Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weekend Cooking & Review: The Divvies Bakery Cookbook by Lori Sandler

Author: Lori Sandler

Genre: Cookbook

About (From publisher Macmillan):

THE DIVVIES BAKERY COOKBOOK is an opportunity for the millions of people who are dealing with serious food allergies to put the sweet back in their kitchens. With an assortment of delicious recipes, free of the four major food allergens – peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, and eggs (all vegan!), Lori Sandler offers sweet treats that everyone can enjoy and share ANY time: at birthday parties, snack time, bake sales, holidays, picnics, dessert time, and just because. What ingredients are left out have been replaced by double dollops of the good and the gooey – like chocolate, oatmeal, and molasses, – making the confections not only safe to eat, but absolutely delicious for everyone, even those without food allergies.

Divvies, an irresistible “fun-foods” company devoted to baking safe-to-eat, tasty treats for people with life-threatening food allergies, has been featured on Good Morning America and The Martha Stewart Show, as well as in the New York Times, New York Post, Gourmet Magazine, Vogue, Everyday with Rachel Ray, Daily Candy, and Urban Baby. All of their products are made in a dedicated facility where no nuts, eggs, milk, or ingredients that may have been exposed to these allergens are allowed in the door.

My Thoughts:

This is a beauiful cookbook and is chock-full of a variety of baking recipes geared towards those with food allergies, mainly towards nuts, eggs and dairy. I was very interested in this cookbook as many of you know from reading my blog, my son has food allergies. He is now 12 and we knew from the age of 1 that he was allergic to peanuts and egg whites. He outgrew the egg allergy but accumulated a multitude of food allergies primarily from the ages of 1-4 years old. These were trying times as he was allergic to most grains, dairy and soy and many other things it was difficult to find safe foods and recipes to interest a young child. At one time, he was allergic to over 20 foods. Thankfully, he liked fruits and veggies (although he was allergic to some of these) and he never had an allergy to meats but he now has a shellfish allergy. I lived at the health food store in those days (there was no Whole Foods or many specialty foods available at regular grocery stores then), my son drank rice milk and I baked his own bread which was hard to find a bread recipe that wasn't hard as a rock! My son still doesn't care for sandwiches as he got so used to eating rolled up meat and cheese or veggies.  Now, things are so much different, my son has outgrown many of his food allergies but still has several with the most difficult being nuts as it is a life threatening allergy. Food allergy rates for children are higher and there is more awareness of food allergies and acceptance to accommodate these by food manufacturers and restaurants. There is an array of Gluten Free products available at the grocery store as well as better labeling on food packages. It's not perfect and we still are always on guard, checking labels and packages and being careful at restaurants checking menu's.

Lori Sandler had a similar experience raising a son who has food allergies and she had an interest in baking and creating treats for her son that would allow him not to be excluded. This is a big issue for children with food allergies, they want to eat what other children are eating and not stand out as being different. They can't often have the typical treats that other children can eat without food allergies as there are often risks of cross contamination. After years of testing her recipes, in 2005 Lori Sandler opened a bakeshop dedicated to nut, dairy and egg free products in South Salem, New York. Her company has thrived since then and products are sold online and through retailers. Lori decided to share her story, mission and Divvies recipes in her cookbook, The Divvies Bakery Cookbook.

This is a beautiful cookbook with a design that is very inviting. The colors are comforting with their signature pastel blue and white and even the font and style of writing is warm and easy to read. There are also colorful pictures of some of the recipes in the center of the book. There is a complete table of contents listing the recipes that are geared toward delicious treats that can be shared with those with or without food allergies. The cookbook is divided into sections that "focus on times in our lives where food plays an important role" recipes geared towards family celebrations, school parties, travel, birthdays and snacks. 

In all honesty, I haven't had a chance to make anything from this cookbook as many of the recipes have soy/tofu listed as an ingredient and my son has a soy allergy and cannot have soy protein. Also, he is not allergic to eggs and many of the recipes list an egg replacer or are adapted to make appropriate substitutions for eggs. I would have preferred to have an alternative listed to make a recipe avoiding  the soy and an alternative listed for adjusting the recipe to use eggs. I understand that this cookbook is geared toward no eggs and no dairy so that is probably why the author did not list those alternatives. I don't have access to a store that carries Divvies chocolate chips. I can easily adapt the recipe and use Enjoy Life chocolate chips so I will be trying a few recipes with my son. I wish that this cookbook was available when my son was younger and in elementary school when I brought snacks into class for parties and birthday treats. There is a great section on snacks and party ideas that would be a great resource for parents of elementary aged children.

Some of the tasty recipes featured in THE DIVVIES BAKERY COOKBOOK include:

Divvies Famous Chocolate Cupcakes (featured on the Martha Stewart Show!)
Benjamin’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pick-Your-Berry Muffins
Extra Thick, Treasured-Filled Marshmallow Treats
“Ice Cream” Hash
Movie Night Popcorn

Here is a recipe that is available on The Divvies Bakery website:

I was also sent samples of Divvies prepackaged sugar cookies from the Divvies store. My son sampled these and enjoyed them although he is a chocolate lover and I think that he would have preferred the Divvies chocolate chip cookies. The cookies are a bit pricey but most allergy safe products cost extra.

Recommend: Overall, this looks to be an excellent cookbook with a variety of treats for those with primarily nut, dairy and egg allergies. If you or a family member has all three of these allergies this cookbook would be an excellent one to choose. If you have nut allergies only or dairy allergies only this would also be a great cookbook to choose. For those with soy allergies and those without egg allergies, it may be a challenge to figure out how to modify the recipes. I do wish that there would have been an extra note with each recipe or at the end to give suggestions on how to modify the recipes as this limited the number of recipes that we can  make.

Source: Thank you to Macmillan/St. Martin's Press for sending me a copy of this cookbook to review along with samples of Divvies Sugar cookies.

About the Author:

LORI SANDLER is the founder and owner of Divvies, a dedicated peanut-free, tree nut-free, milk-free and egg-free gourmet bakery that ships nationwide. What started as mother's labor of love for her son with serious food allergies grew into a thriving business. Divvies are sold online at as well as through many nationwide retailers, including Whole Foods, Balducci's, and Disney Parks. Prior to opening the bakery, Lori Sandler spent 13 years as a marketing and communications executive. She lives in Pound Ridge, New York with her family.

For more information about Divvies products and Divvies Bakery Cookbook, visit the Divvies website

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.


  1. I know many kids today have multiple allergies and it's fantastic that is becoming easier than ever to find cookbooks and products to accommodate those kids.

    I'll have to recommend this to a friend who has multiple allergies.

  2. I'll mention this book to my sister - one of her kids has nut and dairy allergies. Thanks for spotlighting it, Bonnie :-)

  3. That looks like a wonderful cookbook! The cupcakes on the cover look divine.

  4. I'm thrilled that there are so many cookbooks out there now to help parents who have children with food allergies. They shouldn't have to miss out on the sweet things in life!

  5. This does sound like a good cookbook for those of us with allergies. It would be nice to have the substitutes listed though for those who don't have allergies to eggs or dairy though as I wouldn't have access to some of the things you've listed here either.

  6. Those cupcakes looks yummy! I'm glad to see more companies are providing help to those with allergies.

    I posted my first weekend cooking post last weekend with a giveaway!

  7. Sounds good, I like to read your blog, just added to my favorites ;)


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