One Treat Fits All (Most of the Time)

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As the new year winds up, families with food allergies- like mine- breath a collective sigh of relief, having once again navigated numerous celebrations punctuated by eating occasions. An estimated 15 million Americans have food allergies, including one in every thirteen U.S. children.  The top eight allergens: peanut, tree nut, dairy, egg, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish –though there is increasing sensitization to sesame and other seeds).

For families with food allergies, celebrations – both in and out of the classroom- can be tricky, depending on their allergens. Ours: egg, peanut and some tree nuts, require extra maneuvering. But while preparing allergy-friendly celebration foods takes planing, it isn’t usually much extra work.  Allergies to most fruit and vegetables are rare, so Fresh Fruit Wands (skewered strawberry, grape, melon ball, banana) make a festive, low-sugar treat. Fresh Guacamole with Organic Tortilla Chips, or do-it-yourself Nut-Free Trail Mix bags – organic popcorn, dried cranberries or raisins, dark chocolate chips, cheerios can also be fun.  If you’re feeling adventurous, try a Fruity Tower Cake -rounds of pineapple, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries topped with thick whipped cream. In a pinch, dark chocolate pretzels or Abe’s Mini muffins (vegan and nut-free) and inclusive.

For those who prefer a traditional chocolate cupcake, this recipe is free of tree nut, peanut, dairy, egg and soy.

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 Cups organic flour (all-purpose)
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 Cup organic sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar (apple cider is fine too)
  • 1 tsp.  pure vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbsp. liquefied coconut or olive oil
  • 1 Cup purified water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix first 5 dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Make 3 depressions – two small, one larger.  Pour vinegar in one , vanilla in the other and the oil in third larger depression. Pour water over all. Mix well until smooth.

Line cupcake tin with liners. Fill ¾ of the way with batter. Bake on middle rack of oven for 15-20 minutes. Check center of cupcake with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool. Top with powdered sugar or your favorite frosting. Enjoy!

Note: Baking times vary, be sure to check cupcakes to make sure you do not over-bake.

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