Sunday, March 21, 2010

Review: The Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book

Summary: The Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book is a one-stop guide to delicious, everyday baked goods free of dairy, eggs, and nuts--the most common food allergens. It offers timeless, foolproof recipes that are easy to prepare even for kitchen novices. Whether you are new to the world of allergen-free baking, or have been baking this way for years, this book is an invaluable resource for home bakers (and their families) who love sweets and treats.

These recipes are delicious enough to be enjoyed by everyone who craves great baked treats, whether they have food allergies or not. But they fill a particular need for families concerned about ensuring food safety for their children. Kelly Rudnicki is dedicated to bringing busy moms of food-allergic children the best baking recipes that are dairy-, egg-, peanut-, and tree nut-free. For these readers, recipes that really work--every single time, for every cook--are crucial. A failed recipe is enough to shake the confidence of any home baker. Someone who bakes allergen-free cannot afford these setbacks--they can't go out and buy a birthday cake at the grocery store if a recipe doesn't work. Until there are more options for the food-allergic , baking at home is the smartest and safest option. The recipes use high quality ingredients that are affordable and widely available. All the traditional favorites are included, with chapters devoted to the best and tastiest muffins and quick breads, cookies and bars, and all manner of cakes, pies, crisps, name it.

In addition, the book is filled with practical advice and tips about dealing with classroom and birthday parties, as well as easy ingredient substitution ideas. It is THE go to guide for food allergy mamas everywhere. -- Agate Publishing

As many of you know, I have a five year old son who has life-threatening food allergies. He is severely allergic to eggs, dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, and shellfish! While I consider our family to be blessed that we can pretty much "control" this issue (unlike so many other health problems), it still can be challenging. The worst part of this for me is that as he gets older and more aware of his surroundings, he realizes that he is different and can't eat what everyone else does. I'm sure you know that it just breaks my heart!

In the past three years, I have found a few recipes that are just okay -- one for a homemade chocolate cake, one for a doctored vanilla cake, and one for sugar cookies (of course, the icing covers up the cardboard taste.) I have also tried to order some sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies from an on-line vendors of allergy-free cookies, but it is so expensive. And to be honest, they are good but they aren't the same as a homemade treat.

So, when I found out about
THE FOOD ALLERGY MAMA'S BAKING BOOK: GREAT DAIRY, EGG, AND NUT FREE TREATS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY by Kelly Rudnicki, I was thrilled to say the least. This cookbook is a must-have for any family with food allergies! Ms. Rudnicki is the mother of five children -some of whom have food allergies, and she is passionate about creating recipes for delicious tasting desserts. Not only does Ms. Rudnicki offer loads of really easy and really yummy recipes, but she also offers lots of helpful advice for parents of children with food allergies.

I have tried a few of Ms. Rudnicki's recipes so far, and they have been wonderful. And I don't mean they are wonderful for dairy, egg, and nut free recipes. I mean they are delicious recipes! I first made my son the blueberry muffins, but he wasn't too sure about biting into the blueberries. (I know it sounds a little strange, but he's never had a muffin or cooked blueberries before.) I also made the French Puff muffins because Ms. Rudnicki told me (via twitter) that her kids absolutely love these cinnamon muffins! I can't believe how good they are! I do think my muffin tins were slightly smaller than the author's because they did take a little longer than the recipe stated (and they were really big.)

French Puff Muffins

Yield: 12 Muffins

2/3 cup dairy-free margarine
1 tablespoon water
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup soy or rice milk

1/2 cup melted dairy-free margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 12-cup muffin pan with dairy-free baking spray. To make the muffins, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 2/3 cup margarine, water, and 1 cup sugar. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder with a wire whisk. Add the flour mixture and soy milk to the margarine-sugar mixture by thirds, alternating between each addition. Using a cookie scooper, place the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.

To make the topping, combine the 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl, and place the melted 1/2 cup margarine in a small bowl. Remove the muffins from the pan and dip each in margarine and then roll each muffin top in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Tip: These muffins are best when eaten the day they're made.

I can't even begin to tell you how many awesome baking recipes are in this cookbook. There are sections for Quick Breads, Muffins and More, Biscuits, Scones, and Yeast Breads, Cookies and Bars, Cakes and Cupcakes, Crisps, Pies, and Other Fruit Desserts, and Other Sweet Treats. She has included many of the traditional favorites that are considered off-limits to people with food allergies like Pumpkin Pie, Cheesecake and Sour Cream Cookies!

Ms. Rudnicki also has a website where she blogs and posts allergy free recipes. I had a ton of leftover bananas a few weeks ago, so I decided to make the Banana Chocolate Chip Cake. It only took about five minutes to whip up, and I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious it was. My son liked it too, and it made me so happy that he could have his own special dessert! I swear I couldn't tell that it didn't have eggs or dairy -- it was terrific.

Needless to say, I am so excited to have discovered Ms. Rudnicki and her amazing recipes. As a mother to a child with life-threatening food allergies, I so appreciate her dedication to helping families like us. THE FOOD ALLERGY MAMA'S BAKING BOOK is truly one of my favorite cookbooks!

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Beth F said...

Thanks so much for posting about this cookbook. I am trilled to have a resource for baking for my friends or their kids who have severe food allergies. I'll be checking this one out from the library.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This cookbook is a great thing to know about. Who doesn't know someone with food allergies these days? I love the story about the cooked blueberries - what a riot!

bermudaonion said...

It's great that she has recipes that the whole family can enjoy! I know cooking a meal for a family is a challenge when food allergies are involved.

Karlie said...

I may have to check this one out if my son doesn't grow out of his food allergies soon.

Lynda said...

These sound lovely
My Wc here with two recipes:

Anonymous said...

Nice review. Do kids outgrown food allergies as they sometimes outgrown other allergies? My nieces had severe dust etc. allergies when they were under 10 and now as tweens/teens, they are gone. This seems to be a great resource to have around though.

Jamie Stern said...

This cookbook is great. I recently ran an "Allergy Free" Food Recipe contest and this was part of the first prize. I am sure this was a big part of the competitive drive from my customers! Thanks for promoting the book.

Anna said...

I'm so happy for you that you found this book, and it's awesome that the recipes actually taste good.

Diary of an Eccentric

Bonnie said...

Thanks for reviewing this book. I definitely need to get a copy. As you know, my son has food allergies as well and he is also lactose intolerant. This sounds like it has great recipes for kids and the whole family. The banana choc chip cake sounds wonderful.