You may be wondering why I am posting a recipe with Nutella since I have two kids who are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and sesame. It seems our food allergy story isn’t as straightforward as we thought. Very few are, I suppose. As we begin to peel back the layers of each child’s IgE onion, we are learning, as should be expected, they are quite different.
Note: This post has lots of information about food allergies. If you are not interested, feel free to scroll down to the recipe. I promise I won’t be offended. Just thought it may be helpful information for some in the food allergy community…
As you may already know, my oldest son, Jake, has severe anaphylactic allergies to peanuts, most tree nuts (except almonds which he doesn’t ever want to eat) and sesame. He has actually reacted to peanuts and sesame in the past so those allergies are confirmed. My middle child, Jeremy, tested positive for all of the same allergens at a very young age and since Jake had such severe reactions, we avoided all of those foods in our home.
After Jeremy was diagnosed with celiac several years ago, I became more interested in determining whether those allergies were real issues for him or potential false positives. I wanted to add more protein and options into his diet, which was already heavily restricted. Jeremy has a lot of seasonal allergies and oral allergy syndrome but I haven’t seen him show classic signs of anaphylaxis as I have for Jake. This could have been because we were avoiding all of those foods in our home yet, I still wanted to be sure.
At our last Mt. Sinai visit, our allergist, Dr. Sicherer, indicated there was a new test which had recently been developed to help determine if some food allergies could be false positives. If not, it could help indicate if the reactions would potentially be severe and/or systemic. I am not a scientist so I will not even try to go into detail however, you can read more about it here.
The tests seemed to indicate that Jake, my oldest, definitely has a true systemic allergy to peanuts (bummer, but we sort of knew this based on previous reactions). They believed he could potentially have a false positive for hazelnut. Jeremy, my middle child, was showing a potential false positive for both, which made sense based on his prevalence of oral allergy syndrome, also linked to these issues.
We did food challenges for hazelnut with Jeremy and Jake and for peanut with Jeremy. Regarding the peanut challenge, I was scared to death. I actually brought Jeremy and Jarrett, my youngest, in together. I was embarrassed to admit that although I had never tested Jarrett for peanut allergy, I was afraid to give it to him because of the severe reactions Jake had and we never have it in the house anyway. It turns out Jeremy and Jarrett were able to eat peanut. I am happy to know they are able to eat peanut but it is a big shift for our household and one which we are learning to balance.
At the hazelnut challenge, Jake had an oral allergy reaction (felt something in his throat but nothing severe and definitely not anaphylaxis). Jeremy passed and was able to eat up to the full dose. He is now eating Nutella on the daily. Jarrett is too. Can you blame them? We decided it was safe to have Nutella in the house since Jake’s reaction was not severe. It is similar to the reaction Jeremy has with some fruits so it shouldn’t be an issue for him to be around it and he has no interest in eating any.
We have added almonds and hazelnuts into our repertoire and you will see them in some of my recipes. For this recipe, I used one I found on Simply Recipes, subbed in my own gluten-free flour, dolloped and swirled some Nutella on top. I didn’t add any butterscotch or chocolate chips in but feel free to do so if you want to add a little something to bite into.
These blondies are super-easy to make. Getting the swirl is the hardest part. Just drag the knife across the nutella and then up and down the pan. I mean, will anyone really be mad if it’s messy? For information on how to make your own gluten-free flour, see the info graphic I worked on with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness below.
- Cooking spray
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 cup of gluten-free flour blend (I used my own but King Arthur's Multi-purpose or Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 could work too)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon of baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup Nutella, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray an 11 x 7 brownie pan with cooking spray. Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract in a medium bowl.
- Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir together until just incorporated and spread evenly into brownie pan. Dollop nutella in lines across the short end of the pan. Using a butter knife or spatula, spread evenly and then across the long way to make a wavy pattern.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.