I’m so bad at writing about what I’ve been doing!
My flatmate’s still on an exclusion diet and I’ve been baking and so on a bit less, because a) I don’t want to eat entire cakes to myself, b) it seems a bit cruel and unusual to be all ‘Hi! Here’s a delicious cake THAT YOU CAN’T EAT’, c) I’m really wary of getting the reputation of The One Who Bakes at work, where people start expecting you to take stuff in and so on, or make stuff for people’s birthdays and d) when I have tried to make everything-free stuff it hasn’t gone so well.
I really like making pikelets (they’re like crumpets, but a lot thinner and a bit less regular shape because you just pour them into the pan, not into a crumpet ring). Sorry to explain – I always thought they were common knowledge, but the amount of times I’ve had the ‘What’s a pikelet?’ conversation, apparently not. Anyway. I tried to make some with gluten-free flour and rice milk instead of regular flour and regular milk. They were … not a success. As the flatmate said, they were like jellyfish. Which is all rather disheartening.
So I thought, fine. Less baking, more … combining, I guess? Nothing that relies on gluten or milk or eggs or ground almonds for binding, and while I know you can do marvellous things with coconut and dates and all sorts of clever tricks, I wasn’t feeling up to it. So I reverted to childhood and made rice krispie cakes, except a wee bit more sophisticated. (Only a wee bit.)
175g plain chocolate (I used a Waitrose one because it uses sunflower lecithin, not soy, but that’s by the by)
30g vegetable fat (Trex, in my case)
Around 30ml golden syrup
100g rice puffs (I used Kallo, because they’re just plain rice)
35g salted popcorn (I used Tyrrel’s, for the same reason: corn, salt, nothing else)
80g dried mixed cherries and berries.
1. I melted the chocolate in a mixing bowl over a pan of water. This was the large bowl I was doing all the combining in, because transferring melted chocolate isn’t always easy, and you lose a lot in the process.
2, Once the chocolate was melted, I added the vegetable fat and syrup and mixed until it was thoroughly melted and combined – it makes the chocolate a bit slacker and easier to work with. I added a splash of vanilla and a good pinch of flaky sea salt.
3. Then I just threw all the rest of the ingredients in. It’s better to do it bit by bit, as it helps ensure you get everything coated. Just keep scraping the sides and lifting the mixture from the bottom to the top and you’ll get it all coated in the end.
4. I transferred it to a baking tray lined with baking parchment, flattened it with the back of the spoon, drizzled over a little more melted chocolate and left it to set.
They were a little bit crumbly when cutting. I think a bit more syrup and/or a slightly smaller amount of dry ingredients would work to make them bind better. Taste-wise, the saltiness of the popcorn combines really nicely with the sweetness of the berries and cuts through the richness of the chocolate, but if you’ve got a stronger sweet tooth than me, you could always leave out the sea salt.
Not the most exciting, perhaps, but for something that’s gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free and egg-free, I think they’re pretty neat. (They’re also free of fish, because obviously, because ew.)