Holiday Baking: Dessert Tips For Guests With Dietary Restrictions
Getting everything ready for the holidays can be hectic. Running around to find the perfect gifts for your entire family, tree-trimming or outdoor Christmas decorations, and taking on the family dinner is more than enough for anyone to handle. In all the holiday commotion, it can be pretty easy to forget details such as your guests' minor allergy information, dietary restrictions or food preferences. You can't bake with everyone in mind, and it's easy to forget your second cousin's soy allergy if nobody reminded you in advance. However, if you're baking with allergies in mind, you'll have to make some modifications. Try these dietary tips to simplify your holiday baking.
Dairy is a common ingredient in baked goods, which makes it difficult for your lactose-intolerant guests to enjoy many types of dessert. However, lactose intolerance can't be confused with dairy allergies, which can be much more dangerous and possibly life threatening. In fact, the presence of dairy products like milk or yogurt in a baked dessert doesn't necessarily mean guests intolerant to lactose will experience any discomfort. There are options available if you want to avoid baking with milk or butter. Non-dairy milk or margarine can get the job done, and there are some great dessert recipes that are completely dairy free.
Soy & Eggs
Soy allergies are very common, especially in kids. Although most kids tend to outgrow their soy allergy before their teenage years, even a mild allergy can trigger a reaction. Soy is in so many different products, from the obvious, like soybean oil, to lesser-known baking ingredients, such as natural or artificial flavorings. It can even be in eggs due to the fact that many farms use soy in chicken feed. As with soy allergies, kids allergic to eggs usually outgrow it before adulthood. When baking for egg allergies, there are several good egg substitutes, including applesauce for brownies, yogurt for cakes and a binding agent like cornstarch or vegetable oil for cookies.
Peanuts & Other Nuts
The dreaded peanut allergy can cause serious allergic reactions for many people. However, it's easy to avoid using peanuts in your holiday desserts. If you do happen to have a family member with a peanut allergy or an allergy to tree nuts, it isn't worth the risk to try out a new recipe with those ingredients. Save recipes with nuts for after the holidays, or be sure to double check with adult guests on whether or not the inclusion of a dessert with peanuts will affect them. Also, be aware that some companies that package nuts allow peanuts to come into contact with other tree nuts. To be safe, get into the habit of reading food labels.
Wheat Allergies & Gluten-Free
Baking can get complicated when you've got someone coming over with a wheat allergy. Most people with a wheat allergy know the difficulty of working around certain grains in their diets, but don't let that stop you from preparing a thoughtful, wheat-free dish. Substitutes for wheat include barley, oats, rice and even tapioca, as well as wheat-free flours. Just be sure to check if children, especially toddlers, with wheat allergies are also allergic to other types of grain. Celiac disease or gluten-intolerance is different from a wheat allergy. Ingesting gluten will not cause anaphylaxis, but it may cause other uncomfortable symptoms and damage over time.
Strawberries & Other Fruits
Strawberries are a common ingredient in a lot of holiday desserts. While you might be trying to lighten up your dessert menu with healthier options, for people with an allergy to strawberries, that healthy dish could be a life-threatening health hazard. Similar to peanuts, it's important to read labels and research whether other fruit has come into contact with strawberries if you're going to try a substitute fruit. Though less rare, don't be surprised if you encounter kiwi, citrus fruits or tomato allergies. While many fruit allergies are related to an allergy to certain pollens, many with latex allergies also have trouble eating fruits because certain fruits contain latex.
The most efficient way to combat allergies is to make yourself aware before you start baking. Find the kitchen gear to get baking for Thanksgiving and Christmas at The Lakeside Collection, and stock up on other items for the holidays like Christmas gift bags to wrap presents in style.