Adapting to Allergies: Easy Recipes for a Safe and Healthy Holiday
Million Dollar Chocolate FudgeMy Great Aunt Marcel's recipe for million dollar fudge was legendary in our family. I never became the expert at making it for the holidays and instead relied on the quick-set commercial fudge recipes. In this dairy-free version, I finally combined the purity of quick-set ingredients with the creamy texture of my aunt's rapid-boil fudge to make my own million dollar treat!
Mom's Bisquick-y Berry MuffinsWhen I was young, my mom made weekend muffins with a Bisquick premix recipe. This recipe doesn't use the pancake and baking mix, but it is just as easy and reminds me of my mom every time I make it.
Holiday Pumpkin BreadOne of my first cookbooks in college was a small recipe collection that came with some Tone's spices. My favorite of all of the book's recipes was the spiced pumpkin bread, so it was the first recipe that I converted when we became an egg- and dairy-free family. This version is just as moist and flavorful as my old favorite!
Lemon Drop CookiesMy Italian family makes lemon pizzelle, a flat-ironed waffle cookie, every year for the holidays and special occasions like weddings, but the recipe is heavy on eggs and butter. This cookie adaptation not only is dairy and egg free but also is accessible to any home cook with an oven, not just the ones with a pizzelle maker.
Mandarin MuffinsMandarin oranges are one of my kids' favorite dessert fruits. We have made this recipe in muffin tins with liners, in miniature bread pans, and in pans with seasonal shapes. The muffins are great alone or sprinkled with candy confetti or a bit of cinnamon and sugar.
Maple Brown BreadWhen I am interested in making a bread for breakfast or to accompany tea but don't have time to wait for a yeast bread to rise, I like to mix up this quick brown bread instead. The recipe grew out of kitchen science experiments with three different recipes for Irish and country inn breakfast breads. The maple syrup in this version adds some sweetness to the dense, sliceable loaf.
Cherry Berry SconesIt is hard to imagine making scones that are crumbly and moist without using dairy or eggs, but this adaptable recipe does the trick. Although it originally calls for diced cherries, any juicy fruit can work to pull together the dough well and in time for surprise visitors.
Overnight Sticky BunsAlthough my grandmother had a scratch-baking recipe for a type of monkey bread, the yeasty and sticky cinnamon roll baked in an angel food pan, I almost always made shortcut versions. This recipe is dairy and egg free, and most of the work is done while I sleep! My family especially enjoys this quick version on holiday mornings.
Pizza PocketsMy Italian family knows the difference between a pizza and a stromboli or a calzone...but most of our friends just call these folded up snacks "pizza pockets." The recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd, eating on the go, and personalizing meals, because almost anything works as a filler and no utensils are needed.
Anytime MinestroneMinestrone can mean any type of vegetable soup, but it almost always includes a tomato-based broth. In this shortcut version that I developed on a college-student budget, tomato puree combined with boxed vegetable stock and personalized seasonings provides a homemade, simmered taste without intense preparation. It's also easy to double the recipe, fill a large crock pot, and share with friends whether it is hot or cold outside.
Starlite Cut-Out CookiesAs a family that bakes everything without eggs, we spend a lot of time looking for replacement ingredients that can add some lightness and rise to our treats. But at Christmas, we start wishing for a flat, rolled-out sugar cookie that we can decorate or stack up into messy but tasty cookie trees. This recipe does the trick with some kitchen science tweaks to the flour, sugar, and leavener quantities. The starlite mints add a bit of extra spice and crunch!
Vanilla Biscotti BitesWhether large and airy like coffeehouse varieties or smaller and crunchier like traditional Italian recipes, the biscotti is the perfect cookie for dipping into coffee and tea with company or into milk and cocoa with the kids. Although this recipe starts out made with extra vanilla, it is easy to adjust the flavorings to make a perfect, personalized gift.
Soft Baked Oatmeal Sugar CookiesMy favorite recipes are those that need only a bowl and wooden spoon to mix. These oatmeal cookies are mixed with electric beaters instead, but they are lighter and creamier because of it.
