It was a bleak and pitiable day a few years ago when Roo received his initial eosinophilic esophagitis diagnosis (EoE). Our GI team assumed that dairy was largely to blame and we eliminated it cold turkey. Just like that, one half hour doctors appointment and no more pizza, ice cream, Goldfish crackers, Parmesan on pasta, you get the idea. Shortly afterward, a skin prick test revealed Roo was also IgE allergic to peanuts and eggs. That's the scary anaphylaxis-causing kind of allergic, as opposed to IgG mediated allergies which cause his EoE. Then he lost all the tree nuts. Then peaches. Beef. And apples.
Suddenly very alone and flailing in a sea of Earth Balance, Veganaise, and Enfagrow Soy Formula with Christmas approaching, I was pulling out all the stops to come up with something remotely palatable to bake that we could all enjoy. It was not going well.
Just as I was about to call off the reindeer and torch the stockings, I discovered Divvies, nut-, dairy-, and egg-free cookies, popcorn, and candy. Thanks to Lori Sandler, Christmas came after all.
Divvies is still without a doubt one of my favorite sources for baked goods. The cookies are top notch, not top-notch for allergy-free cookies, but rather, someone please take these things away from me before I eat the whole plate good. The Sandler family's attitude is proactive, inclusive, and upbeat. And though she might not know it, I credit Lori Sandler with single handedly pulling me out of the little pity party I was having for myself when Roo was diagnosed.
So, when Divvies came out with a cookbook, can you guess who was first in line? The Warm Apple-Apricot Cake on page 19 is ridiculous even though we modify it a bit. Apples are ok for Roo now but apricots are still a little too close for comfort to peaches, so I use orange marmalade instead of apricot preserves. The chocolate cupcakes are the best I've ever tasted from a home kitchen. The fudge is decadent and well, super fudgy, but the recipe we end up making more than any other in the book, is the banana bread.
My girls adore quick breads and this banana bread is their favorite of the bunch. Roo, a relative latecomer to the world of breads, will eat this over most any other. Throw some of the batter into mini muffin tins and you have one of our favorite lunchbox treats.
adapted slightly from The Divvies Bakery Cookbook
3 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 & 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
5 ripe bananas
1 cup baby food pears (or pear puree)
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
2 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Alternatively, spray loaf pans
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Set aside.
3. Peel the bananas and place in a separate mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until pureed. Add the pear puree, oil, water, and sugar and beat until all elements are well-combined.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat at medium speed until well combined, remembering to scrape down sides of the bowl.
5. Bake full-sized loaves for 65-80 minutes, mini-loaves for 45-60 minutes, muffins for 25-27 minutes, and mini-muffins for 12-15 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness.
6. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack (muffins 10 minutes, loaves 20 minutes) then remove from pan and allow to cool completely.
Makes three 9x5-inch full sized loaves, six 5x3-inch mini-loaves, 12 muffins, or 36 mini-muffins