Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday prep.: The Gingerbread house

I've been working hard on getting ready for Christmas. It's going to be quite the adventure making a 'traditional' Christmas that I can participate in, especially giving my food limitations.

Foods to be excluded include soy, sugar (from the cane plant), all dairy products (save from goat), peanuts processed grains, barley, and eggs. Foods to be limited included yeast, garlic, sesame, tomatoes, and potatoes. I tell you, this is one heck of a challenge. I was tempted to simply let everyone else have bought treats, but it's so depressing to watch everyone eat foods that I use to love. It reminds me of how ill I am and that's the last thing I want to think about at Christmas.

So, I've been baking gingerbread. I took the ginger snap recipe from Vegan a Go Go and modified it to become a ginger bread that I can eat. It's really yummy and if I roll it out extra thin then I can cut it into shapes that will be hung on the tree.

Of course this is just a practice run to see if it can be done. What I really want to do is to make a gingerbread house that Peggy Sue (my on line name for her) and I can decorate together a few days before Christmas. Which leads to the next challenge: How do I make icing that does not have any sugar in it? I've seen lots of recipes for sugar free frosting but all of them so far have other forbidden foods like Splenda (made from sugar) or sugar free pudding mix (made with soy). I've seen one recipe that might be acceptable at Nook & Pantry that uses only cream cheese and maple syrup; however, I don't know how sutible it would be for a gingerbread house. I can make the cheese from goats milk, but would it hold up the house? Would it go bad quickly? Would I have to keep it in the fridge and if I did, would the gingerbread go soggy?

As I understand it, sugar does three things for icing - it makes it taste sweet, it helps to harden the icing and it helps to preserve the icing so that it lasts longer. How do I get these three qualities without using the one ingredient that is so good at producing them? Any thoughts?


Natalie said...

In my experience gingerbread houses are for decorating and nibbling on once they're done being decorative, not so much consuming completely. Why not just make sugar icing at least to stick the pieces together, and then not eat those parts? You could then use other non-sugar solutions to do the actual decorating.
Your question is a more interesting challenge, but in case that makes your life a bit easier. :)

Josiane said...

One of the things that gives icing sugar its properties is the fact that it contains cornstarch. So, if it's only the cane sugar that poses problem, you can make icing sugar by taking sugar from other sources (maple sugar, beet sugar) and turning it into powder in a blender or food processor, then adding some starch (corn or other) to it. But then, I realise that starch may be off limits too, as it probably fits in the "processed grains" category. Maybe arrowroot powder would be fine? In any case, I hope this may have given you ideas of things to try. Good luck!

raven said...

Starch should be all right. That's good to know.

Fran said...

I’m lactose intolerant and have always dreaded the holidays, as all the food seems to be loaded with dairy. After a recommendation of one of my friends, I found this nutrition coach named Rose Cole who has a holiday cookbook and has tons of dairy free recipes. Her site is www.RoseCole.com/HolidayCookbook