Advent Calendars with Allergies

When I was a child, advent calendars meant poorly printed pieces of cardboard with small, tricky doors.  Towards the end of my childhood, chocolate advent calendars became a thing, but my Mum wasn’t impressed by this commercialisation of Christmas.  Goodness only knows what she thinks this year as we seem to have hit peak Advent Calendar.

Unfortunately, the Allergy Brothers aren’t able to take advantage of the more extreme advent calendars this year: Greggs bakery advent calendar (too gluteny), the various gin/wine/beer advent calendars (too underage), the Asda cheese advent calendar (too dairy), nor the Snaffling Pig pork scratching advent calendar (actually Allergy Little would probably love this as pork scratchings are basically a hybrid of his two favourite foods – crisps and Pepperami – so he needs to be kept away from this as long as possible for the good of his health).

We can’t even take advantage of the widely available Moo Free advent calendar, which is dairy free, gluten free, soya free, and vegan, but contains rice (an Allergy Brother allergen, no really!).  In the past we have tried the Hotel Chocolate dark chocolate advent calendar.  It is vegan and gluten free, but contains soya lecithin.  It is also good quality chocolate, which the Allergy Brothers found too much.  Two years ago, I even tried making my own chocolate coins as an advent calendar, which was a very bad idea.

This year, I think we have advent sorted.  I need to get over my childish obsession with chocolate advent calendars.  We have lovely traditional picture advent calendars provided by family friend, J, and I have finally accepted that a toy advent calendar might be the way to go.  Obviously, I can’t reveal exactly the type (click here to see what we chose), but I think it will have lots of play value beyond the Christmas season.  There are a lot to choose from with all the main toy manufacturers producing them: Lego, Megabloks, Schleich, Playmobil, Disney, Paw Patrol, etc.   I did balk at the price, but I reasoned that the Allergy Brothers miss out on lots of food treats throughout the year, and I could deduct it from Santa’s budget.  So it turns out that the answer to advent calendars with allergies might not be food at all, although the Diptyque calendar might be a step too far.

New, improved “I still want to do it myself” Chocolate Cake

I am not quite sure how this happened, but the Allergy Brothers initiated Cake Friday.  This means I bake them a cake every Friday!  This has meant that I have had the opportunity to tweak my chocolate cake recipe (the original is here; you can also see that the Allergy Brothers’ cake decorating skills are improving!).  It is still a very forgiving recipe that is easy to make.

200g gram flour

40g chestnut flour

3 tsp baking powder

200g sugar

25g cocoa powder

9 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla essence

340ml water

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Line cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Add oil and vanilla essence to the dry mixture.
  5. Gradually add water and mix well until a smooth and runny consistency.
  6. Pour cake batter into the lined tin.
  7. Bake on middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Check the cake with a skewer, if it comes out wet then bake for a further 10 minutes.

Doisy & Dam Goji & Orange Chocolate

Ingredients

Cocoa mass, Sugar, Cocoa butter, Goji berries, Orange essence, Vanilla powder.

May contain traces of nuts.

20160608_205816Allergy Little is very competent at taking things apart, but he still needs help putting them back together.  This afternoon, Allergy Little has taken this robot apart  four times, which means I have put it together three times.  Then I needed a snack break.  This organic dark chocolate was good quality and packed a punch.  Although, I didn’t think the orange flavour was very strong.  The goji berries seemed to add texture rather than flavour.  I loved the packaging and thought these bars were just the right size.  And I did put the robot back together a final, fourth time!

NuGo Dark Peanut Butter Cup

Ingredients – Dark chocolate (Unsweetened chocolate, Cane sugar, Cocoa butter), Non-GMO soy crisp (Non-GMO soy protein isolate, Tapioca starch, Salt), Tapioca syrup, Agave syrup, Non-GMO Brown crisp rice, Ground peanuts, Peanut flour, Rice bran, Gum acacia, Peanut oil, Natural flavour, Soy lecithin, Salt.

Contains Peanut and Soy.  Manufactured on equipment that also processes products containing tree nuts, milk, and egg.  Product is produced under Kosher supervision and is certified Pareve.

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I was pulling a late night working on my lap top and decided I needed something to give me an energy boost.  This definitely hit the spot. There was a generous layer of dark chocolate, and it was pretty sugary.  The NuGo bar was crispy and light too.  This bar fulfilled all my requirements and fuelled me for another hour with my nose to the spreadsheet grindstone.

 

Eli’s Earth Bars – Dream Big Bar

Ingredients – Rice milk chocolate (evaporated cane juice, rice milk powder, cocoa butter, cocoa paste, almond milk, whole vanilla bean), Brown rice syrup, Peanuts, Evaporated cane juice, Peanut oil, Sea salt.

Shares equipment with peanuts/tree nuts, may contain trace amounts of dairy protein.

I have two words for you : vegan Snickers.  My life is complete.

 

Favorina Dark Chocolate Amaretto Eggs

Ingredients
Sugar, Cocoa mass, Glucose syrup, Cocoa butter, 8% Amaretto liqueur (contains almonds), Maltodextrin, Sunflower lecithin, Vanilla extract.

May also contain milk, other nuts, soya and cereals containing gluten.
Contains alcohol.

My love of discount supermarkets is pretty well documented on this blog.  They really are fantastic sources of unexpectedly free from foods (here is my ode to Lidl; by the way, Aldi had Ilumi food in stock as a special last time I was there).  Lidl know how to make this particular Free From Mummy happy this Easter – dairy free, gluten free Easter eggs with alcohol in.  Aside from the Amaretto version, there are Advocaat eggs (which contain egg) and Irish cream eggs (that contain dairy).  I bought two bags, and I might yet survive the school holidays…