Allergy Friendly Sugar Cookie

Allergy Friendly Sugar Cookie

On December 1st we made our first Christmas cookie of the season! I decided to start with the classic sugar cookie. Im not sure if you guys have watched ‘Christmas Cookie Challenge’ on the Food Network but it is my FAVORITE holiday show. I am in awe of watching how these bakers can make delicious cookies and then decorate them to perfection. In my area, there are not a lot of options for beautifully decorated allergy friendly cookies. That is my goal this year. I want to learn how to decorate safe cookies! So I have to start somewhere!

We decided to make a classic sugar cookie by taking a recipe for a typical sugar cookie and subbing out the butter and wheat flour for safe options. Here is the recipe below!

Allergy Friendly Sugar Cookie

  • 2 and 1/4 cups of Gluten Free flour
    • We used King Arthur flour. There is a ‘shared lines’ warning on the bag but after researching their cleaning procedures and calling the company, I feel safe giving it to Olivia and we haven’t had any problems!
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 season salt
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance butter, room temperature
    • We used the one containing soy, but there is an option that is free of soy!
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Put that bowl to the side – we don’t need it yet!
  2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together at high speed. Then add the egg and vanilla and beat until all the wet ingredients are combined.
  3. Remember that first bowl of dry ingredients? Go grab it! Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. If the dough feels a little too sticky, add a pinch more flour to the batter.
  4. Separate the dough into 2 equal parts and place one of the halves to the side. Place a piece of parchment paper on your surface and lightly coat with gluten free flour.
    1. If you are baking with a toddler, beware! “Sprinkle with flour” to a toddler means pour an entire cup of flour onto the entire counter and floor…
  5. Lightly coat the rolling pin with gluten free flour and roll out the first half of the dough onto the parchment paper, to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Put this on a cookie sheet. Do the same to the second half of dough but this time you dont need another cookie sheet!
  6. Place a new piece of parchment paper on top of the first rolled out dough, and then place the parchment paper containing your second rolled out dough onto the first and new piece of parchment paper.
    1. I included that second middle piece of parchment because with Olivias food allergies I like that extra barrier between food and what touched my counter. I know my surfaces are safe but for me, it just brings me peace of mind!
  7. Cover this tower of doughs with tin foil and put it in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days!
  8. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut the dough into festive shapes! Keep re rolling the extra dough to make more cookies into shapes! If you feel the dough is starting to get soft and sticky, put it back into the fridge for a few minutes to get it chilled back down!
    1. I think if you are making these cookies on your own, you shouldn’t have to re-chill the dough, but with a toddler taking their sweet time to cut the cookies, our dough started to get really warm and loose its shape.
  9. Put the beautifully shaped (or in our case mishappened cookies) onto the parchment paper prepared cookie sheets. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes.
  10. Allow the cookies to cool and then enjoy!

In a perfect world, I would have then decorated these cookies with a safe royal icing but I am still looking for a good recipe to use! So for now, here is our recipe for a yummy gluten free sugar cookie!! They were Olivia and daddy approved!

Comment below how your cookies came out! Any suggestions for how we can make them even better??

Next up, Sunbutter kiss cookies!

What is PFV?

Our Latest Adventures, Retina & Cataract Removal, Strabismus Surgery

Persistent Fetal Vasculature or PFV is a developmental disorder that occurs at birth. In utero, the eye is built by the body using different structures – called stalks. In a typical child, the stalk will regress or wither away when it is done building the eye. In people with PFV, the stalk fails to regress causing structural abnormalities that usually lead to impairment in their vision (ASRS). In most cases, PFV will only affect one eye.

When looking at the eye, you will first see the cornea, followed by the Pupil, Iris and lens. But, the structure doctors look at first when dealing with a PFV case is the Retina. The retina is a thin layer of nerve tissue that is very light-sensitive that sits at the back of the eye. When a person sees light, the light enters the eye through the Iris and heads to the back of the eye where the light is processed into images which are focused and reported up to the brain, producing sight. Since the connecting the retina to the front of the eye never retreated in people presenting with PFV, the light is unable to filter properly through the Iris and its trip to the retina is disrupted. This causes poor to no vision in these individuals. This disorder usually does not progress after birth but as the eye continues to grow, the stalk and its components will not grow with it. As the stalk holds back other structures of the eye, it may cause other issues moving forward. The stalk may cause the retina to detach or the person’s eye to develop cataracts.

As you can see from many discovery stories on our blog, diagnosis of PFV is hard to come by. Some are lucky enough to spot it at birth but in others, it may present itself in other ways that lead to misdiagnosis. For example, PFV can present itself as the child being cross eyed (Stabismus), having abnormal eye movements (nystagmus) and as having a lazy eye (amblyopia) (ASRS). In many people with PFV, the affected eye will appear smaller than the other, however this isn’t the case for everyone.  When a doctor believes the person may have PFV, they will look at the back of the eye to see if the stalk is present. Ultrasounds or MRI scans may be required to rule out other disease like Retinoblastoma – a rare tumor that may present itself on the back of the eye. 

When Retinoblastoma is ruled out, the doctor may suggest surgery to remove the lens, remove the stalk and in some cases, reattach the retina.  The surgery may not completely restore the childs’ vision to a state of “normal” but, without the stalk holding back the structures of the eye, the function of the eye can be improved and the affected eye may grow at a typical rate post surgery (ASRS). 

For most children and families, post surgery starts an entirely new journey. A contact lens is usually prescribed to children who had their lens removed during surgery. They may also get glasses to use instead of or in addition to the contact lens. Soon after surgery, your child may begin patching therapy to help with their strabismus or amblyopia. 

Unfortunately, peer reviewed studies of people with PFV are far and few between. When you do a general search of PFV, you will be directed to articles published that are full are very medical terms with a lot of conjecture and not many reliable numbers. The truth is, PFV is rare and doctors simply have not had the opportunity to study this disorder to its fullest potential. Until more research is done, we will continue to share what we have learned from these various medical journals and will continue to hope for more research moving forward!

No Nut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Food Allergies, Our Latest Adventures

Yes! It’s true! Even with food allergies, your kiddos can eat (almost) the same foods as everyone else! Today, we are going to talk about the typical Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich, but this time, no nuts allowed! This recipe has no peanut, tree nuts, wheat/gluten, or dairy!

One of Olivia’s new favorite meals:

No nut butter sandwich on wheat free bread, avocados with salt and fresh raspberries. Seems so simple, but in a household where we never thought Olivia could eat typical food, this simple, regular lunch is anything but simple.

Udi’s soft white sandwich bread (contains eggs)

Polaner All Fruit grape jelly (confirmed via email from B&G Foods, Inc that this grape jelly is made in a facility that does not produce products that contain dairy or wheat and that their ingredient list and allergen information will let you know if anything changes)

Sunbutter or Wowbutter – Sunbutter is free of the top 8 allergens in their product and in their facility: peanuts, tree nuts, soy, dairy, eggs, wheat, fish and shellfish. Wowbutter contains soy but is free of peanut, gluten, egg and diary and is manufactured in a facility that only contains soy.

When your child has food allergies, it can sometimes feel like there are very few options when it comes to quick and easy meals! I hope this idea of a simple no nut butter and jelly sandwich gives you and your family some peace of mind and a full belly :).

Join us next Wednesday for another Allergy Friendly Wednesday!