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The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook Paperback – December 22, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook is...a triumph for the food-allergic community. ...This book is a goldmine for special-diet bakers—particularly for parents of newly diagnosed kids who don’t know where to begin.”
“If food allergies post [sic: pose] a…concern…, Cybele Pascal’s remarkable allergen-free creations are the solution. ...Pascal’s patience, time, and tinkering has produced 100 mouthwatering recipes, and she proved their photogenic perfection with 20 full-color photos. ...her recipes are specially formulated and rigorously tested, so follow them closely for outstanding results.”
“a beautiful book, with lavish photography and accessible recipes. I like this book so much that I was thrilled to be asked for a blurb for the back. You’ll love it too. These are the most luscious gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, peanut-and-tree-nut- and sesame-free treats you are likely to ever see.”
—Shauna James Ahern, glutenfreegirl.com
“helpful hints that will help make your kitchen comfortable despite whatever no-no’s you have to deal with.”
“The recipes in this book look delish even if you don’t suffer from allergies. ...this sweet cookbook looks like it covers all the bases.”
“more than 100 baked treats that do not compromise on taste. ...The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook offers new allergy-free ways to enjoy some of the most well-known and loved baked goods.”
“For those of us who are blissfully free of food allergies, this book may seem unnecessary. But if you have a nephew with a peanut allergy, a neighbor child who is lactose intolerant or a friend with celiac disease, you can now serve them luscious baked goods that they can eat without fear. You can make them feel NORMAL.”
—United Media Syndicate’s “Eat In and Save” Column, Marialisa Calta
"Using her Gluten-Free Flour Mix—a combination of Authentic Foods superfine brown rice flour (worth its weight in gold), potato starch and tapioca flour—author Pascal (The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook) offers baked treats for the 25 million Americans suffering from food allergies. With a well-stocked pantry, readers will be able once again to enjoy favorites like gingerbread, chocolate chip cookies, pizza, and brownies without fear of a reaction. Those without allergies can also benefit from Pascal’s collection—100 dishes, in fact, are suitable for vegans. Though recipes call for more ingredients than bakers are probably used to—dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening, agave nectar, and xanthan gum make frequent appearances—Pascal’s sage advice on substitutions (applesauce in lieu of eggs, canola oil for butter, rice milk for cow’s, etc.) should relieve some of the sticker shock. For sensitive diners and those who cook for them, Pascal’s winning collection deserves a look." (Jan.)
–Publishers Weekly, Web-Exclusive Review, 11/23/09
Well-known chef Pascal (The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook) is also the mother of a boy with severe food allergies. Her cookbook features recipes for baked goods, both sweet and savory, that omit the eight foods responsible for most allergies (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shelfish, soy, and wheat). This requires stocking your pantry differently; for example, to make Fudge Brownies, you'll need dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening, prune purée, Pascal's flour mix, xanthan gum, and dairy-free, soy-free chocolate chips. With an extensive list of product resources and support groups, this is an excellent title for both allergen-conscious bakers and vegan cooks.
–Library Journal, Starred Review, 11/15/09
“The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook will be a boon to many. Instead of a drab existence, those living with food allergies will eat freely and well with its reliable recipes: Chocolate Chip Cupcakes; Raspberry Galette with Cornmeal Crust; and Cinnamon Rolls for Sunday mornings. I’ll be baking out of this book for years, and I’m sure you will be too.”
–Shauna James Ahern, author of Gluten-Free Girl
“Few allergen-free cookbooks address the reader with the same grace, compassion, humor, and understanding of their core audience that Cybele Pascal’s does. With smart, easy-to-make, and beautifully pictured recipes, Cybele makes ‘luscious,’ ‘delectable,’ and ‘mouthwatering’ the new allergen-free baking buzzwords. Keep The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook in your kitchen for constant reference, and get your crumble on!”
–Sloane Miller, president of Allergic Girl Resources
“Children and adults living with food allergies should not be deprived of homemade treats, so I am eager to recommend The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook to my clients. The recipes have the extra advantage of using nutrient-dense, minimally processed ingredients such as whole grains, seeds, and fruits. Finally, all of your favorite treats and allergen-free and gluten-free recipes are in one book!”
–Wendy Elverson, RD, LDN, pediatric nutritionist in Clinical Nutrition Service at Children’s Hospital Boston and consultant with the Child Development Network
Top Customer Reviews
The demands of a child with autism monopolized my time, and I have, over the years, found a cake mix, a brownie mix and a pancake mix that I like and have stuck with them, and that's pretty much it.
Gluten free flours, xanthan gum, and all the "tricks" to GFCFSFEF+++ baking are expensive. They take up a lot of space in kitchen cupboards. Spending the money and time to try a recipe only to have turn out gritty or gummy is frustrating, and I admit, I gave up in a big way. (Gluten was the first big allergen that we removed 8.5 years ago, and I remember it being so very challenging at the time. Little did I know I'd have to remove a lot more and that I would envy folks who are simply gluten free -- I think that would be so easy!)
I simply never understood the science to baking GFCFSFEF+++ breads, cookies, cakes and other baked goods. I didn't have the time or the background to try to figure it out.
Until now. Now, I'm getting an education about the alchemy of baking without traditional baking ingredients like milk, wheat and eggs: The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook, How To Bake without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree nuts, and Sesame by Cybele Pascal. Cybele Pascal is a chef who happens to be the mother of a child with severe food allergies. She went to work adapting all of our favorite baked items and put her collection of successes into a beautiful cookbook. And yes, there are color photos of some of the recipes (I like photos!).
