Dairy, Nut & Gluten-Free "Summer to Fall" S'mores
Nothing says end of summer like road trips and outings with friends and family. Yet, for a food allergy family, this can be extremely stressful for a variety of reasons (more on traveling with food allergies later). I will talk often about the "angels" in our lives - family and friends who stand by us, support us and get our food allergies. They are priceless on our journey, and my husband's childhood best friend, Joel, and his amazing wife, Jen, could not be more perfect examples of this. They've not only walked this allergy road with us from day one, but they've always gone out of their way to make their home an allergy-safe haven for my boys. Their thoughtfulness has been an incredible gift to us.
So, as we wrapped up our summer travels in Florida a few weeks ago with one last stop to visit our dear friends, I breathed a sigh of relief. As always, Joel and Jen went out of their way to make sure everything, from snacks to meals we prepared at their house, were safe for the boys. And, this included dessert the first night we were there. My boys' eyes lit up when our their daughter Lily excitedly exclaimed, "Guess what - we're having s'mores after dinner tonight!" and Jen proceeded to whip out a bag of dairy and nut-free chocolate chips, along with safe graham crackers and marshmallows. What may have seemed like such a small gesture to them, was something so much more. It was an opportunity for our boys to fully participate in a fun summer moment - just like other kids do - without any fear. THAT'S what food allergy angels do.
So, the s'mores... This one is tough for kids with dairy, nut and gluten allergies because of the chocolate AND the graham crackers. But, this recipe is a perfect example of why you don't need to let that stop you! My favorite allergy-safe chocolate chip brand is Enjoy Life. This amazing company makes DELICIOUS chocolate, free of all of the top eight allergens (dairy, egg, soy, wheat, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish). There are also a variety of gluten-free graham cracker options on the market, but the problem is that many of them contain dairy and egg. Research it! If you need a gluten, dairy AND egg-free graham cracker option, Enjoy Life also makes a honey graham cookie. I guarantee your kids will love the "cookie version" just the same, if not more!
This is the perfect treat that transitions right from the summer into the fall, and it's so much FUN! Here's what you need:
one bag of Enjoy Life chocolate chips (we used the large dark chocolate ones because they were easier to work with)
One box of *graham crackers (if you need a gluten-free option, you can use gluten-free graham crackers or top-8 free Enjoy Life honey graham cookies)
One bag of jumbo *marshmallows
Put a marshmallow on a skewer and warm over a fire until soft and gooey. Spoon chocolate chips on top of one graham cracker, put warm marshmallow on top of the chocolate chips and sandwich the whole thing together with another graham cracker. The warm marshmallow will melt the chocolate chips - and voila, the perfect s'more!
I need to throw in an important disclaimer here in regard to ingredients, since we are dealing with some processed foods that aren't specifically marketed as "allergy-free." You must always check food labels to ensure that the ingredients you are using are safe, EVERY TIME. Ingredients can change without warning, and the side of the box provides the most updated version of the ingredient list. By law, manufactures are required to disclose when one of the "top eight" allergens are present in a product, but the law does not require that they indicate if it was made on the same line or in the same plant as other allergens. Many companies have strict procedures to ensure that cross-contamination doesn't occur and that lines are thoroughly cleaned, but double-check! Don't be afraid to call a company directly and obtain information regarding their allergen policy.
*We used Nabisco Honey Graham Crackers and Kraft Jet Puff Jumbo Marshmallows in this recipe, but please verify the safety of these products before using!