Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, Food Allergy Counselor (Picture © Noel Malcolm 2013)
Showing posts with label candy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label candy. Show all posts

Monday, January 06, 2014

Recipe: Kinnikinnick Oreo Chocolate Bark

Ooh la la!

For my holiday party this year, I made three new desserts: King Arthur Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cake with Orange Buttercream frosting, Dark Chocolate and Pomegranate bark and Kinnikinnick Oreo Chocolate Bark.

This last recipe was but far the easiest: just two “ingredients” yields fantastic results: perfect for vegans and gluten-free peeps as well as Kosher, nut-allergic and dairy-allergic friends. Also it was beloved by children and adults. The dark chocolate kept the bark from being too sweet and the sandwich cookie, well, it’s just everyone’s favorite cookie hands down. OK, maybe just me. But my 3 year old guest and my 80 year old guest both had three servings of the bark. The Kinnikinnick version of a sandwich cookie tastes so close to the “real” thing that your guests won’t know the difference. Mine certainly didn’t.

Food Allergy Tips:

Use only clean bowls and utensils to make the dessert. Give an extra wash with hot soapy water if there’s any doubt.

Once made, store away from any “allergenic” foods in your fridge by using a clean, enclosed Tupperware container that's properly labeled (e.g. Sloane's Nut-Free Dessert).

Hold on to the 
Enjoy Life Foods and KinniToos Chocolate Vanilla Sandwich Cookies bags with the labels and ingredients for anyone who asks, so they can determine if this treat is appropriate for their needs.

I used KinniToos Chocolate Vanilla Sandwich Cookies but you could use their vanilla vanilla cookies or their chocolate chocolate ones depending upon your taste. (You could also use Oreos, if suitable for your food allergy needs). 

I used the 69% dark chocolate morsels from Enjoy Life Foods which are vegan, top eight food allergen free but you can use any safe-for-you chocolate.
Now go make this right now. And try not to eat it all. 

Kinnikinnick Oreo Chocolate Bark

10 minutes, plus chilling


9 ounces (1 bag) dark chocolate morsels by Enjoy Life Foods
10 KinniToos Chocolate Vanilla Sandwich Cookies coarsely crushed, reserve a little to sprinkle on top


1.  Fit a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir until fully melted, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove the bowl from the pot and stir most of the coarsely crushed cookies into the melted chocolate.

3. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour melted chocolate mixture onto the sheet. Use a spatula to smooth the chocolate into one even layer about 1/4 inch thick (it does not need to fill the entire sheet). Sprinkle chocolate with remaining cookies and press into the chocolate. 

4. Chill the chocolate for 20 to 30 minutes or until firm. Break or cut into pieces and store in an airtight container.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Product Review: Dark Chocolate Morsels, Enjoy Life

Image courtesy of Enjoy Life Foods


Recently, one of my favorite and trusted food allergy-friendly treat manufactures, Enjoy Life Foods, released a new product: Dark Chocolate Morsels with 69% cocoa for baking. They sent me a sample of the
Dark Chocolate Morsels to try and although I haven’t yet baked with them I did taste them. And taste them again. Ahem, and again. The Dark Chocolate Morsels have a slightly fruitier taste as they are higher in cacao with a lower percentage of sugar.  But still, de-lish. 

I had an opportunity to ask Enjoy Life Foods more about this new product. Feel free to contact them directly about your food allergy needs.


Allergic Girl: Why
Dark Chocolate Morsels?

Enjoy Life Foods: We have featured semi-sweet chocolate chips for years, and about two years ago, when we introduced the Mega Chunks, we produced those in the standard semi-sweet format as well. Both products are doing extremely well in the marketplace. But our consumers kept asking for more. When we looked to introduce a third product, we saw how much people love dark chocolate, and we all know the great health benefits that Dark Chocolate offers people, so we decided this was the way to go. Early sales results indicate that we are right on target.
AG: How are they different from your Megas or Minis? For example 69% cacao, yay but what is the “normal” percentage for your chocolate chips?

