I hope everyone had a safe, nut-free holiday season so far. New Year's is next so please keep on being cautious if you're attending parties and gatherings with nut-allergic family members.
I recently received a great question from a blog reader and since many of you may be in the same boat, I wanted to share it. This reader wanted to know what to do about an Easy Bake Oven that her daughter had received for a gift. Many of you may already know that these ready-made mixes have several food allergy warnings including peanuts and tree nuts.
I was in the same situation a few years ago. In fact, my daughter's first Easy Bake Oven and nut allergy diagnosis occurred within months of each other. Back in 2004 when we were new to nut allergies, the Easy Bake mixes did NOT contain any food allergy warnings so we used them. It wasn't too long before the allergy advisory warnings showed up and that definitely put a damper on our mini oven baking!
Luckily, I discovered several cookbooks on Amazon.com (all self-published, I think) that dealt with Easy Bake Ovens and I ordered one--the Baking with Mommy Cookbook by Kristen Joyal. The book is geared towards any kid-sized oven. Even though some of the recipes contained nuts or peanut butter, there were many that didn't or could be altered by leaving out nuts as an ingredient.
Take a spin on Amazon.com--there could be even more of these books by now. In the meantime, here is one of our favorite recipes for homemade Easy Bake chocolate cake mix. The best part is that you make it in large quantities and then store it in a sealable plastic bag. You'll have baking mix whenever you want it and you'll save $$.
I tweaked this from the original recipe and it works great.
Nut-Free Chocolate Cake Mix for Easy Bake Ovens
1 1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's or Vermont Nut-Free www.vermontnutfree.com)
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight bag or container
To make a cake: Mix 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cake mix with 1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine and 1/2 a beaten egg (you can also use egg subsitute like Egg Beaters)
Pour into Easy Bake baking pan that's been greased and floured
Bake in mini oven for about 15 minutes.
Use this same basic recipe to make yellow cake mix as well--just leave out the cocoa. I'd add a little vanilla with the wet ingredients for better flavor.
Now, enjoy those Easy Bake Ovens!