Slow Cooker ApplesauceSpending the morning over a pot of warm applesauce on a fall day is my ideal, but my family likes fresh applesauce more often than I can mash it. My slow-cooker alternative is flavorful and still chunky, but it cooks while I am busy elsewhere --- the perfect solution.
Aunt Donna's Easiest Pineapple CakeMy Aunt Donna taught me a lot about baking---how to roll out a pie crust, how to make the best cake icing to eat straight from the bowl, and how to layer a filling in a bundt cake. This egg-free version of her pineapple cake has only 5 ingredients and is moist and chewy. We like to top the cooled cake with sprinkles of powdered sugar instead of the original cream cheese frosting.
7-Up Bundt CakeLightness is one of the hardest qualities to replicate in egg-free baking, but a small amount of carbonation helps pull together this coffee cake without overpowering the natural flavor. My family likes this cake with a bit of powdered sugar dusted over the slice, but it's just as good on its own or coated in a sweet glaze.
Double-Chocolate Coffee CakeUnlike most cakes, this chocolate-y version is made in a square brownie pan. The cake is extra moist because of its hidden berries and the chocolate chips that melt just under the crust. This dessert can be served warm on its own or can be cooled and iced for a rich birthday treat.
Crowd-Pleaser Apple CrispBaked apple pie, cobbler, and crumble are all wonderful, but there is nothing like a large tray of apple crisp to please a crowd in the fall. My mom's apple crisp never lasted very long, so I knew that I had to make a dairy-free option for my own family.
Key Lime BlondiesFor many years, I couldn't figure out why anyone would want a dessert that didn't include chocolate...until I met a person with a chocolate allergy and decided to use some kitchen science to make a brownie without chocolate to share. This recipe uses dry key lime pie mix instead of eggs and chocolate to bind, moisten, and flavor the dessert bars. We've found that other dry pie fillings and pudding mixes work equally well to add some variety!
Thumbprint Tea CookiesBoth my husband's and my families have traditional cookies at the holidays that reflect our ancestors' cultures and baking histories. In both the Polish and the Italian bakeries, airy fruit cookies were popular, especially at Christmas and Easter. These thumbprint cookies remind us both of the holiday dessert trays and go awfully well with tea or coffee after a big dinner.
Hot-Cold Potato SaladGrowing up near Pennsylvania, I was familiar with the traditional egg- and mayonnaise-based potato and macaroni salads around the region. As delicious as they are, my family and I prefer this recipe instead, which relies on savory seasonings and good olive oil for its strong flavor. The salad is tasty when served either hot or cold, and an added benefit is its durability for picnics and cookouts, when egg-based salads are less safe.
Coconut CupcakesWhen my daughter gets tired of fruit muffins or chocolate cupcakes, we like to make this in-between recipe, which uses some kitchen science to re-balance the sugar and oil ingredients. The result is sweeter and more celebratory than a muffin but not as sugary or crumbly as a traditional cake. To make the cupcakes even more festive, we sometimes add sugar-creamed frosting and extra coconut flakes.
Jo's Chewy Chocolate BrowniesBrownies are awfully tricky to get "just right" without eggs. Too light, and it's a cake; too dense, and it's crumby fudge. This recipe was the start of our family's kitchen science experiments, and we finally achieved a chewy and soft brownie that comes out well every time. We eat these sliced and warm, but they are even more of a treat when they are cooled and topped with icing!
Throwback TaralliGrowing up, my family often visited the local Italian deli, Jimmy's, for loaves of bread, holiday cookies, and more. Jimmy's also sold fresh taralli, a hard bagel-like snack seasoned with fennel or salt. When I had my own kids, making taralli at home was a weekly event, because the hard circles were perfect teething treats. Now, we like to make them as a snack to go with our coffee or tea.
Allergen-free foods don’t have to fall apart, taste like powder, or rely on costly special-ordered ingredients. The next time a friend or family member asks what they could make that is safe for you or your child with food restrictions, give them a copy of this cookbook! They’ll quickly realize how many possibilities still exist for baking treats to share with almost anybody.
We developed these recipes to continue sharing favorite holiday foods while keeping family members with severe food allergies healthy and safe. With ingredients straight from the typical kitchen pantry and quick-mix directions for busy families, anyone can make these recipes in time for a holiday party---or just because.