ELF: The current Cacao % on our minis and megas is 52-55%.
AG: What does a higher percentage mean and why is that desirable in a chocolate confection?
ELF: The higher the percentage, the more pure chocolate in the product. One of the unique attributes of the Enjoy Life chocolate is that we do not use any soy lecithin in our product, which means more of our product is made up of pure, premium, high-quality chocolate. It is why our product tastes as good as it does, and also why it is slightly more expensive that those offered by companies using soy lecithin as a filler.
AG: How do you ensure that your chocolate is free from the top 8?
ELF: Our product is manufactured under strict guidelines to make certain that it remains Free from the Top 8 Allergens. While there is dairy in the particular facility where the product is produced, we do a double-clean out along with swabbing all equipment before and after product is produced. We also test our finished goods to make certain that there are no unstated allergens in our product.
AG: What is the ideal use for the Dark Chocolate Morsels?

ELF: People love our Dark Chocolate Morsels in all of their baked product, but we also find that people use them as a topping on yogurt, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, etc. As well, many people love them right out of the bag. Guilty!
AG: Any recipes to share? Or links to recipes that use these Dark Chocolate Morsels?

ELF: There is a great recipe on the bag of Dark Chocolate Morsels, with more to come that will be introduced on our website,
AG: Where can we buy or find more info?

ELF: As is true with many new products, it takes awhile for the new product to end up on the store shelves. Currently, the Dark Chocolate Morsels can be found at your local independent natural food store. They will soon be on the shelf at Whole Foods as well as many other supermarkets. As is true for all of our products, they can be ordered online at


FREE CHOCOLATE GIVEAWAY CONTEST on Facebook.  Please go to my Allergic Girl by Sloane Miller Facebook page for contest details!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Food Allergy Counseling: Food Allergy Friendly Halloween Tips, Jo Frost

A few weeks back I was invited to a webinar hosted by
Mylan Specialty, LLC, marketers of EpiPen that featured the Supernanny Jo Frost. Jo has had food allergies (shellfish) since she was little and it was fun to listen to her talk about how the crew on her show and the families she works with are allergen-free for the week she works with them on her show Family S.O.S. with Jo Frost.

She also gave a some solid tips to follow for Halloween, have a look at the picture.

As always: 

•    Discuss the your food allergy needs with your board certified medical provider.
•    Go over your anaphylaxis action plan
•    Have your two EpiPen epinephrine auotinjectors and emergency medications on you at all times
•    Don't hesitate to use them

Keep in mind this Allergic Girl's must-haves when managing  severe, life-threatening food allergies:

•    A thorough understanding of your food allergy diagnosis
•    An ability to clearly communicate that diagnosis to those around you
•    Support from friends and family around your diagnosis
•    Your emergency medication on hand, as well as your anaphylaxis action plan, just in case

Always consult your personal board certified medical provider about what is safe for you and your food allergic needs.

*SPECIAL OFFER: Through the end of 2013, there a 0$ co-pay program through EpiPen:*

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Surf Sweets, Review

Disclosure: Unlike Ronald Regan, I’m not a huge jellybean, sour gummy candies nor gummy bear lover. But as I know many of you are, I wanted to try Surf Sweets to report back my findings for you. I’ve heard about Surf Sweets for years from the food allergy community – what a beloved candy manufacturer Surf Sweets is! And I can see and taste why.  Genetically Modified Organism free, gluten-free, casein-free, tree nut free, peanut free – these are treats everyone can enjoy. I taste tested Surf Sweets’ jellybeans, gummy bears, sour berry bears and fruit bears from samples sent to me by Surf Sweets. I liked everything - in truth, they all tasted similar to me flavor profile wise, the major difference was texture - but all delish!

