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BellaOnline's Allergies and Colds Editor

Allergen-free Valentine's treats

Finding Valentineís treats for yourself or someone else with multiple food allergies can be challenging. More food producers are catering to the needs of those with food allergies but pre-made treats that eliminate several ingredients, such as dairy, eggs, gluten, nuts and chocolate, are difficult to locate.

The solution is to cook up some treats of your own. Youíll save money and be able to make the changes necessary to suit your food allergy needs. Try giving your favorite recipe a makeover by substituting carob for chocolate or rice or soy milk for regular milk. You probably wonít be able to tell any difference.

Here is a recipe to try. Most of the substituting has already been done.

Gluten-free Chocolate or Carob Cake or Cupcakes
(Recipe makes two nine-inch layers or 36 cupcakes.)

Let your food sensitivities guide you in making this recipe. You can use chocolate or carob; rice, hemp or soy milk; gluten-free or wheat flours; eggs or egg replacer; butter or shortening.

For the cake or cupcakes:

1 cup hot brewed coffee
1 cup cocoa or carob powder
1 cup hot water
3 cups gluten-free flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 cup shortening or oil
2 ľ cups sugar or evaporated can juice
4 large eggs or equivalent egg replacer
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour cake pans or cupcake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coffee, cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and powder, salt and xanthan gum. Set aside.

In an electric mixer bowl, beat the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes, on medium-high speed. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing. Mix in the vanilla.

Blend half the dry ingredients into the wet batter on medium speed. Then, add half the cocoa mixture and blend in. Add the remaining dry ingredients and cocoa mixture, and blend until smooth for about two minutes.

Spoon the batter into sprayed and floured cake pans or cupcake tins. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Check the cake often as baking time may vary. Check doneness with a toothpick which should come out clean.

Remove the cake or cupcakes from the oven and cool in their pans for 20 minutes. Then, turn the cake out onto a wire rack to continue cooling before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

1 cup coconut milk
8 ounces gluten-free, dairy free chocolate or carob chips

Bring coconut milk to a boil. Pour the milk over the chocolate or carob chips and whisk until the chips melt and the mixture is smooth. Set the mixture aside to cool and thicken before frosting cakes or cupcakes.

Donít Feel Like Baking

Maybe you want a Valentineís treat or gift but you donít want to make it yourself. Check out www.premiumchocolatiers.com. They offer dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free and egg-free chocolates. Prices start at about $23.50.

Another option is www.choclat.com which offers vegan, gluten-free and nut-free chocolates. A minimum purchase of $20 is required.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Sheree Welshimer. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Sheree Welshimer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Sheree Welshimer for details.

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