon Designer Icing – review

Friday, August 26th, 2011

I had been wondering if Silver Spoon Designer Icing was any good to use as an alternative for royal icing when decorating an egg free or vegan cake.

My sister in law bought a tube to decorate some cupcakes so we both gave it a try.

The icing comes in a 120g tube with three piping nozzles – small round writing nozzle, star and ribbon. It is available in white, pink, blue, chocolate flavour, red, green, yellow and black. The red is not suitable for vegetarians. It is labelled as ‘May contain wheat and gluten’.

The writing nozzle was quite easy to squeeze from the tube but I couldn’t pipe a neat message with it because of the bulkiness of the tube. Once piped, the icing did spread a little too.

The ribbon and star nozzles were quite hard to pipe with. I had to really squeeze the tube with both hands which made them ache very quickly. As the tube emptied, the harder it was to pipe.

I think this product is convenient to use when decorating cakes with children but I wouldn’t use it to decorate a cake for a customer.

A better idea would be to pipe with watered down sugarpaste –

 Mix 20g coloured sugarpaste with 1ml cold water.
Use a small palette knife to paddle the sugarpaste on a plate to remove any lumps.
Make a paper piping bag. You can fit a piping nozzle in the bottom, fill the piping bag with the watered down sugarpaste, fold over the top of the bag and use to pipe.
This can be used for fine piping such as wording or patterned piping such as shells or scrolls. It is slightly stretchy so practise before piping onto a cake or biscuit.

The best dairy free chocolate for baking and cake decorating.

Friday, August 5th, 2011

It is becoming a lot easier to find dairy free dark, milk and white chocolate in the shops. Supermarkets will now stock at least one dairy free Easter egg and you can even buy a dairy free milk chocolate advent calendar made by Moo Free Chocolates.

But do they taste nice and can they be used successfully in cakes and for decorating in the same way as usual chocolate?

Some chocolate may be labelled as Vegan but state ‘May contain traces of dairy’ as dairy products may be produced in the same factory or production line. They maybe safe for a person on a dairy free diet to eat but that is for that person to decide. As a caterer you need to be sure that the product you are using is safe for for the customer. For a one off commision you could ask the customer what they usually eat and are happy with or if you plan to make a lot of dairy free cakes, find a brand you are happy with.

Dark/Plain Chocolate

Not all dark chocolate is dairy free. Many brands are labelled with ‘May contain dairy’ and some brands add dairy so it is cheaper to produce. So as ever always check the label.

For baking I think it is best to use a chocolate with about 55 – 60% cocoa solids. A chocolate with a high cocoa content can make a cake quite dry or a ganache too firm.

If you only need a small amount, Kinnertons produce a luxury dark chocolate bar which is suitable for dairy free, gluten free, egg free and nut free diets. It contains 55% cocoa solids and can be found in most supermarkets as an 85g bar.

If you need a large amount of dairy free dark chocolate, Plamil produce a range of dairy free chocolate which is also gluten free and nut free and it is available in 1kg bags and 6kg bags from their website www.plamilfoods.co.uk

 They produce a chocolate with 60% cocoa solids which is perfect in baking and for making dairy free chocolate ganache. I also recommend their dairy free chocolate chips which is available in 200g tubs from whole food stores or in bulk from http://www.plamilfoods.co.uk/catering

Dairy Free ‘Milk’ Chocolate

Plamil produce a nice dairy free ‘milk’ chocolate. it can be found as a 100g bar in whole food shops or in bulk from their website.

Organica produce a 100g bar which can also be found in whole food shops. This has a nice flavour but is labelled as vegan and may contain traces of dairy and nuts.

My favourite dairy free milk chocolate is Humdinger dairy free milk chocolate buttons available from most supermarkets. I think this tastes and melts in the mouth the closest to dairy milk chocolate. You can use it to make chocolate cigerellos and moulded chocolates.  The only trouble is it is only available in 25 gram bags. This chocolate does contain soya.

Dairy Free ‘White’ Chocolate

Some dairy free white chocolate is quite different to usual white chocolate and doesn’t work in the same way in recipes.

Plamil produce a dairy free white chocolate which can be bought in bulk from their website. It can vary in colour from a creamy colour to light brown.

Organica produce a 100g bar which is available from whole food shops. It is off white in colour with flecks of vanilla in it.

If you want a dairy free white chocolate that tastes similar to dairy white chocolate then the best to use is Humdinger dairy free white chocolate buttons available from most supermarkets. Again it is only available in 25g bags and contains soya. This is the only white chocolate which will work well for dairy free chocolate ganache.

Quick Dairy Free Chocolates For Mother’s Day

Friday, March 25th, 2011

My two year old and I decided to play in the kitchen today so we made some dairy free chocolates for nanny. These are quick enough to make to hold a toddlers attention!

First we made dairy free white chocolate pennies. We topped half with Hundreds and thousands and half with dairy free plain chocolate chips.

We then made dairy free white chocolate cornflake bites.

To make 14 chocolate pennies

100g dairy free white chocolate
Dr Oetker Hundreds and Thousands (these are not gluten free)
Plamil dairy free chocolate chips

Place a piece of baking parchment onto a baking tray.

Break up the white chocolate into a bowl. Melt on a low heat in a microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.

Place teaspoon full amounts onto the baking tray. Using the back of the spoon, shape into flat discs.

Sprinkle Hundreds and thousands over the top of half the discs until completely covered. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the other half.

Leave to set before tipping the tray to let the excess topping roll off.

12 white chocolate cornflake bites

65g dairy free white chocolate
25g cornflakes (can use gluten free cornflakes)
30g dried cranberries

Place a piece of baking parchment onto a baking tray.

Break up the white chocolate into a bowl. Melt on a low heat in a microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.

Crush the cornflakes into smaller flakes – not too small. Stir into the chocolate, then stir in the dried cranberries.

Use a teaspoon to place small amounts onto the baking tray. Leave to set.

Put the chocolates into little cellophane bags tied with ribbon. We are going to buy a nice tin for our chocolates.