Looking for an option for this coming Easter holiday? Contact Surf Sweets for more info. Looking for some allergen-friendly jellybeans to have on hand, Surf Sweets is a great option. Thank you, Surf Sweets!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nut Free Candy List, Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board

Here's a nice list of peanut-free and tree-nut free candy and ice creams from Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board that Elizabeth Landau of linked to in her column last week. This list is  called the Peanut and Tree-Nut Free Candy list and it was published in 2012 by the Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board. 

As always, double check each of these items by reading the labels and calling the manufacturer directly to ensure its safety for your food allergy needs.

*In addition, avoid your allergens at all times, have an anaphylaxis action plan and carry your epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times.*

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Whole Foods, Yorkville, Toronto

There's been a Whole Foods in Toronto for the past ten years in tony Yorkville and I was curious what Whole Foods in Toronto had in their allergen-friendly foods category.  So, I wandered through the aisles to see what I could find. Whole Foods, like most large retail grocery stores, hasn't quite figured out where to put allergen-friendly foods: in their own aisle or mixed amongst regular foods, so they do both. Here are some picture of the old friends I found here, with French subtitles, mais oui.

Enjoy Life and Canada-based Glutino
My fave, Enjoy Life min-chocolate chip en francais!
Udi's, whee!

I picked up one new product below, from Righteously Raw. It says it's chocolate made in an allergen-free facility out of California. I'll be emailing them later. If you've tried them, let me know!


And I bumped into these cookies in the bread section (which makes no sense
Whole Foods!), pictured above by New Moon Kitchen. They had contacted me via Twitter and are sending samples of their GF, nut free line.

Checking out a local supermarket is one of the first things I do in a new city; you can tell a lot about a person, a group or a culture by what they eat. Whole Foods in Toronto is different because it's American-based but still they had local specialties - the dairy section alone was fascinating. 

Nice to meet you, Whole Foods, Toronto!


Monday, March 05, 2012

Peppermint Patties, Allergen-Free

The ingredients, half of which are organic.

Melted Divvies chocolate with mint candy disks ready for dipping.
Getting "I Love Lucy" with these patties by dipping them in chocolate.

Finished beauties of peppermint patties
These were the hit of the recent dinner party I had. So easy to make, I promise you they won't last a week.


Slightly adapted from Elizabeth Gordon's Allergy Free Desserts


Makes about 3 dozen patties

1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 1⁄2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons Light Agave syrup
12 ounces gluten-, soy-, dairy-,egg-, and nut-free semisweet chocolate chips (I used Divvies as it comes in a 12 ounce package)

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, 3 tablespoons of the short­ening, and the peppermint and vanilla extracts. Add the agave and mix thoroughly with a large spoon until mostly mixed. Then, with clean hands, pull the ingredients together to form a ball.

With a teaspoon measure, scoop out the dough and roll it into balls, then flatten to form 1⁄4-inch-thick patties. Chill the flattened patties for 30 minutes.

After the patties have chilled, combine the chocolate and the remaining 2 tablespoons of shortening in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for 10 minutes. Dip the patties in the chocolate mixture so they are completely coated, then place the patties on wax or parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator and let the peppermint patties dry for at least an hour before serving.

Store the completely dried patties, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Hosting an Allergic Guest, Tips

*UPDATED March 15, 2012*

Another nice idea, ask your allergic guest if they have favorite brands that they like that you can easily purchase to use in your meal like safe pasta, safe bread, safe cookies.


Tonight, I’m having a secular Shabbat dinner for 12 and there will be an allergic boy in the house. It’s always interesting to host someone with different allergies. J’s allergic to allergic to yeast, dairy, mushrooms and peanuts. And I will have two Kosher guests as well. Think it’s tricky? No problem for this allergic girl.

Above is my shopping cart (yes, those are Peeps you see on top).

