I'm want to give her a sugar rush, not rush her to the ER
December 3, 2013 3:29 PM   Subscribe

My awesome niece, age 12, will be visiting for Christmas, and I'd like to make some homemade treats she can eat. Difficulty level: multiple severe food allergies.

Awesome Niece is allergic to wheat, barley, eggs, and peanuts. Do you know of some great dessert recipes that naturally do not include these ingredients? I know I can make baked goods with a variety of alternative flours, but Awesome Niece will only visit once or twice a year so I would prefer to not buy a lot of ingredients that won't get used up.

She loves chocolate, Nutella, and maple sugar candy. In general, she is a very adventurous eater.

I have access to Aldi, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and typical grocery stores, so I should be able to find any ingredients necessary.
posted by xsquared-1 to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe a no-egg chocolate mousse?
posted by scody at 3:33 PM on December 3, 2013

Oh, those restrictions aren't going to stop you from making any of the good sweets! Sorry for the very non-specific answer, but I would certainly go to town making any type of candy such as fudge or caramel, or maybe truffles.

Flour based confections are just bread trying to be somethin' it's not, anyway.
posted by ftm at 3:35 PM on December 3, 2013 [5 favorites]

Peppermint bark?

My assumption based on your mention of peanuts and her love of Nutella is that she can eat tree nuts? If that's the case, what about turtles?

posted by Sara C. at 3:35 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

David Lebovitz's chocolate sorbet is amazingly rich, easy to make, and requires no uncommon ingredients whatsoever.
posted by saeculorum at 3:37 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yummly does 'without x' recipe searching - this search brings up a lot of options.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:39 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Time to break out the candy making! Toffee, taffy, flavored fondant centers dipped in chocolate! All with ingredients you probably have lying around, the only thing you'll have to get is a candy thermometer (and maybe a slab).
posted by straw at 3:45 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

At least she can have dairy!

My friend says my off cuff suggestion of "fried bananas with caramel sauce" is a good idea, but I hate bananas so can't guide you there.

If you want something that looks mega fancy and colorful, I grew up loving Rainbow Jello Salad, which is like this and whipped cream on top:


Though my family had a different color arrangement.
posted by foxfirefey at 3:49 PM on December 3, 2013

Homemade Rice Krispies Treats? I know I could've eaten an entire batch of those when I was 12.
posted by jabes at 3:53 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Substitute skinned, toasted chickpeas for nuts-- they're more crumbly, but they are nicely crunchy and have a nutty aroma and flavor. You can spice them any which way, but unspiced, you just want to skin them, toss in oil to coat, and chuck them in the oven. Better still, put them on a pan in your oven. Afterwards, crush them to the desired size, or cover your ears and put them in a food processor.

The result is a bit more like corn nuts than crushed almonds, but it's in the neighborhood, and the crunch really sells it. I used these to make a successful baklava for my tree-nut-allergic friend who had never had the dish.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:58 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Homemade marshmallows in a cup of hot cocoa! Mmm.
posted by warble at 3:58 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

re: Fried bananas, how about bananas brulee? You're basically replicating the hard topping of a creme brulee, not the custard part, so no eggs. That one's really easy, and slightly spectacular if you do it with a torch (but the broiler will do the job). IIRC, it's just bananas, sugar, and radiant heat.

Bananas Foster, on the other hand, has about as much spectacle as a dessert can have-- I'd skip the banana liqueur (talk about an ingredient you'll never use again), but this original recipe is dynamite. That sauce is napalm though, so be real careful it doesn't spill or splatter. And of course, there will be flames, in a controlled fashion. Remove from heat before flaming. Plus, it's magical marriage of hot and cold.

Okay, looks like I missed the mark on "homemade treats" and headed into dessert territory.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:06 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

If she can eat tree nuts, almond butter can be substituted for peanut butter in recipes. It might not be one of your usual ingredients, but if you are an even slightly adventurous eater yourself you can certainly eat it.
posted by yohko at 4:13 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Homemade Rice Krispies Treats? I know I could've eaten an entire batch of those when I was 12.

Depending on the nature of her wheat allergy, you might want to be careful--regular rice krispies contain gluten. There are GF varieties that don't (and as far as I can recall, both fruity and cocoa pebbles are safe--but check the label!)

