For a long time, I avoided baked goods that weren’t allergy-friendly, aside from birthday cakes for my kids on their special day because I didn’t want them to feel different. We don’t eat a ton of baked goods in our house anyway, so I mostly avoided them. Until my kids were no longer babies and there were instances when I had to provide alternatives for them in the case of group events or family parties, which sometimes was oreos because they were easy and safe for my daughter, albeit unhealthy. Then Arlo came along with a soy allergy and my oreo fail-safe went out the window! Back before I birthed these two allergy babies, I was known at my old job for my cupcakes and had even been paid to make cakes for weddings, baptism, baby showers…so in the last couple of years, I’ve started baking again and trying new recipes. I used to love baking, but it just felt so daunting after we started dealing with food allergies. And being a full-time working mom, I just didn’t have time for daunting.
Recipes always trial and error, because with so many foods to avoid, they sometimes fail. But I’ve learned some tricks here and there and want to start sharing some of them with you. I don’t consider myself a food blogger by any stretch of the word, but I often get asked about allergy-friendly foods and recipes that I use for my kids, so I’m going to share what I can and what works for us. If you’re looking for fancy ways to make allergy-friendly, vegan lasagna with exotic spices and gluten-free noodles, homemade from freshly ground grain-free ingredients…you’re in the wrong place. Okay, that’s a bit exaggerated, but you get my drift! I’m a busy, working mom and life with food allergies is crazy enough that if I can find a recipe that is simple and works, I’m happy!
So I give you the best chocolate chip cookies that are free of dairy, egg, soy and are also technically vegan, though we aren’t officially vegan, it just happens that a lot of allergy-friendly recipes I use are vegan due to avoidance of egg and dairy. I’ll note also that these are free of nuts, sesame and mustard, not that those are typical ingredients in basic chocolate chip cookies, but it’s important because these are other ingredients we have to watch for in our home. You could make these gluten-free if you needed to, with your favorite gf flour or baking mix. We don’t have to be gluten-free, so I don’t make that modification, typically, though I probably should sometimes…but we avoid so much, one less avoidance is like a stress reliever for me!
I’ve had some fails when it comes to cookies, for real. Like the chocolate chip cookies I made once from a recipe I found on pinterest whose main ingredient was coconut oil and were the most odd texture and basically tasted only of coconut oil with a few chocolate chips here and there…I mean, I love coconut oil, but my kids weren’t terribly fond of them and my husband wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole.
I’m so thankful for brands like Enjoy Life and Earth Balance for making products with dietary restrictions in mind, while also maintaining taste and quality. The stars of this recipe are the Enjoy Life Mini Chips and the Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks. The Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chips are so good and are top 8 free (new to food allergies? Top 8 free means they do not contain the top 8 allergens, dairy, egg, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, wheat). The Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks are so similar to butter and are amazing for baked goods! Earth Balance, in general, is so good that I don’t regular butter anymore at all, even for the non-allergic people in our house. We love it! Anything Earth Balance Soy Free or Enjoy Life and I’m basically shouting in the store like “TAKE MY MONEY!” And when I don’t have a jar of applesauce around, I use the SimplyNature applesauce pouches I buy from Aldi because they’re nearly the exact amount and it’s one less measuring cup I have to wash! My helpers are typically trying to steal all of the chocolate chips though…
Alright, so back to the recipe…these chocolate chip cookies are perfect. Literally, perfect…Baked goods without eggs are difficult because they don’t fluff up as well. I’ve tried so many egg replacement methods (I hate flax and chia ‘eggs,’ by the way) and I’ve found that either applesauce or mashed banana have worked best for me. This recipe just has the perfect mix, without anything way off base or obscure ingredients you can’t find, creating the crunchy edge and gooey edge you long for in a cookie! I also like this recipe because it requires only baking soda, not baking powder, which is good, because several baking powders contain corn starch and my son also has issues with corn. They tasted fantastic and even our picky 19-year-old with no allergies says the cookies are awesome. It’s an easy recipe and one I’ve really enjoyed making with my kids! It’s a basic cookie recipe, but we’ve modified it to work for us!
The BEST Dairy, Egg, Soy and Nut-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies!
They’re easy, so delicious and their uncomplicated nature make it easy for the kids to help. Lark’s favorite part is eating the dough. Arlo likes to drive cars on the countertops while we mix and that’s his way of ‘helping.’ He’s come a long way, because for the longest time, he hated sweets (not a bad trait for a kid to have, but that’s my mom opinion) but he has grown to love these cookies and it makes me happy that my kids can enjoy such a traditional treat safely.
I also like to include in them in allergy-friendly cooking and baking because it helps them learn what they can and cannot have and often teaches healthy alternatives in a way their little brains can absorb it all. I also use it to help them with counting by counting measurements and such. I’m excited to bake more with them in the years to come and to teach them how to be responsible for their own food safety in a world that’s full of unsafe ingredients.