Here’s what I’m making, which is top 8 allergen-free:

Corned beef – Mosey’s

Vegan main plate:
Baked sweet potato
Steamed kale & collard greens
Sauteed lentils

Sloane-made peppermint patties
Strawberries & oranges

And here are my best tips in a quick list for hosting an allergic guest:
·      I asked for his full list of allergies, ahead of time
·      I sent him my menu, ahead of time
·      I made slight adjustments to my menu (I scratched using mustard/wine/vinegar, not needed)
·      Anything that had a label or package, I kept
·      All pots, pans & utensils were given a second wash pre-use
·      All highly touched surfaces will get an antibacterial wipe down (I have dairy in my home)          
·      My allergic guest will get a tour of the kitchen, the ingredients & the meal upon arrival if he likes
·      My allergic guest will be the first served if he likes


Do you host allergic girl or boys other than your own? How do you make adjustments?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Allergen-Free Chocolate Mousse?

I haven’t tried this recipe yet but I dare you to with your favorite allergen-free chocolate.

(NB: suggestions for allergen-free chocolate are on my newsletter  – sign up on the right!)

What is it? It’s a mousse made with two ingredients, chocolate and water. Read more from the website and make sure to watch the video.

I’m so trying this for my next get together.Or next evening home with a friend. Who likes chocolate.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guittard Chocolate, Allergen-Friendly

I met the Guittard company in 2010, at the Natural products Expo East. In business since the 1850s, Guittard creates chocolate confections for retail consumers and commercial food manufacturers as well as chefs. Their chocolate comes in blocks, bars, chips, powders and discs for easy melting. It is also country specific, cocoa content specific and made by hand. All which means that Guittard is serious about chocolate. 

And all that seriousness usually that means nuts for many candy, confection and chocolate manufacturers. At the very least, it doesn’t not mean nuts. Many chocolate companies of this caliber don’t or can’t guarantee that they don’t have nuts in the facility everywhere. Or they don’t have a clear policy in place. Or they may have a policy but they may not communicate that policy or stance on their company website.

Not so with Guittard. At the 2010 Natural Products Expo East, I talked with a regional sales representative who said: “We are gluten-free and peanut-free and I will have to check about tree-nuts.” (Their packaging now has “produced in a peanut-free and gluten-free facility” right on the package, see above.) The sales rep followed up a few weeks later, sending me samples to try and a document with the full food allergen scoop. Here is Guittard's allergen statement (PDF) and here is  their allergen information on their website’s FAQ.

From the Guittard website:

Q: Are your chocolate products gluten-free?
A: Our products and our processing are gluten free.

Q: Do your chocolate products contain nuts?
A: While our facility is peanut-free, almonds are used in some chocolate products made at GuittardClick here to view our comprehensive statement about the use of almonds at Guittard.

They are not dairy free or soy free.


The presence of almonds in their facility did not deter me from trying with a safe friend with meds at the ready. I had no reactions and have now tried several of their products since without issue. Including the chickpea chocolate cluster recipe by Chic Naturals that I reviewed so glowingly recently.

*"May contain" labeling is a very individual decision and one you should discuss with your allergist for the best plan for you.*

The Guittard chocolate is delish, they have a full range of options and they are in Whole Foods  as well as other retails outlets and are available on as well.


Thank you  Guittard for making a delicious line of chocolate confections.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Junior Mints

I had heard that Tootsie rolls, and their other candies and facility, were nut-free but didn’t think too much about it. I'm not a huge candy eater. But darn it, if Bed, Bath & Beyond’s sales trick didn’t get me. I was making a return a few weeks ago and Peppermint Junior Mints were at hand level at the counter, I picked them up and read their ingredients and allergen statements. Nut-free and gluten-free?

When I got home the website confirmed it.

All Tootsie products are:
    •    Gluten-Free (All Tootsie products are gluten free except Andes cookies.)
    •    Peanut-Free
    •    Nut Product-Free
Tootsie does not use wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale, spelt, or any of their components, either as ingredients or as part of the manufacturing process. Corn and soy products are used during the manufacturing process.

