Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Valentine's Treats...Yes, Please!
Valentine’s Day is always so much fun, but as with most holidays, it can get tricky for those of us navigating food allergies. Yes, there are hearts and red and expressions of love displayed everywhere, but let’s be honest… chocolate is what takes center stage. And, for anyone with dairy and nut allergies, especially, this is where Valentine’s Day gets a little complicated. BUT, that doesn't mean that anyone needs to miss out on the fun!
Today, I want to share with you a few of my favorite allergy-friendly treat ideas that are perfect for home or any class party or neighborhood gathering that you might attend in this next week. All of these recipes are dairy, egg, gluten, peanut and tree nut-free, and absolutely delicious!
Listen, there is absolutely nothing easier than this. And, what’s great about this fun treat is that it is also fairly healthy because it’s the strawberry that’s really the star of the show. All it takes is a little bit of chocolate to provide the perfect kick of sweet that makes it so special.
1 bag of dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy LIfe dark chocolate morsels)
1 pint (or more) of strawberries, rinsed and thoroughly dried with paper towel
The way I prefer to smoothly and evenly melt chocolate is to set up a double broiler, which is much easier than it may sound. Just put a few inches of water into a saucepan and heat until gently boiling. Place chocolate chips in a separate heat-proof bowl and put bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure to fully cover it and trap the steam from the boiling water (just make sure that the bottom of the bowl never directly touches the water). Turn heat low and slowly melt the chocolate chips, stirring regularly, until chocolate is completely smooth. Another option is microwaving the chocolate to melt it; just be sure to cook in 30-45 seconds at first, stir, and then continue to cook at 10-15 second intervals so that you don't overheat chocolate.
Holding on to the stem of the strawberries, dip each into the melted chocolate and place onto a large piece of parchment paper to cool. Once chocolate is solidified and the strawberries cleanly come off of the parchment paper (this may take up to 30 minutes), gently transfer strawberries to a plate and continue to cool in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Heart-Shaped Brownie Bites
If you haven’t checked out my favorite dairy, egg and nut and gluten-free brownie recipe, complements of The Divvies Bakery Cookbook, please click HERE and make a batch! Then, instead of simply cutting the brownies into squares once they have cooled, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make them fun and festive.
Mini-Chocolate Cupcakes with Berry Frosting
Click HERE for another one of my Divvies favorites - dairy, egg, nut and gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. Instead of baking them in a regular-sized cupcake pan, use a mini-muffin pan to make them cute and bite-sized. Remove mini-cupcakes from pan to cool completely.
To make berry frosting, use a stand or hand mixer to blend 2-3 tablespoons of berry jam into your favorite vanilla frosting, mixing until well incorporated and fluffy. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, ice them with the berry frosting and use sprinkles, mini-chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand) or even fruit to decorate the top!
If you need a good homemade vanilla frosting recipe, here's my go-to, also from Divvies.
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, plus 1/2 cup extra
1/2 cup of dairy-free butter, chilled (I use Earth Balance, soy-free version)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dairy-free milk (you can use hemp, rice or soy - rice may be the most mild-flavored, but soy is probably the sweetest of the three)
Using a stand or hand mixer, combine the powdered sugar, dairy-free butter, salt and vanilla and beat on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula as you go. Continue to mix for for approximately one minute. Add the dairy-free milk and continue to mix on medium speed. Then, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until you reach the desired level of sweetness. Beat for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until frosting fluffs up and is nice and creamy.
Here's to spreading the love this Valentine's Day. Hoping it's fun, happy and festive for your entire family!