People with food allergies have a difficult time enjoying desserts. Most are made with gluten and dairy products which are very painful for food-sensitive people to digest. If this happens to you or someone you know, you will agree on how challenging it is to find a gluten-free cupcake, a dairy-free brownie, or a vegan apple pie. More organic bakeries and health food stores are opening up around the world. One particular store that may be very useful to you is Pauline’s Health Food Store, in Manalapan, NJ. The staff there is very knowledgeable on food allergens and does a great job explaining the healthy and tasty alternatives. Their products range from vitamins, supplements, organic foods, gluten and dairy-free items, and much more. I love going there just for their interesting and delicious packaged desserts. I feel good knowing the desserts I eat from Pauline’s are fresh and more wholesome than processed candy found at convenience stores.
One particular ingredient found at Pauline’s Health Food Store is Spelt. Many people with wheat sensitivities have no problem digesting this grain. Spelt has more protein than wheat which makes it tolerable to patients. Spelt flour is slightly sweet with a nutty flavor, and is great when baking rolls, breads, cookies and muffins.
Strawberry Shortcake is one of my favorite desserts. Even though I do not have any food sensitivities, I came across this particular recipe made with spelt flour and continue to make it because it is undoubtedly so moist and tender, yet sweet and creamy. I discovered this recipe from a cookbook by Erin McKenna. She is a great pastry chef and has a bakery called BabyCakes NYC offering desserts that are gluten-free, dairy-free, and so much more. This recipe is very simple to make. I must warn you though to follow the steps EXACTLY. If not, the gluten-free products will take a turn for the worse and will not be as appetizing as you hoped for.
3 cups white spelt flour, plus ½ cup for dusting
½ cup evaporated cane juice
1 ½ Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
7 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup hot water
Vanilla frosting (recipe follows)
1 ½ cups stemmed and sliced fresh strawberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, evaporated cane juice, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, and hot water to the dry ingredients. Combine until a slightly moist dough is formed.
Dust the counter generously with spelt flour. Roll the dough through the flour until it is coated on all sides. Gently pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick rectangle and cut out 12 shortcakes with a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Place the shortcakes about 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the shortcakes on the center rack for 16 minutes, rotating the sheets 180 degrees after 9 minutes. The finished shortcake will have a slightly golden, flaky crust.
Let the shortcakes cool on the sheets for 15 minutes, or until completely cool. Cut them in half horizontally and spread each side with 1 Tablespoon vanilla frosting using a small offset spatula. Spoon 1 generous Tablespoon strawberries onto one of the halves and top with the second half. Garnish with more frosting and strawberries. Store the filled shortcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
1 ½ cups unsweetened soy milk
¾ cup dry soy milk powder
1 Tablespoon coconut flour
¼ cup agave nectar
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups coconut oil
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a blender or a food processor, combine the soy milk, soy powder, coconut flour, agave nectar, and vanilla. Blend the ingredients for 2 minutes. With the machine running, slowly add the oil and lemon juice, alternating between the two until both are fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into an airtight container for 6 hours or up to 1 month.
I know how difficult it is to find indulgent dessert recipes for food sensitive people, as well as information on the matter, and places to buy hard-to-find ingredients. Below is a list of websites that may be of use to you. And don’t forget to visit or call Pauline’s Health Food Store for more healthy information. Good luck!
Pauline’s Health Food Store: 732-303-0854