I know what a creative name right?

It was said by someone here that you can not bake with nut based cream cheese. And up til that point all the various recipes I’d used for nu based cream cheese while baking had failed. they added wonderful moisture but ended up with a flat or barely risen product. Sometimes it wouldn’t hold together. some times my end result was flat and kind of grainy.  But I was not to be defeated. This recipe for nut based sour cream led me back to my “test” kitchen to try more variations on cream cheese and voila you have the fruits of my labor.

But you ask why did the previous nut based cream cheeses work? Why is this one different and most importantly does it work every time? will it work for me?

Why it failed. In any given recipe, when making a substitution you must understand the purpose the offending allergen serves, what properties it has, and what alternate best replaces them. The components of cream cheese are Protein.

In any baking recipe Protein provides structure. The structure allows it to hold its shape. it also allows for a lighter texture as the baked good now has the structure necessary to hold up to rising.

Cream cheese has sodium. Sodium is a requirement for leavening. Many years ago I was very anti-salt. I didn’t have it nor any seasonings contains salt in my home. But my pancakes fluffiness was always hit or miss. Then someone took the time to explain how important the 1/8 tsp salt in my pancakes was. The salt has a place in my home ever since and my baked goods (almost) always rise to the occasion.

And cream cheese hat fat a much higher fat content the just milk or cream. Fat is an emulsifier and a method of suspension. It evenly spreads and suspends the ingredients within a batter, when beaten it becomes light and fluffy add flour and it helps the thickening process. Fats can act as a barrier creating the layers required in puff pastry or these biscuits. And it can be a flavorful topping or dip. Fat and the proper amount and ratios of the correct type of fate are important.

Moisture. Cream cheese will add to the moisture content of your recipe. It is a wet ingredient. too much moisture and you baked time never dries out, it has a wet doughy center, not enough and it becomes dry crumbly and just won’t hold together.

In order to use a replacement cream cheese it has to have all of the above and be rather simple to make. If it is hard I am not doing it. I have enough hard stuff to do just being a mom. All of the other nut based recipe’s I’d tried were lacking one or more of the above in the correct ratio.

Now that that’s out of the way….on to cream “Cheese”.

I have only tested this with almonds and pecans, however, it should also work quite well with cashews.

I made my own almond meal by placing the almonds in the blender and grinding them up into a meal or powder. I have also made this using Trader Joe’s brand almond meal. They are interchangeable and premade meal save you a step.

Ingredients

1 c Almond meal

1/2 c cartoned unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 c neutral flavored oil I use canola or regular olive oil (extra virgin has much to strong a flavor)

1/4 scant tsp xanthum gum

1/8 tsp salt

If you don’t have an awesome high-powered blender ( I don’t) you made need to do this half a batch at a time.

Pour the coconut milk in the blender. Turn the blender on at medium high and add the almond meal. Add salt. Once thoroughly blended SLOWLY pour in the oil through the top of the blender. The mixture will begin to emulsify. Once all oil has been added, introduce the xantham gum. Continue blending for about 30 sec-1 min longer.  Stop blender and let mixture rest.

At this point you can use the mix immediately or refrigerate.

This blend works in every recipe I have tried and once refrigerated tastes yummy on a gluten-free bagel.

more baking science

http://www.theelevatedkitchen.com/guides/science-proteins

http://baking911.com/learn/ingredients/fats

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