These are pretty much my husband's allergies! You can make many gluten free baked goods, substituting either apple sauce or flax seed, for eggs, but it takes some experimentation to have success.

One staple I like making for my husband is pumpkin pudding, which is pretty much a mixture of instant butterscotch pudding and canned pumpkin, spiced to taste. Also, ice cream sundaes are always great--just check the ingredients. Many brands contain eggs. Breyer's is always safe, though.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:14 PM on December 3, 2013

Sounds fun! Just make sure you talk to her parents about how "clean" you have to be to prevent cross-contamination.
posted by radioamy at 4:17 PM on December 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Tapioca pearl pudding made with hazelnut milk, chocolate version.
swirled with caramelo
boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for a couple of hours, so use a big pot, let it rest a couple of hours, it is unbelievable delicious straight from the spoon.
posted by hortense at 4:36 PM on December 3, 2013

I'd sugar some orange peels, then dip them in chocolate, make either white chocolate mousse or a custard... maybe some chocolate dipped dried fruit, and a mini rootbeer float...

Honestly, root beer floats are something that I look forward to my kids being able to have (they're a bit young for soda)
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:43 PM on December 3, 2013

PhoBWanKenobi and hortense remind me: Rice pudding can be crazy customizable, if the NYC restaurant has taught me anything. I didn't like it until I tried it there, but with a chocolate base and mix-ins, it's amazing.

Seconding the recommendations for home-made candy, especially if you enlist her help.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:43 PM on December 3, 2013

My coffeeshop makes Rice Krispie treats out of Chex cereal which is gluten-free (most varieties - check!).
posted by valeries at 4:44 PM on December 3, 2013

I made these vegan, GF lemon tarts over the weekend. Really lip-smacking good. The coconut butter works well with the lemon citrus notes.

If I made them again When I make them again, I will try to run the nut crust through the food processor a little long, to make a finer paste, which was a little too "crunchy" in texture the first time around. I might also try use limes — maybe even key limes, to make mini key lime tarts with the coconut/nut crust.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:48 PM on December 3, 2013

This salted maple honeycomb candy has just four ingredients (sugar, maple syrup, baking soda, salt) and is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Other candy ideas: fudge, cream cheese mints (these are addictive and can be made in adorable holiday-themed shapes/colors), truffles of all sorts, toffee, homemade peppermint patties.
posted by rebekah at 4:58 PM on December 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

Indian sweets like Barfi and Ladoos (just check the condensed milk label to make sure there are no gluten-based thickeners in it). And they are also really quick and easy.
posted by girlgenius at 5:19 PM on December 3, 2013

If you want to make her a candy, these blueberry balsamic gumdrops should do the trick!
posted by eldvno at 5:31 PM on December 3, 2013

One of my favorite treats as a kid was a frozen banana, covered in dark chocolate, on a Popsicle stick. Maybe that could be done, or with banana pieces. I think the bananas were prefrozen, and then dipped in the chocolate, so that it'd freeze on the banana.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:17 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also - I'm also allergic to peanuts, and sunflower seed butter has been the closest peanut butter analog I've been able to find, both in texture and taste. (I developed the allergy as an adult). I like the Sunbutter brand the best, and their entire factory is peanut free. It can be pricy, but Trader Joe's has sunflower seed butter that's essentially sunbutter, but in their own packaging.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:20 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mother of a child with a life-threatening peanut allergy here. I think it's super awesome and sweet that you want to do this! I wish my son had a nice accommodating auntie like you. But if you really want to keep her safe, please do be careful to make sure you've considered all ingredients carefully, and cleaned your kitchen and all of the things you use to cook with very carefully-- and also be prepared to have her say no to the food you made if she still does not feel comfortable eating it. And please try not to take it personally if she does say no, after you've gone to great effort. It's not personal. It's really tough for a kid with LTFA to manage social situations involving food made by other people in other people's kitchens (which is really, when you think about it, most social situations). It can be hard to say no when you know someone has made an effort to make something safe for you, but either forgot some detail or can't give you enough information on ingredients etc. for you to really know for sure.

