Many years ago, before we even had a child named Lucia, we decided it would be fun to celebrate the Bettinelli family’s Sicilian heritage by celebrating one of Sicily’s favorite saints, Santa Lucia. I borrowed an easy sweet bread recipe from my friend Karen Edmisten and it became a big hit for our family.
Now we have our own Lucia, she’s almost three and loves to join in the feasting, but sadly she’s got several allergies which make it hard to adapt our usual recipes. Fortunately, I’ve got baking friends who also have sensitive families and who are willing to share recipes. Much thanks to Katherine of Evlogia (She’s back!!!!) and Ruth of Seasonally Vegan whose recipes I freely cribbed from. Of course I tweaked it. I almost never make anything without tweaking, but without a reliable base recipe I’d have been sunk before I started.
I’m really pleased with how my buns came out. They taste a bit like sweet pretzels with a faint almondy sort of flavor.
Note for next time: I think they’d be good with some added orange zest and a dash of cinnamon.
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup soy milk
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour*
1 teaspoon guar gum (omit if using a blend that already includes xanthan or guar gum)
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer powder
Heat coconut oil and soy milk over low heat until oil is liquid. Crumble saffron threads and add them. Remove from heat and cool to 110-130.
In a large mixing bowl put 1/2 cup of milk mixture with sugar and yeast. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes until foamy (or skip the wait if using instant yeast.) Add the rest of the milk, salt. Add egg replacer. Slowly add flour until it forms a fairly stiff dough, slightly sticky but holding together.
Cover and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes (or more).
Divide dough into 8-10 pieces, roll each piece into a rope and then curl ends into S shape. Brush with oil, sprinkle with sugar.
Preheat oven to 400.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly brown.
*I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 gluten free flour mix so omitted the extra xanthan gum/guar gum. Katherine’s recipe has directions for a homemade gluten free flour mix.