SOURCE: Author Cybele Pascal

January 27, 2010 08:10 ET

Valentine's Day Sweets -- Anyone Can Eat, From "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook," by Bestselling Allergen-Free Cookbook Author Cybele Pascal

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - January 27, 2010) - Scrumptious Double Choco Chunk Cookies, Red Velvet Cake, Linzer Heart Cookies and Cherry Oat Scones that most anyone can eat, regardless of their food allergies or intolerances? Vegan and healthy, too? Yes, it's true! These are just a handful of the 100 delicious "Free-to-Eat" sweets in Cybele Pascal's brand new bestseller, "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" (Celestial Arts, Division of Random House, January 2010, ISBN: 978-1-58761-348-7, $25). If you're looking for safe, healthy, fantastic treats that can be fed to all your favorite valentines, look no further. "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" features 100 tried and true delicious recipes that are completely free of all top allergens responsible for 90% of food allergies: wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish and shellfish, and they are gluten-free. But instead of focusing on what you can't eat, Pascal focuses on what you CAN. These sweets are allergen-free, but FLAVOR-FUL.

Whether you or your loved ones have food allergies, celiac disease, are vegan, or are just trying to eat more healthfully this Valentine's Day, everyone can share and show love by baking Pascal's simple treats. "I love baking my recipes with my kids for their class, or making a dessert buffet for parties, and watching the treats get gobbled up by everyone, food-allergic or not," says Pascal who started cooking allergen-free when her son was diagnosed with severe food allergies in 2001. With a pantry stocked with allergen-free chocolate chips, rice milk, dairy-free, soy-free shortening, and many other helpful tips listed in the "Stocking the Pantry" section of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook," Pascal guides readers through easy preparation of these delicious, allergen-free recipes.

Already a bestselling and award-winning author for "The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook," Pascal's brand new cookbook is garnering rave reviews, from both readers and the trades. Publisher's Weekly calls the book a "winning collection," and Library Journal gave it a coveted Starred Review, saying, "'The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook' is an excellent title for both allergen-conscious bakers and vegan cooks."

Pascal has been a guest on "The Martha Stewart Show," Martha Stewart Sirius Radio, the Food Network, the "Today" show, ABC News, NPR and many other shows. She is a regular contributor to "Living Without," the magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities. Her recipes have appeared in many national media outlets, including AOL, Oxygen Media, Good Housekeeping, Allergic Living, and NY Parent.

Here she shares her recipe for Double Choco Chunk Cookies and the Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix you use to prepare them.

Recipes reprinted with permission from "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook: How to Bake Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, and Sesame." Copyright © 2009 by Cybele Pascal, Celestial Arts, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo credit: Chugrad McAndrews.

                        Double Choco Chunk Cookies
                         makes 24 2-inch cookies

These chewy, brownie-like cookies contain a double dose of chocolate and
are full of Enjoy Life Boom Choco Boom chunks. They're perfect for every
chocoholic (and I should know!).

1 1/4 cups Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix (recipe follows)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup rice milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup Enjoy Life Rice Milk Boom Choco Boom bars, chopped into chunks (about
4 [1.4-ounce] bars), or 1 cup dairy-free, soy-free chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine the flour mix, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, cream of
tartar, and salt. Mix thoroughly, being sure to work out any lumps of cocoa

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine
the canola oil and rice milk, mixing on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add
the vanilla and sugar. Mix for 20 seconds.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on low speed, scraping down
the sides of the bowl. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

5. Scoop out the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls and place on the baking
sheets, 12 per sheet. Wet your hands with a little water and roll the dough
into balls, moistening your hands again as necessary.

6. Bake in the center of the oven for 12 minutes, until just set. Do not
overcook, as chocolate burns easily. You want the inside to remain chewy,
not dry.

7. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before
transferring to a cooling rack.

                       Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix
                              makes 6 cups

The key to the very best gluten-free baked goods is Authentic Foods
superfine brown rice flour; it is the Cadillac, or cashmere, of brown rice
flours and is worth its weight in gold. It is not grainy like other rice
flours, and bakes the most fantastic cookies, cakes, pie crusts, and so on.
If you can't find it at your local natural foods market or Whole Foods,
order it online. Both Ener-G and Bob's Red Mill brown rice flours will also
work in these recipes, but they won't turn out quite as well. I do not
recommend Arrowhead Mills brown rice flour, which I find too gritty. The
brands of potato starch and tapioca flour or starch are not important; I
find them all interchangeable.

4 cups superfine brown rice flour
1 1/3 cups potato starch (not potato flour)
2/3 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

1. To measure flour, use a large spoon to scoop flour into the measuring
cup, then level it off with the back of a knife or straightedge. Do not use
the measuring cup itself to scoop your flour when measuring! It will
compact the flour and you will wind up with too much for the recipe.

2. Combine all ingredients in a gallon-size zipper-top bag. Shake until
well blended. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

"The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" is available through booksellers everywhere. For more information on Cybele Pascal and to watch video segments of her preparing some of her recipes, visit

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