There is no question that more and more people have food issues, serious food issues. And, for reasons no one is certain about, the food allergies appear to be growing in terms of the numbers of people involved and the level of severity in the individual cases.
We know about kids and peanuts. Suzen works continually with the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center. There are semi-monthly events at Cooking by the Book where patients from Columbia come here to learn and to cook. How serious is the celiac problem? Look at the size of the gluten free section of your supermarket. It used to be a few feet, and now it is often an entire aisle.
There are other food allergies and preferences: vegan, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and sugar. How do you accommodate someone who has many or even all these concerns? How do you make them dessert? Allison Lubert is a specialist in nutrition for these situations. She’s a writer with this book Baking You Happy. And she’s an entrepreneur with a bakery in Philadelphia where these recipes are offered to everyone, even people who don’t have one single food issue.
Allison herself is allergic to wheat and dairy. So, she began experimenting in her home kitchen. What ingredients could she use? What techniques would work? And what kinds of dishes, including desserts, could she fashion? From that very personal experience, she has developed expertise that few others have.
There are recipes here for cookies, bars, cupcakes, frostings, sauces, glazes, muffins, coffee cakes, doughnuts, pies and even cinnamon rolls. The standards appear, like chocolate chip cookies. And there are special treats for holidays, like pumpkin spice loaf.
All of these recipes will satisfy someone with one or more of these food issues:
- Wheat allergies [celiac]
- Vegan preferences
- Dairy-free needs
- Egg-free needs
- Soy-free needs
- Corn-free needs
- Peanut-free needs
- Refined sugar avoidance.
So, what does she use in the recipes presented here? You’ll find abundant use of:
- Coconut milk and oil
- Gluten free flour
- Sorghum flour
- Potato starch
- Garbanzo-fava bean flour
- Coconut sugar
- Xanthan gum
Many of the ingredients here may be ones you have not used. But the lovely photographs and the fact that she has an ongoing bakery will tell you that from different beginnings there still come desserts that people enjoy. More importantly, desserts that people with issues can enjoy.
The recipes are very carefully written and organized. Ingredients are divided into groups for recipe steps, often labeled “wet” and “dry” ala Alton Brown. There may the three, four, five or up to six steps to combine those groups of ingredients and have something ready for the oven. The instructions are not complex at all. Rather, they are simple and direct: a sentence or two. Once you have managed to assemble all the raw ingredients on the table, you are really just a minutes away from having something ready to bake off.
If you have food issues, and particularly if you have multiple issues, then this is a book that, as it says, will be Baking You Happy.