How to Enjoy Holiday Sweets with Food Allergies

The holidays can be tricky for people with food allergies. Holiday sweets are everywhere, and most of them contain food allergens. You can still enjoy holiday desserts, even with food allergies, by using allergy-free ingredients in your favorite holiday recipes. Preparing allergy-free holiday desserts is as easy as substituting food allergens with “safe” ingredients.

Eggs

Eggs act either as a binding or leavening agent in recipes. Substitute with:

  • ¼ cup of applesauce
  • A tablespoon of flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water (let stand for a minute before using)
  • ½ of a medium banana, mashed
  • 3½ tablespoons of a gelatin blend consisting of a cup of boiling water and two teaspoons of unflavored gelatin (not an option for those with gelatin allergies)
  • A teaspoon of Xanthum gum
  • Egg replacement products, such as the Ener-G brand Egg Replacer®, which you can find in natural food stores.
  • When eggs are used for leavening, substitute with 1½ tablespoons of vegetable oil mixed with 1½ tablespoons water and a teaspoon of baking powder per egg.

Dairy Products

Good milk substitutes are almond, coconut, soy or rice milk. (These may not be an option for people with soy or nut allergies.) Substitute diary-free margarine or cooking oil for butter. Soy-based and diary-free sour cream is available in natural foods stores, and Tofutti has a diary-free cream cheese available.

Gluten

If you use wheat flour as a healthier alternative to white flour, take heed. People with gluten allergies are allergic to a protein found in wheat. For allergy-free baked desserts, substitute rice, potato or tapioca flour in recipes that call for wheat flour. Look for gluten-free baking powder as well.

Soy

Use potato, rice, almond or coconut milk in your holiday dessert recipes. Earth Balance has a soy- and diary-free margarine that can be substituted for butter. Use coconut oil in place of margarine and shortening. Corn flour is also a good substitute, but not for people with corn allergies.

Nuts

There are plenty of allergy-free recipes that do not call for nuts. Substitute soy nut or sunflower seed butter for recipes that call for peanut butter. When using sunflower butter, reduce the amount of baking soda/powder by one-third to keep the butter from turning green when used in baking.

Make sure you verify the ingredients and safety of ingredient substitutions to make sure they are “safe” to eat. It may be yet another chore when you already have so much to do for the holidays, but it is one worth taking if it allows you to enjoy delicious, allergy-free holiday sweets.

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