Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are you Curious about Allergies? Just Ask!

Good Morning Sweet Shoppe Friends!

Do you have a loved one with food allergies?  Is it hard to find the perfect treat for him/her?  Are you "Curious" about whether Sarah's Sweet Shoppe can help?  Just Ask!

As a home-based bakery, we to do NOT have the protections in place to be able to accommodate a SERIOUS allergy.  That said, I am happy to speak with the customer (I would prefer to also speak with the person with the allergy or their parent) to see if I can make treats that are safe for you or your child.

Dairy-Free Curious George Cookie and Personalized Man with the Yellow Hat Special Extra

For example, I recently, was asked to make a dairy-free cake and cookies for a sweet little boy's 2nd Birthday Party.  While it was a little challenging, to learn what would be safe for him to eat, I was able to create both, with only a small added expense for special supplies.  The cookies didn't taste exactly like my standard cookies, but they were still adorable and delicious.  Because the birthday boy was small enough not to be helping himself, with the Mom's "blessing," I was even able to put the dairy and non-dairy cookies in the same box.

Dairy-Free Cookies are Marked with the Birthday Boy's Name "Tate"

For these dairy-free cookies, I was able to use "Earth Balance" as a butter substitute.  (I found it at the Walmart Supercenter, for about $5.) It worked pretty well. The cookies were not quite as soft and fluffy as they usually are.  They were more the consistency of a thick pie crust and flakey.  They also had a bit of a "nutty" taste to them, however several taste-testers said that they were yummy! ;^)

However, a preschool asked me about baking nut-free cookies for their graduation program, because several kiddos had serious nut allergies.  I had to decline this opportunity, because I do have nuts and nut products in my kitchen.  I also usually use pure Almond extract in my cookies.  Without being able to speak directly to the person with the allergies, I would not be comfortable labeling my cookies as nut-free for a buffet line.

Dairy-Free Curious George Cake~
Dark Chocolate with Dark Chocolate and Caramel Frosting
& Royal Icing Transfer Eyes

That said, a mother ordered "nut-free" cookies for a preschool class party last fall.  No one in the class had an allergy, they just had to be nut-free to meet the requirements of the school's nut-free policy.  I made those cookies with  vanilla extract, and they were OK for that class.  So, it really is an order-by-order deal.

I have also been asked about glutten-free cookies.  I have not tried them yet... but would be happy to if I had a customer who needed them.  Again, it helps me to talk to the person with the allergy challenge, so that I can save time (and expense) in researching what products work and do not work for the particular customer.  I do also have to add a small fee to cover my additional expenses, since I do not buy allergy-free products in bulk.

Dairy-Free "Tate" Cookie (right) with "Regular" cookie (left)

I have heard that it is difficult to get gluten-free cookies to taste good, but truthfully, even cardboard cutouts would decorate-up super fun! And everything tastes better with icing!  ;^)

Please do not hesitate to ask!


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