Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Cookbook: A Book Review

A month or so ago, Debbie Adler from Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats (and the famous Los Angeles Bakery) contacted me to see if I would be open to reviewing her new allergy-free and vegan cookbook due to hit the shelves in November 2013.  In the food allergy community we all have so much to learn from each other, and I am honored she chose to share all the lessons she has learned with me!  I couldn’t wait to hear more about her story and check out her book!
I was thrilled to find a perfect little package waiting on my front porch full of allergy-free goodness!  In addition to her book, Debbie was kind enough to send a few samples of recipes from her new cookbook.  So I actually have baked goods and a book to review!
The cookbook, Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes, focuses on gluten, egg, dairy, soy, sugar, and nut-free baked goods.  I love that Debbie caters to the food allergy community by creating her recipes to be free of several of the top eight most common food allergens.  Even better is the fact that she makes over some of the most allergy-laden desserts and breads in the world of baking to be “safe” foods.  And while all of her recipes in the book are vegan as well, I’ll admit upfront that currently a vegan lifestyle isn’t part of my family’s day to day routine.
Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats Cookbook
For me, what sets Debbie’s cookbook apart is her candidness and dedication about her baking journey.  She was simply a woman who ate “frozen yogurt for lunch and cookie dough ice cream” for after dinner before deciding enough was enough.  Debbie began experimenting with baking and after a lot of self-professed trial and error opened her own Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes bakery.
Several years later, her son was diagnosed with “life-threatening allergies to almost every food in the USDA pyramid, except salt,” and Debbie went back to the drawing board to remake all of her bakery treats free of dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, gluten, nuts, and sugar.
That last little paragraph just wraps it up all nice and neat with a little bow, doesn’t it?  Sounds so simple to do…just remake every recipe you’ve ever created to be allergy friendly.  Now come clean…how many of you know the allergy-free baking process to be that simple?  What?  No takers?  Glad I’m not the only one.
Allergy friendly and vegan baking isn’t a success story that comes easy when you are tinkering in your own kitchen.  Luckily, Debbie’s hours and hours in the kitchen of doing exactly that make the road ahead downright smooth for the rest of us!  For that alone, I am extremely grateful!
Coming from a non-vegan background, I love the way Debbie uses the chapter one to educate her reader about the origin and purpose of each of her go-to ingredients.  In addition to creating a detailed tool kit listing for her recipes, chapter two lays out frosting, mixing, wrapping, and sweetening techniques.
Because of Debbie’s dedication to the vegan lifestyle, I’ll admit to not having some of these ingredients in my pantry or even know exactly where to find them when shopping.  With that said, Debbie was kind enough to send me several samples to taste that have me convinced a trip to the grocery store might be in order:

  • Dark Chocolate Drizzle Cranberry Macaroon:  This decadent cookie was a little piece of heaven.  It was deliciously moist and sweet, and unbelievably sugar-free and allergy-friendly.  This was my favorite!  :)
  • Sweet Cranberry Hemp Bar:  I could almost taste the golden goodness in each bite.  It had a nutty flavor mixed with sweet cranberries.  This would be a great alternative to a regular granola bar.
  • Sunflower Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie:  I’ll be honest here, I’m a sucker for anything with sunflower seed butter, so I think this one speaks for itself.  :)

Bottom Line:  I think Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes is a fabulous resource for allergy-free and vegan bakers.   As a fellow food allergy mom, Debbie’s story fills me with hope and confidence that decadent allergy friendly and healthy baked treats exist and can find their beginnings in each one of us!

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