Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cake/Cookie Decorating for the Nut Allergic

In the past year, two of the products I formerly relied on are no longer nut free. Most of the time there is a suitable replacement, but meringue powder, and sanding sugar seem to be limited in the number of companies producing them. I understand it is more lucrative to make a facility gluten free rather than nut, and it isn't like those with gluten allergies have it in any way easy.

I'd take my chances with raw egg whites before meringue powder made in a facility with nuts, even if the website says the machinery is cleaned after each run. I suppose it comes down to what you are comfortable with, and how severe the allergies are. After what I saw with Danny, and the frantic trip to the hospital, I'm not willing to risk it.

I'd had a tin of Just Whites sitting on a shelf for a year or so. It didn't say anything about using it to replace meringue powder in icing cookies, but I tried it, and it was perfect! Better than the craft-store stuff by miles. The icing still comes up matte compared to icing made with egg whites, but the food colours took beautifully, nothing bled (which is always a risk with black food colouring) and it dried hard without cracking or flaking. I'm not being compensated in any way by the company (I kind of wish I were because at almost eight bucks a tin, the stuff isn't cheap).

Unfortunately, I'm on my own with sanding sugar which isn't all that difficult to tint yourself, but it is a messy pain in the behind. I'm used to doing everything myself right down to our bread and jam. Danny is taking on more and more of the cooking which is good as he'll need to feed himself eventually, but I don't see him making his own sanding sugar or fondant.

Even an overnight hotel stay involves packing up a hamper of food as we can't go out to eat, or order takeaway. That sort of thing we've adjusted to over the years, but come the holidays, or birthdays having the things that make baked goods special are growing more and more difficult to source.

If anyone knows of a nut-free source of coloured sugar, I'll be your best friend if you tell me.

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