When I first learned of my son's peanut allergy, the first thing I did was go to the library and take out Cybele Pascal's The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook. I had visions of peanut traces being everywhere and was worried about most foods--other than fruits and vegetables--sold at the supermarket. I renewed the book several times and afterward I felt much more confident about cooking for his peanut allergy--I'd just make most food from scratch. No more processed food for us.
Now, Cybele has a lovely new book, entitled The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook. Baked goods are among the more risky types of food to buy for those living with food allergies. There are so many chances for cross-contamination--eggs, milk, wheat, nuts are present in most bakeries. While there are wonderful food allergy friendly bakeries springing up around the country, they're often not as convenient to get to as the local supermarket. So, life with food allergies encourages many of us to learn to bake, and bake in creative new ways.
I haven't even had an opportunity to try the recipes yet but I can't wait. First, the photos in the book are gorgeous! They make you want to reach into the book and take a bite. Then, I notice that all of the recipes are broken into easy to follow steps. I like this aspect. Most recipes only have 7 or 8 steps--I can do that! It makes baking seem much less daunting. In the past, I've looked at some baking recipes and upon seeing a recipe that's too involved, have opted for something simpler or decided to just skip it all together. That will not happen with this cookbook. Another handy feature is the chapter entitled "Stocking Your Allergen-Free Pantry". This is a fantastic chapter, especially for those new to life with food allergies. All of the hard work and research has already been done for you! The range of recipes is great as well. I think this one book will take care of all allergen-free baking needs for the average person--you won't need another baking book. It's well-written, actually fun to read, mouthwatering, and easy to follow. Check it out!
A great allergy friendly Valentine's Day present this year would be a recipe from The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook. I'm a cookie gal, so I'm thinking the Linzer Hearts on pages 73-74 would be a perfect place to begin!