Have Your Cake and EAT IT TOO! Allergen-Free Desserts Everyone Can Enjoy
Raw Cacao Coconut TrufflesHaving an allergy or intolerance doesn't mean you can't still enjoy the finer things in life such as delectable chocolate truffles! Cacao is known as "Food of the Gods" by the Aztecs. It is high in fiber, protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, calcium, sulper and magnesium. Coconut, which is actually a fruit and therefore not considered an allergen, has been found to be immune booster, antifungal, antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial remedy. Combining the two super foods with ground flax meal gives a delectable and nutritious "Bounty" type dessert!
Chewy Ginger CookiesThese soft ginger cookies can be enjoyed year round, and eaten as a breakfast cookie as they are completely allergen-free, high in fiber and protein and low-glycemic. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties which alleviate cramps, nausea, sinuses, as well as joint and muscle pains. Try Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix, available at grocers and health food stores or online at http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free/
Crispy Sweet Citrus PolentaPolenta is a staple in regions of northern Italy, particularly popular around Venice. I've put a sweet-spin on polenta to be used as a light post-dinner dessert! Cornmeal is a good source of niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate and vitamins B-6, E and K. It contains 18 amino acids and valuable minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
Lemon Cranberry BiscottiBiscotti in Italian means "twice baked" as they are first baked as a loaf before slicing into cookies and baking again. Typically eaten with an espresso, cappuccino or tea, they also make a great all-day snack! Meyer lemons are used in this recipe as they are sweeter than typical lemons and similar to those found in southern Italy. Cranberries are packed with vitamin C and contain powerful antioxidants which fight UTIs.
Banana "Sushi" with Coconut SauceSometimes I think I was East Asian in my past life for my love of Coconut! This easy to make dessert resembles sushi and is best made a day ahead. Bananas are high in fiber and potassium-a mineral found to prevent prostate cancer and heart disease. Choose bananas that are firm, but ripe.
Apple Cinnamon LoafA perfect treat for a cold winter day, the roasted tart apples add a rounded caramel flavour. Cinnamon is said to have many healing properties, such as lowering cholesterol and blood sugar, and is also known to be an aphrodisiac for men! The smell of cinnamon is heart-warming to all.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal CookiesA sure hit with kids, these cookies can be individually frozen after baked, and thawed overnight, or you can freeze the dough up to 3 months for convenience. A nutritious after-school snack, chocolate and oats both contain a high source of fiber and will satisfy until dinner time!
Strawberry Rhubarb CobblerA perfect summer dessert when both strawberries and rhubarb are in season, this sweet and sour cobbler is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Both strawberries and rhubarb are packed with antioxidant vitamin C and dietary fiber. Rhubarb is also an excellent source of calcium and vitamin K, necessary for blood clotting and and increased bone density.
Mom's Best Blueberry PancakesBlueberries are native to North America and rank high on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale, which measures antioxidant capacity. Low glycemic blueberries also contain a high level of anthocyanins, which aid in improved memory function. Choose wild blueberries over cultivated ones for increased nutritional properties.
Breakfast Oatmeal BarsStart the day off right with these high-protein, high-fiber oatmeal bars containing omega-3s. Quinoa is known to be a superfood rich in protein, with a high source of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. Buckwheat, unlike it's name suggests is actually a wheat-free seed of a broadleaf plant related to rhubarb. It's unique protein characteristics enhance it's ability to reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels following meals—a key factor in preventing diabetes and obesity.
Chocolate TartChocolate pudding is a childhood favorite which I still enjoy. Being lactose intolerant, I had to come up with a dairy-free recipe. The nutty flavour of the gluten-free quinoa crust merries well with chocolate for a rich tart perfect for entertaining!
Date SquaresDates are rich in fiber, free of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and cholesterol. They are also high in polyphenols, a plant antioxidant that have a higher capacity of reducing oxidative stress. Choose Medjool dates which are larger and softer than standard dates, with a caramel-honey like flavour.
Thumbprint CookiesAn old tradition, this delectable dairy-free shortbread topped with jam melts in your mouth. Earth Balance makes a soy-free butter flavoured spread, available at most grocers. Any flavoured jam can be used, but my favorites are Michael's Dolce's Ginger Marmalade, Peaches &Cream and Raspberry & Orange.
Flourless Red Bean BrowniesA favorite amongst all kids, brownies were one of the first chocolate desserts invented. Red beans in this recipe give moisture to the brownies and replace the typical flours. They also contain a high source of protein and fiber, and have one of the highest antioxidant ratings of all foods!
Best Banana BreadA variation to my infamous banana bread, past on from my aunt who died several years ago, this anytime dessert is moist and fragrant with aged vanilla. Just keep vanilla extract in an amber bottle and like wine, it gets better with age!