Thank you Tootsie company for your ongoing commitment to doing what you do best - without nuts!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Food Allergy-Free Foods

My book Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies hit the real and virtual shelves in February 2011 and I’ve been on the go-go-go all year long. I did almost 40 speaking events to support its publication (not including press). I spoke at national foodservice, hospitality and product conferences, national non-profit organizations, culinary institutions, food allergy fundraisers, food allergy and celiac disease support groups and online food allergy and celiac disease groups.

Several food allergy-free food companies supported these events by sending along free samples for everyone to enjoy while we talked about how to live your best life safely, effectively and joyously with any dietary restriction. These are companies that have clear food allergen policies, and I’ve used their products safely and often without issue. For your allergic needs, please contact them directly.

In alphabetical order:

Thank you all for your support!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Indie Candy


Generally speaking, I like products (and I like to review products) that you can just go into your local supermarket or natural food store and purchase easily, which means I don’t usually review online stores.

However, as Halloween is coming up, and the question of where to buy safe, allergen-free candy is on everyone’s mind, I’d thought I’d share an online store, new to me, that both creates and carries candies free of the top eight allergens.

Indie Candy sent me a pineapple lollipop (that I didn’t try), lime jellies that were soft, fragrant and chewy and a Jack-O-Lantern chocolate pop. The chocolate was the one item that I was most interested in, as it’s difficult to find good quality chocolate. This pop had that fruity-like aroma of dark chocolate, good mouthfeel and wasn’t overly sweet. Pretty much, one bite and I was in
Proustian pop-heaven. Why the madeline-tinged reverie? When I was a kid, there were Howard Johnson’s every few miles along the Long Island Expressway. On our way out to our country home on the south fork of Long Island, we would stop at ‘HoJo’s” for lunch. Invariably, I’d beg for, and sometimes get, one of their chocolate-pops, tantalizingly stationed by the check-out. The pops were round circles of milk chocolate with white centers that had a picture on it. Such a treat, chocolate on a stick.

So back to this Jack-O-Lantern chocolate pop by Indie Candy that sent me into chocolate pop recollections, I wanted to know more about Indie Candy, their manufacturing and purchasing, how they source their ingredients, cross-contamination and their top eight free status.

From Indie Candy and reprinted with their permission:

Our facility is completely big 8 allergen free, so there is not an opportunity for cross contamination within our facility.

Our chocolate that we use to make our chocolate products is made in a dedicated nut and gluten free facility. This facility also process soy and dairy. However, this product is produced on a dedicated dairy and soy free line. The ingredients are additionally tested to ensure strict allergen control standards are met. Because of this, our chocolate products are certified gluten free/vegan and CFC Pareve.

We work with our ingredient suppliers to ensure that each product that goes into our products is also Big 8 allergen free. For example, our extracts are made for us to be allergen free and use sunflower oil as a basis rather than the more common soy oil. Most companies just purchase "off the shelf" industrial extracts and may not be aware of the ingredients in the flavor extracts or colors they use. Our flavors are "from the named fruit" and only from the named fruit - so mango is only made from mango, etc. "From the named fruit" is a specific methodology used in flavor making and is just like it sounds.

Since our products are designed to be allergy friendly, we thoughtfully review every step and every ingredient in the process and limit any opportunity for cross contamination.

Also, because we have deep knowledge about each ingredient, if a customer has a non-typical allergy (mango for example - in our line, just don't any thing that is Mango flavored), we can answer their questions and direct them to appropriate products.

Since I am my own customer (I can't have gluten and I have a son with multiple food intolerances), I am very aware of the issues with food production and allergies/intolerances.

Hanson Watkins, Indie Candy

Retailers, wholesalers and parents can go online and place orders through Indie Candy’s website at or phone in orders at 205.835.0094. Indie Candy’s Halloween candy will be available until October 31, 2010.


If you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to them as they were very receptive to questions as you just read above and I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween.