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My Review of The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook

Posted Sep 25 2010 12:47pm
With Fall baking season approaching, I thought this would be a good time to include another one of my book reviews!  Below is my review of Cybele Pascal's The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook as it appeared in summer edition of The Vegetarian Nutrition Update.  Enjoy!The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbookby Cybele Pascal. Celestial Arts, 2009; 189 pages; $25.00; ISBN 978-1-58761-348-7
Cybele Pascal is a food writer and has also authored The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook and The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  She, her husband, and two sons all have various food allergies and missed many of their favorite treats; her answer was to develop The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook.  The book contains 100 vegan recipes for baked goods made without gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame.  

The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook starts with a chapter on stocking your pantry which describes types of flours, oils, chocolates, and other ingredients, and provides suggestions for brand names and stores.  Pascal also includes information on recommended kitchen tools and provides details on how to replace potential allergens.   The remaining chapters include recipes for muffins, cookies, cakes, pies, yeasted baked goods, and savories.  A resource section provides information on food and equipment sources and organizations providing support for people with food allergies. With the rise in diagnosed food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances, more consumers are in need of a resource like The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook for occasions when they want to indulge in a treat.  

The two recipes I tried (Snickerdoodles and Basic Scones) turned out good, not great; I could definitely tell they were gluten-free.  I’ll have to try them again with the superfine brown rice flour that she recommends (I wasn't able to locate the specific brand for my test batches) and see if they turn out better.  The only thing missing from this book is nutritional information for the recipes.  Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be able to bake a variety of foods and who must avoid gluten and other common allergens. 
Reviewed by Christine E. Marquette, RD, LD, CLT, ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist© 2010, Vegetarian Nutrition Update Newsletter; Vegetarian DPG, a dietetic practice group of the American Dietetic Association.  Used with permission.
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