Chewy Chocolate CupcakesThis was the first allergen-free recipe I tried and after many attempts perfected! A cross between a cupcake and a brownie, these fudgy can be made for special occasions decorated with Coconut Frosting (recipe found under Vanilla Bean Cupcakes). Coffee intensifies the chocolate flavour and helps binds the mixture.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Coconut FrostingVanilla is the most favorited flavour, as it is thought to remind us of our mother's milk! Vanilla is widely used for aroma as well as flavour, and the seeds in these cupcakes add the visual appearance. Choose beans that are still moist and easy to extract the seeds from. Coconut frosting is easily coloured with Wilton paste colours for decorative birthday or special occasion treats.
Coconut MacaroonsTypically made with egg whites, these macaroons are egg-free with the addition of vanilla cake crumbs! The crumb base is made from leftover Vanilla Bean Cupcakes (provided there are any!) and can also be used to make cake pops with addition of other flavours or spices.
Lemon Poppyseed Coffee CakeMeyer lemons are best used for this cake as they are sweeter than typical lemons. They are a high source of vitamin C and help cleanse the liver of toxins. Apple cider vinegar is used to thicken the rice or coconut milk as in buttermilk. Choose a brand that is is unfiltered and unpasteurized. Poppy seeds not only add a visual appearance, but are also rich in calcium and linoleic acid, a good source of omega-6.
Individual Chocolate Lava CakesAlso known as molten chocolate cakes, these rich chocolate cakes have a gooey center and can be prepared ahead of time and baked just before serving! Applesauce gives this dessert an incredibly moist texture, and provides a good source of fiber and vitamin C. Apples are also found to help prevent lung and breast cancer. You can use home-made applesauce using organic apples or store bought organic applesauce.
I grew up in an Italian household where food is life! My dad was a chef in Italy, but didn't like the restaurant life when he moved to Canada. However, at home he still believes in home-made from scratch cooking and taught my mom how to cook as well. Watching them both in the kitchen, I developed a passion for food at an early age but I was more of a glutton for sweets! I made my own birthday cake at 13 years old, sold my first tiramisu at 18 years old to my hairdresser and later took courses in cake design to make my own wedding cake!
When I was a child, I use to bring a peanut butter or Nutella sandwich to school almost everyday. Now my children can't even bring homemade cookies to school with the rise in anaphylactic food allergies, especially from peanuts and tree nuts. People nowadays are more careful with their food choices, not only for allergies or intolerances, but also in their sugar, fiber, and cholesterol intake. This has lead to my journey of creating healthy, baked goods free from all of the top allergens which include wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, sulphites, sesame and shellfish. Many of the recipes are also sugar-free, trans-fat free, cholesterol-free, high protein and high fiber. Now you CAN have your cake, and best of all, eat it too!
Glossary of ingredients:
Agave nectar- a low-glycemic sweetner from the cactus plant, also used to make Tequila. Replaces granulated sugar by 3/4
Source: Wholesome Sweetners http://www.wholesomesweeteners.com
Apple cider vinegar- used to thicken milk to replace buttermilk. Choose one that is unfiltered and unpasteurized
Source: Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar http://www.bragg.com/
Applesauce- replaces eggs in recipes when xanthan gum is also used to thicken. Can make homemade appplesauce or use unsweetened commercial organic applesauce
Source: Leahy Orchards Applesnax http://www.applesnax.com
Chocolate Chips-most chocolate chips contain soy-lecithin as an emulsifier. The trusted brand which omits soy-lecithin is Enjoy Life
Coconut Oil- replaces butter or other oils. Aim for Organic cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil
Source: CocoVie Naturals http://cocovienaturals.com/
Coconut Sugar- replaces granulated sugar and is not refined
Source: CocoVie Naturals http://cocovienaturals.com/
Egg Replacer: made with starches and other thickening ingredients used to replace eggs
Source: Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com
Gluten-Free All Purpose Mix- a combination of garbanzo (chickpea) flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, and fava bean flour
Source: Bob's Red Mill http://www.bobsredmill.com/
Gluten-Free Oats- Oats are a good source of a source of the B-complex vitamins - thiamin, niacin and riboflavin, as well as iron, protein and fiber. Choose a brand that is certified GF
Source: Cream Hill Estate's Lara's Rolled Oats http://www.creamhillestates.com
Jam/Marmalade- used in Thumbprint cookies. Choose a brand that doesn't use any pectin or preservatives
Source: Michael's Dolce http://www.michaelsdolce.com/
Raw Cacao Powder: A source of magnesium, iron, polyphenols, antioxidants, theobromine and omega fatty acids. Choose Organic, non-GMO cacao powder for optimal benefits
Source: Nativa's Natural http://navitasnaturals.com/
Xanthan gum- a carbohydrated used in conjuntion with applesauce to replace eggs as a binder and thickener
Source: Bob's Red Mill http://www.bobsredmill.com/