Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's for Lunch Wednesday - Dessert!

Okay, so dessert doesn't fall under the heading of "healthy eating" or even "lunch" (at least for most people most of the time), but I recently found a cookbook that is so good, I'd be doing you a real disservice if I didn't spread the word.

My daughter has multiple food sensitivities and allergies, including Celiac Disease (gluten intolerance), egg anyphlaxis, and a sensitivity to dairy and citrus. This makes feeding her on a day-to-day basis a challenge, but it makes finding treats for her downright impossible. Until now.

Erin McKenna of Babycakes NYC recently published a cookbook called babycakes: Vegan, Gluten-Free and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery. Vegan? Gluten-Free? SUGAR-FREE? Too good to be true, right?

Wrong! There are not a lot of recipes in this book, and the recipes that she included are very basic and simple, but they are phenomenal. They're not just good for vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free recipes, they're really good. In other words, it's not that they're edible in the absence of any other option - you'd want to eat them even if you had the choice between one of her cupcakes and a "normal" one.

As a disclaimer, the recipes are not all gluten-free. Some of them contain spelt flour, which is a type of wheat. However, there are not too many recipes containing that ingredient, so if you can't eat gluten there's still plenty to choose from. Most of the recipes call for garbanzo-fava (aka garfava) flour or Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Mix, though some of them include coconut flour which I haven't found too easy to come by. Some recipes use sugar, but most use agave or fruit as a sweetener as well as a moistener (usually the recipes call for applesauce, but you can often substitute mashed banana with good results). I've successfully substituted honey in many of the recipes as well, though it does make the end-products non-vegan and a bit more dense in my opinion.

As far as allergy-free food goes, these recipes are simple to follow and as fool proof as I've ever found, since this type of baking often calls for hawk-like attention to doneness, or an alchemist's skill at substitutions, or a private investigator's help to track down ingredients (and borrowing from your 401K to afford them!). If you're in need of some allergy-free baking ideas, this is the book for you!

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