I have a chronic sweet tooth, so my favorite part of the holidays is baking and exchanging cookies, cakes, pies and other treats. Having some dietary restrictions, however, I sometimes get left out. Allergies, intolerances, ethics, religion — there are many reasons someone could have dietary restrictions. While most people want to accommodate everyone at the table, learning to bake in an entirely different way can be daunting. Luckily, these specialized cookbooks have you covered! They not only offer recipes for holiday sweets, but also walk you through how to substitute certain common ingredients. Using those tips, you could even tweak your own family recipes to make them suitable for everyone on your holiday gift list.
Veganism is a growing movement. Whether for health or ethical reasons, the vegan in your life will be thrilled to have some holiday treats to enjoy too. As an added bonus, vegan food is by default both kosher and halal (provided there is no alcohol), so these desserts are suited to most major religious diets as well! The Joy of Vegan Baking can walk you through some delicious, plant-based sweets. Watch out for sprinkles — they often contain animal-derived confectioner’s glaze or shellac.
For various health reasons, many are avoiding gluten. This can be especially difficult around the holidays because flour is the main ingredient in most cookies, cakes and pies. If you’re looking to go against the grain, Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays can help. This book covers all of the holiday classics, and there is even a recipe for a gluten-free gingerbread house! Be sure to use gluten-free oats; though oats are gluten-free in and of themselves, cross contamination can often happen in fields or mills.
Living with food allergies can be tough, especially when you have to watch the people around you indulge. Unfortunately, many of the most common allergens (gluten, dairy, eggs, etc.) are integral to traditional baked goods. Learning to Bake Allergen Free offers recipes and tips for avoiding some of the major allergenic players: wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and nuts. Be sure to use safe cooking practices when accommodating a severe allergy, such as washing dishes, hands and surfaces that have come into contact with problematic ingredients.
Learning new recipes and baking techniques can be tough, but you may end up with some new favorites! Still, even if your creations are less than perfect, your loved one will likely be touched that you thought of them.