The number of people in the United States with food allergies has climbed to more than twelve million. Three million of them are children (about one in twenty-five)—rates that are double what they were a decade ago. The kicker: only eight foods account for more than 90 percent of all food allergies. As a mother to one of these severely food allergic children, Cybele Pascal has masterfully created recipes that meet all the common food restrictions without compromising taste. In her book, the Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook, Cybele has created wholesome, delicious, decadent baked goods that are cholesterol-free—and also free from hydrogenated fat, most refined sugars, additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors. The book features delicious recipes that omit the least-tolerated foods (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat) as well as dairy, sesame, and gluten. With this week being Food Allergy Week on Babble, I recently caught up with Cybele who was nice enough to share her incredible recipe for Chocolate Crispy Bars, which can be found (along with many other incredible, allergen-free baked treats) in The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook. After tying this recipe, you’ll likely feel just as I did…that a trip to the bookstore is one errand I simple must make today. These little treats are absolutely amazing, and so good for your body–and your kids bodies–too! The no so good part? Trying to keep from eating all of them before the kiddo’s get home from school!
Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats
“SunButter is used in place of marshmallow as the binder in this allergen-free version of an old favorite. In addition to being delicious, this rice crispy treat is also packed with protein and vitamin E, so you can feel indulged and virtuous all at the same time. Dark Karo syrup contains molasses instead of high-fructose corn syrup, and thus is better in my opinion, but dark and light corn syrup are interchangeable”
½ cup dark Karo syrup
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup SunButter
3 cups rice crispy cereal (brown rice if available)
1 cup dairy-free, soy-free chocolate chips
1. Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan
2. Place the dark Karo syrup and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just begins to boil.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the SunButter, mixing well until combined. Add the rice crispies and mix, working quickly. Press the mixture into the pan. Set aside
4. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, stirring at 30-second increments, or melt in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the rice crispy mixture. Let cool until the chocolate layer sets. Cut into 16 square once cool.
Cybele Pascal is the award-winning author of The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook, and the Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook. She has been a guest on The Martha Stewart Show, the Food Network, the Today show, ABC News, Good Morning America Health, and NPR. She is a regular contributor to Living Without; the magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities, and her recipes have appeared in many national publications, including Good Housekeeping, Allergic Living, and NY Parent. She has also written regular columns for Oxygen Media, AOL, and Lime.com. In addition to her culinary work, Cybele is also an award-winning playwright. Pascal is the proud mother of two sons, Lennon and Montgomery. She lives in Los Angeles with her food-allergic family: husband Adam, sons Lennon and Monte, and their dogs, Izzie and Carly (who also has food allergies). For more information visit www.cybelepascal.com.
Reprinted with permission from The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook: How to Bake Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, and Sesame. Copyright © 2009 by Cybele Pascal, Celestial Arts, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo credit: Chugrad McAndrews.