Have you discussed this plan with the kid's parents? I think you definitely should to get guidance from them on safe ingredients. How allergic is she to peanuts especially? Peanut allergies tend to be more severe than other food allergies, and people tend to react to smaller amounts of peanuts than other foods. Depending on the severity of her allergy, you might have to worry about cross-contamination with peanuts in particular. And I don't just mean cross-contamination in your home-- I mean cross-contamination at the factories where the ingredients you buy are made. For example if you were to take yohko's advice and make something with almond butter, if you really want to be safe, you would need to make absolutely certain that it was almond butter from a peanut-free facility; a lot of almond butter brands are made on shared equipment with peanut butter, often with no washing of the equipment in between. There are only a couple of brands that are peanut-safe.

Chocolate of any kind is also a big concern for people with peanut allergies -- it's also often made on shared equipment. And in fact my son is so allergic to peanuts that he's had (thankfully mild) cross-contamination reactions to things you really wouldn't expect, like spices or flour or vegetable oil.

I can give you some recommendations on ingredients that would definitely be safe for her. Enjoy Life chocolate chips and chocolate chunks are free of the top 8 allergens (free of barley too, though their cookies etc. might have that as an ingredient, so watch out for those). Barney Butter almond butter is made in a peanut-free facility. You can get King Arthur's gluten-free flour in a pretty small package, actually, should you want to make a flour-ish thing, and that is also from a top-8 free facility. (Be careful if you do decide to get a different non-wheat flour, because a lot of brands use barley as a substitute! King Arthur does not.)
posted by BlueJae at 6:29 PM on December 3, 2013 [8 favorites]

Oh, and I agree with spinifex23 that Sunbutter is awesome. I eat it all the time (and I'm not allergic to peanuts -- we just have a peanut-free house for the kid's sake).
posted by BlueJae at 6:30 PM on December 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh and on the Rice Krispies treats -- the brown Rice Krispies are free of wheat and barley. The regular Rice Krispies are DEFINITELY NOT -- they use malt flavoring. Avoid avoid avoid anything that says malt in the ingredients; that is nearly always going to be barley.
posted by BlueJae at 6:38 PM on December 3, 2013

"allergic to wheat, barley, eggs, and peanuts"

Rule out Rice Krispies treats.

Standard Rice Krispies, both brand name and generic, have malt* (i.e. barley).

I'm tried to make it work with so many of the barley-free crispy rice cereals. Meh. Don't bother. You have tons of far more delicious options to make for/with her.

* note that anything with "malt", including "malt syrup", is off-limits for her. Nearly everything in the cereal aisle has it. Some ice creams do too. Grrr, barley.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:46 PM on December 3, 2013

Pannacotta is a delicious egg-free custard. Vanilla is my favourite flavour and it's best topped with fresh stone fruit or berries (fresh is awesome as is a compote made from frozen).
posted by mosessis at 4:41 AM on December 4, 2013

I think you basically mean that you want to make Cook's Illustrated Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake? Because every food allergy-stricken human I have ever met, basically cried while eating it. Same for those without food allergies.
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 12:43 PM on December 4, 2013

Wocka's recipe does look tasty, but oh my gosh it is almost impossible to find white chocolate chips that are truly peanut-free. There is ONE brand I have found so far that makes them and actually sells them in stores-- Guittard. In fact all of Guittard's chocolate, including their baking chocolate and cocoa, is made in a peanut-free facility. The reason I recommended Enjoy Life over Guittard before is that you can actually find Enjoy Life at most grocery stores (they even have it at some Targets) but in my experience, Guittard is really hard to find. There is just one grocery store local to me that stocks it -- but only seasonally, in November / December. I do also order it off the internet, but of course you can really only reasonably order chocolate off the internet when it's cold.

You can also get nut-free baking chocolate, cocoa and white and dark chips from Vermont Nut Free, but AFAIK you can ONLY get their products online or at their store in Vermont.

If you want cocoa powder, aside from Guittard, Hershey's regular cocoa powder is actually peanut-free. But not all of their chocolate is. You have to read the label with Hershey's every time.
posted by BlueJae at 3:09 PM on December 4, 2013

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