I. Adore. This. Cookbook! This book is not just a collection of recipes. Instead, Pascal takes the time to teach me about baking allergen free with almost the same restrictions we have at my house. The section called, "The Dry Goods Pantry" in Chapter 1, Stocking your Allergen-Free Pantry, combined with all of Chapter 2, "How To Bake Allergen-Free" provide a mini-baking school, and I would like these pages + the resource section in the back of the book available in a purse sized tri-fold to take with me to the grocery store. Pascal offers suggestions for replacing eggs, dairy, and wheat flour that have me looking through "regular" cookbooks with a new perspective.
I wish I'd had this cookbook nine years ago.
Pascal offers recipes that are appealing and straightforward to make. She specifically instructs readers not to make substitutions, but in my case that was necessary in order to make the cookbook usable. In addition to dairy, eggs, gluten, I'm avoiding nightshades (and yeast), and the basic flour mix for these recipes includes more than a cup of potato starch. I knew this when I ordered the book, but hoped that arrowroot would work as a substitute for the potato starch in the basic mix. So far it seems to working pretty well (see notes below).
There are quite a few recipes that call for Ener-G egg replacer, which also contains potato, so for now I'm starting with recipes that use other leaveners/binders. I did splurge for the recommended Authentic Foods superfine rice flour, which was almost $14 for a 3lb bag at my local health food store. Can't tell yet if I think it's worth the extra cost.
I appreciate the range of different recipes included in this book, from cupcakes to scones to tarts and pies. I'm eager to try the Morning Glory Muffins, which look to be a hearty, less-sweet muffin (shredded carrots, apple, sunflower seeds ...). I'm also intrigued by the idea of using pureed prunes (babyfood) as an egg replacer. I figure if I get at least 3 solid recipes from this book, it will have been worth ordering.
Note: I have now made 3 recipes -- they are all things I would make again. This book has turned out to be a good purchase.
Notes on specific recipes:
In each of these I did a one-for-one replacement of arrowroot powder for potato starch in the flour mix.
Chocolate cupcakes -- I used Ghiradelli cocoa powder, which I find has a very nice flavor (though people with need to be ultra-strict about cross contamination of soy, nuts, etc. should check the label b/f using). The cupcakes smelled great and had a great flavor. They took longer to bake than the recipe's suggested time (despite my oven thermometer) so I just left them in a little longer. The flavor was great and I loved the texture of the top of the cupcakes (reminded me of my mom's homemade cupcakes). The texture on the bottom didn't have quite as much "structure" as I would have liked, but it did improve once they cooled completely. I am not sure if they would "pass" with gluten-eaters; then again, the unmodified recipe (with potato) might be better. I would definitely make them for myself again.
Chocolate zucchini bread recipe -- love texture (dense and moist), and it's a great way to use up the zucchini from the CSA share! I found this recipe to be way sweeter than I can handle: it calls for a cup of agave and a cup of chocolate chips (in addition to cocoa powder). Next time I'll try cutting back on the chocolate chips, or possibly omit them altogether. I'm also not a huge fan of cinnamon with chocolate, so may also try omitting that and just sticking with the vanilla. I sliced most of the loaf and wrapped individual slices in cling-wrap and then put them in a big ziplock bag and froze them. Works really well to pull out individual servings! [Note: I tried omitting the chips and that didn't work so well -- they might be important for masking certain flavors and improving texture]
Buckwheat muffins -- The batter was really thick and I had to pile it up in the muffin liners, but these baked up nice and tall. I subbed blueberries for the diced apple (I like blueberries and had them on hand). These also froze really well. The straight buckwheat definitely has an "earthy" flavor, that some may not care for.
Blackberry quinoa muffins (with agave) -- These also baked up nice and tall. I subbed blueberries for blackberries (just b/c that's what I had in the freezer) and subbed sorghum flour instead of corn flour (I'm trying to cut back on corn, and I didn't have corn flour on hand anyway). This recipe doesn't use any potato, so I didn't have to sub there. I've just eaten one warm out of the oven, and I like that they're not so sweet. They definitely have a quinoa flavor, which I like just fine. If you can eat sugar, these might nice with a little sugar sprinkled on top to finish them bakery-style.
Recently I've adapted the recipe to use a different flour blend, b/c I make these often and was going through my quinoa flour really quickly. In this version, I reduce the quinoa and also eliminate the corn flour:
1 c. quinoa
1 c. millet
1/4 c. buckwheat
3/4 c. sorghum
Banana muffins -- Just made for the first time tonight. These are tasty -- banana and cinnamon, dense and moist in the middle (The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of bananas and I was a little short so I made up the difference with applesauce.) Another winner, also nightshade-free.
Hm ... given the number of useable recipes I've gotten out of this, I should probably bump my rating up to 5 stars.
This book is for everyone because most adults and children, though not considered "allergic" to anything, DO have sensitivities of some kind. Unfortunately, without being tested, most of us just go around feeling "lousy" (headaches, sinus problems, brain fog, ADD/ADHD) after eating the trigger foods. As a busy working mom, I do not have the time to research healthy recipes and figure out what ingredients to eliminate and exchange. It is also so disappointing when you do all that work and the final product doesn't taste good. This book does the preliminary work and provides delicious recipes with ingredients that "do not disturb". Knowing that I am giving my kids great desserts that have been "screened" is so satisfying. They absolutely loved the Morning Glory Muffins and the Chocolate Zucchini Bread and have asked for them to be put into their lunchboxes. I am thrilled with this book and consider the whole "allergen-free" experience quite an upgrade for my family-- a must have for every kitchen!
Linda Rossi NY
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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