Following the gluten-free diet is a challenge for most people in the beginning at least. Some people acclimate to their new lives faster than others. If you’re living gluten-free, imagine for a moment that in addition to avoiding gluten, you also can’t eat eggs – or dairy – or soy, eggs, dairy and nuts combined. I must admit that I’m not sure that I can even imagine what that must be like. I don’t think it would be much fun – at least not in the beginning. One would assume that like those of us that simply avoid gluten (which seems impossible at first, but becomes second nature); those on even more restricted diets also eventually find their way.
Thank goodness for Cybele Pascal, author of The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook. As stated in the books introduction, this book is for people with celiac disease, people on the GF/CF diet, vegans and people who want healthy baked goods that don’t contain additives, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors. That covers a pretty large group of people. Cybele doesn’t think anyone should have to eat “weird” food and went to great lengths to figure out how to make allergen free foods that anyone can enjoy.
This book explains that coconut oil is mandated to be classified as a tree nut, even though coconut allergies are exceedingly rare. The author does use coconut oil in some of her recipes in the book because she doesn’t think it’s fair to deprive people of such a healthful ingredient due to an “erroneous classification by the FDA”. Cybele’s informative cookbook also offers updated information about certified gluten-free oats and gives references about companies that produce them.
The cookbook’s gluten-free flour mix only calls for three ingredients and even suggests what brands to look for and which ones to avoid for best results in the recipes. There is a section in the book that explains how to stock an allergen free pantry and a really helpful guide on every kitchen tool imaginable. Suggestions for replacing dairy, eggs, nuts and even nut butters are plentiful and the baking tips would be useful for any baker.
Recipes of note (at our house) in this lovely book are:
- Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- Orange Cranberry Muffins
- Red Velvet Cake with Velvet Frosting
- Apple Brown Betty
The first gluten-free cookie mix I used made sawdust tasting cookies that were completely inedible. It took a while for me to find out that gluten-free baked goods could be some of the best tasting treats on the planet. It’s likely that someone who has several food allergies or intolerances would assume that their days of enjoying home baked treats are behind them. Luckily, this innovative book by Cybele Pascal proves that nothing could be further from the truth. The book is available on Amazon.com.
Special thanks to Cybele Pascal for my review copy of her lovely book. It’s especially touching to find out that someone has gone the distance for those with multiple food allergies and in turn, made it possible for them to trade in their “weird” foods for delicious ones!