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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Gluten- and Dairy-Free Desserts

Connie Sarros was forced to develop gluten-free recipes when her father was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1993.

Sarros began experimenting in her own kitchen, doing some Internet research, and working mostly by trial and error.

"I would write down the recipes that worked and those that didn't I would toss out," she said. After a while, Sarros had put together a small collection, which she had bound into a booklet and gave to her mother for Mother's Day.

Lisa Abraham, of the Akron Beacon Journal, wrote this in an article on Connie, a local resident. Photo credit: Ed Suba Jr. / Akron Beacon Journal.

Connie has written two gluten-free cookbooks, Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Cookbook for Kids and Busy Adults and Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Reduced Calorie Cookbook, both available on the Wheat- and Gluten-Free Cookbooks page in my Milk-Free Bookstore. She's working on a new cookbook that should be available in 2008.

It's become much easier for those with gluten allergies, just as it has for those who must avoid milk. The two often go together, as celiac disease can damage the lining of the intestines and create lactose intolerance.
When she first started researching and cooking gluten-free, Sarros, 60, said she could barely find the alternative flours -- rice or garbanzo bean -- typically used in gluten-free cooking.

But as diagnosis of the disease has grown, so has awareness, and companies are responding.

"I would guess that about 15 years ago, there were maybe eight to 10 companies, maximum, that dealt with gluten-free foods. Now there are hundreds," she said.

Celiac disease was once considered very rare, but it is now considered more common than diabetes, Sarros said. Doctors often advise putting children with Down syndrome or autism on gluten-free diets as well, she added.

Food manufacturers, grocery stores, and restaurants have begun to take notice. Outback Steak House has a gluten-free menu, and Wendy's also offers gluten-free items.

Abraham's article also includes wheat- and dairy-free recipes for Chocolate Oblivion, Croatian Walnut Cookies, and Almond Crescents.

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