My First Sugar Free Christmas – Butterhorns Edition

December 17, 2015

As readers will know, I had to give up refined sugar this year. After the initial cupboard-purge, it’s been easier than I thought it would be. But now it’s Christmas. And part of the fun of Christmas is food – cookies, candy, chocolate… all of which contain sugar.

I decided to start this year’s baking with the biggest challenge – butterhorns. They’re sort of like Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, except made from scratch from a recipe passed down from my German great-grandma (goodness only knows how long it had been in her family!). Butterhorns have already been a big challenge, because making gluten free bread, without eggs or, well, butter, is not an easy task. Add to that the challenge of getting the yeast to rise without the sugar it feeds on? Well. There was only one thing to do. Run an experiment. 😀

Because when you take the scientist out of the lab, she uses the kitchen.

Because when you take the scientist out of the lab, she uses the kitchen.

Honey and agave gave the best results, although I think the coconut sugar might have tied if the water had been warm enough to fully dissolve it. Those yeast were working at a bit of a disadvantage. So were the yeast in xylitol and stevia, but it was pretty obvious that my yeast did not care for those options.

I decided to go with honey because it’s got a relatively neutral flavour (compared to coconut sugar), and it’s cheaper than agave. Here’s the full, allergen-free recipe for my Christmas Honey-Butter Horns. Results were favourable. Butterhorns are Tech Support’s favourite holiday treat, and he devoured three while my back was turned!

Mmmm.... fluffy....

Mmmm…. fluffy….

Honey-Butter Horns (double batch)


2 Tbsp yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tsp honey

1/2 cup butter-flavoured dairy free tub margarine (I use Crystal)
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp salt
2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 4 Tbsp water
1 cup warm rice milk
2 Tbsp xanthan gum
3 tsp gelatin
1 tsp cider vinegar

7+ cups gluten free bread flour mix

  • In a 4 cup liquid measure, dissolve 2 tsp honey in 1 cup warm water. Add yeast and allow to rise 10-15 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except for flour. Add risen yeast and mix.
  • Stir in flour until the dough clings to itself and is springy but dry to the touch. It seems to re-moisten during rising, so make it a bit dryer than you think it should be.
  • Cover bowl with a tea towel. Place in a warm location and let rise until doubled.
  • Flour a counter top or board. Take about 1/4 of the dough and roll out into a round shape, between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.
  • Spread a thin layer of margarine over the dough, leaving a dry ring around the outer edge.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut dough into wedge shapes (like cutting a pizza). Roll up from the wide outer edge to the point and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Cover the cookie sheets with tea towels and allow horns to rise until doubled.
  • Bake at 375F for 14-20 minutes, until the edges turn slightly brown.

These are delicious warm – I usually unroll them and spread them with more margarine. Tech Support sometimes slices them like a croissant and makes a sandwich. They also freeze well, and can be microwaved to rewarm. Enjoy!

Yum, yum, yum!

Yum, yum, yum!

Have you adapted some of your favourite holiday recipes to accommodate food allergies? Share links in the comments!

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