Sunday, October 3, 2010

Review: The Divvies Bakery Cookbook

Summary: THE DIVVIES BAKERY COOKBOOK is an opportunity for the millions of people who are dealing with serious food allergies to put the sweet back in their kitchens. With an assortment of delicious recipes, free of the four major food allergens – peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, and eggs (all vegan!), Lori Sandler offers sweet treats that everyone can enjoy and share ANY time: at birthday parties, snack time, bake sales, holidays, picnics, dessert time, and just because. What ingredients are left out have been replaced by double dollops of the good and the gooey – like chocolate, oatmeal, and molasses, – making the confections not only safe to eat, but absolutely delicious for everyone, even those without food allergies.

Divvies, an irresistible “fun-foods” company devoted to baking safe-to-eat, tasty treats for people with life-threatening food allergies, has been featured on Good Morning America and The Martha Stewart Show, as well as in the New York Times, New York Post, Gourmet Magazine, Vogue, Everyday with Rachel Ray, Daily Candy, and Urban Baby. All of their products are made in a dedicated facility where no nuts, eggs, milk, or ingredients that may have been exposed to these allergens are allowed in the door.

Some of the tasty recipes featured in THE DIVVIES BAKERY COOKBOOK include:
Divvies Famous Chocolate Cupcakes (featured on the Martha Stewart Show!)
Benjamin’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pick-Your-Berry Muffins
Extra Thick, Treasured-Filled Marshmallow Treats
“Ice Cream” Hash
Movie Night Popcorn

With the degree of “divviculty” indicated for each recipe, tips for the best birthday parties, perfect picnic baskets, cool cupcake towers, snacks in a cinch, tasty travel treats, and bonus gluten-free recipes, THE DIVVIES BAKERY COOKBOOK is the essential allergen-free cookbook for beginners and kitchen experts alike. -- St. Martin's Press

As many of you might already know, my son has his fair share of life threatening food allergies. It certainly makes cooking challenging at times for me, but it's especially hard for him when he can't eat what all of his friends are eating -- my heart just breaks for him. Now that Booking Son is in kindergarten and playing soccer, his food allergies are really becoming an issue because he is starting to realize that he's not like everyone else. And that's one of the reasons why I have to shout my praises for THE DIVVIES BAKERY COOKBOOK: NO NUTS, NO EGGS, NO DAIRY, JUST DELICIOUS! by Lori Sandler. This cookbook is an absolute life-saver for me, and I'm sure many other moms who have children with food allergies will agree!

I first learned about The Divvies Bakery last year when we visited Disney World. If you don't already know this, Disney World is one of the few places where I feel comfortable vacationing with Booking Son's allergies. They are amazing and cater specifically to children with food allergies -- you can read about our experience here. Anyway...I bought some pre-packaged Divvies chocolate chip cookies for Booking Son and he loved them. I then came home and immediately placed an order with Divvies Bakery for an assortment of cookies. They were as close as I've ever tasted to the "real" things.

I already considered myself a huge fan of Divvies, but when I discovered that they were coming out with a cookbook that was perfect for Booking Son, I could barely contain myself! All of the recipes in the book are nut-free, egg-free, and dairy-free -- exactly what Booking Son needs. I pretty much knew if the goodies were anything like their ready-made products, then we were both in for a treat.

I'm so happy to say that THE DIVVIES BAKERY COOKBOOK is amazing -- it truly is a must-have for families with food allergies. Besides having loads of delicious (and easy!) recipes, the cookbook is just gorgeous. Booking Son has been entertained by all of the beautiful color pictures and he loves that he can pick any one of the recipes and know he can eat it. Trust me when I tell you how much that means to me!

The cookbook has a great introduction where Ms. Sandler explains her philosophy -- that no one should be defined by their food allergies. There is also a section written by her son Benjamin where he explains his feeling about food allergies -- it makes me cry because it mirrors Booking Son's thoughts. Then comes all of the recipes ... and there sure are some good ones. The sections are "When It's All Relative(s)...and Friends", "Snacks That Make the Schoolhouse Rock", "Outdoors and on the Road", and "It's Your Party!" There are so many fun and delicious recipes that I want to try including the fudge, the trail mix, the chocolate chip cookies, and the brownies. I just listed a few but I could probably list at least 20 more!

I decided to first try the Choose-Your-Own-Mix-In Scones. I thought they sounded good and I knew that if I made something with chocolate chips, I had a better chance of pleasing Booking Son. The recipe was extremely easy and they baked up in around 15 minutes. I enjoyed them and thought they were very good, but I have to admit that Booking Son was a little disappointed that they weren't very sweet. After I explained that they weren't cookies, but scones, he tried again. Since then, he has eaten quite a few of them and even told his father that scones are pretty good. He also has been going around the house saying "scones" with his Harry Potter accent!

Choose-Your-Own-Mix-In Scones 

1/4 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup soy milk
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons stone-ground cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted dairy-free margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Your choice of raspberries, blueberries, and/or Divvies Semisweet Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Stir the lemon juice into the soy milk and set aside; the lemon juice acts as a thickening agent.

3. Mix the 2 teaspoons of sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.

4. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, 1/4 cup of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

5. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together the melted margarine, soy milk and lemon mixture, and vanilla.

6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir with a large spoon, being careful to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and incorporate all the ingredients well.

7. Add the berries and/or chips to the batter and gently stir. I sometimes make a variety of scones by dividing the scone batter into smaller bowls, and adding different mix-ins.

8. Scoop 12 scones on the lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle each scone with a generous amount of the sugar-cinnamon mixture.

9. Bake the scones int he preheated over for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the bottom edges are golden brown. Test by inserting a toothpick into the center of a scone; when it comes out clean, the scones are done. Remove from oven and eat while still warm.

THE DIVVIES BAKERY COOKBOOK is one of my most-treasured cookbooks. I really can't say enough good things about it!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this fantastic cookbook.

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Carol said...

What a fab recipe book!
We are experimenting here, with lots of disasters, as eldest son was diagnosed with Wheat/Gluten allergy earlier in the year.

With the rise in people with food allergies the choice of free from foods in the supermarkets, fast food, and restaurants is so limited and very expensive.

I have not attempted to make his bread yet and pay more than double for a gluten free loaf that is not particularly tasty and much smaller than a standard loaf.

Shopping takes much longer checking labels but at least foods are now labelled with allergens.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have a scones recipe that's not very sweet also. It's funny how people have different expectations for them. I'm glad you found one your son could eat!

Sandy Nawrot said...

What a Godsend for people with allergies! We have virtually no issues with this in our house, but my daughter's best friend has severe allergies, and we have friends and relatives do too. Doesn't everyone know someone with food allergies? What a thoughtful gift this would be for these folks. Awesome!

bermudaonion said...

It's so wonderful that they're starting to realize there's a need for cookbooks like this. It seems that food allergies are becoming more and more common and this would be a handy cookbook for anyone to have on hand.

Karlie said...

I can't wait to check this one out! It would be great to have some goodies that the whole family can enjoy!

JoAnn said...

Finally! I've never seen a cookbook for people with serious food allergies... have a friend that would love this.

Ali said...

I was just looking through the library copy of this book last night. We don't have food allergies, but we do have several vegan friends and these recipes are perfect for them as well, without calling for unusual ingredients that we don't have around. I'm looking forward to trying some of them--as soon as I figure out where to start!

Melissa Taylor said...

this sound really good - thanks for the suggestion, I hadn't heard about this book.