Allergen-free treats for Valentine’s Day can be hard to find since many contain dairy, eggs, wheat, nuts and chocolate. Why not try making some of your own where you can substitute carob for chocolate or change other ingredients to suit your food allergy needs? Here are two recipes that are easy to make and are sure to please those with or without food allergies on your valentine’s list.
Gluten-free Chocolate (or Carob) Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches
(makes about 4-6 sandwiches, depending on how large you make them)
You can try carob or chocolate, rice or soy milk, or gluten-free or wheat flours in this recipe. The recipe is adaptable, and it will still taste like a delicious Valentine’s Day treat.
For the "ice cream:"
1/2 cup granulated organic sugar
1 T. tapioca starch (or corn starch)
2 1/3 cups vanilla or plain rice milk (or other milk alternative, such as soy)
egg replacer for 2 eggs (or egg whites from two eggs)
1 tsp. peppermint extract
Prepare the egg replacer, whisking until foamy. Set aside. In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar and tapioca starch. Then whisk in the rice milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently. Let the mixture boil for one minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Whisk several spoonfuls of hot rice milk mixture into the egg replacer. Then whisk the egg mixture back into the saucepan of hot rice milk. Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture returns to a boil. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Place in the refrigerator to chill until freezing in an ice cream maker. Or as an alternative, freeze the mixture in the freezer and remove to let it thaw slightly just before assembling the sandwiches. Either procedure yields a tasty treat. Note: You can mix in some "safe” chocolate shavings or mini-carob or chocolate chips to the ice cream mixture just before its freezes.
For the chocolate (or carob) mint sandwiches:
1 cup brown rice flour (or other gluten-free or wheat flours)
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or use carob powder)
1 tsp. g/f baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil (your choice)
1 tsp. mint (I really love mint but if you don't use slightly less)
egg replacer for 4 eggs (or egg whites from 4 eggs)
Sift first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk together until thoroughly combined. In a small bowl, whisk together oil and egg replacer. Then add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and stir until well combined. You can cover and refrigerate the mixture until firm or skip this step. Either way works fine.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with cooking spray. Drop the dough by tablespoons, evenly spaced on the cookie sheets. Dampen your hands with cold water and flatten the balls into nice round cookies about 1/4-inch thick. You can make them bigger if you want "large" sandwiches. Bake 8-9 minutes until set but not hard. If cookies are large, they may take longer to bake. Keep an eye on them as they are baking. Remove the cookies from the pan to cool.
To assemble the ice cream sandwiches:
Soften the peppermint ice cream slightly. Spread some between two cookies. The filling should be at least twice as thick as the cookies. But I won't tell if you make it thicker. Press the cookies together gently. Put the sandwiches in a container and freeze until firm. When hard, wrap them individually in plastic wrap for storage. To serve, remove from the freezer a few minutes early to allow them to soften a bit.
Carob (or chocolate) Sunflower Seed Balls
This recipe has lots of options for ingredients to suit your allergy needs. They are so good you won’t be able to stop at one.
¾ cup sunbutter (a nut butter substitute made from sunflower seeds) Note: If you are not allergic to nuts, try almond butter or even peanut butter.
½ cup carob powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/3-1/2 cup brown rice syrup, agave nectar or honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup puffed rice or millet (or puffed wheat)
½ cup coarsely ground sunflower and pumpkin seed mixture (or chopped nuts if not allergic)
Combine the sunbutter, carob powder, cinnamon, agave nectar (sweetener) and vanilla. The dough will be stiff. Add in more sweeteners if it is too stiff. Blend in the cereal and ground seeds. Dampen your hands with cold water and shape the dough into walnut-sized balls. If desired, you may roll the balls in a variety of coatings, including carob powder, carob/cocoa powder blend, and coconut or ground seeds.