Allergy Free for Mardi Gras and Packzi Day

King Cakes are a traditional Mardi Gras desert. I like to think of a King Cake as a group of graffiti-painted cinnamon rolls that decided to hook-up and form a cake. The royal colors of purple, green and gold used on King Cakes honor the three kings who made a visit to the Christ child on Epiphany.

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Photo credit: 430beyond.com

The King Cake has a tiny surprise, a small plastic baby hidden inside that symbolizes the baby Jesus. The person who gets the slice with the baby in it has to host the next party. One word of warning, don't bake the plastic baby (even if that little cutie is truly gluten free) as you risk it melting and making your guests very sick. It's best to insert it into the bottom of the already baked King Cake. If you are already looking for a gluten free King Cake recipe check out celiac.com. Also, celiacfamily.com also had another gluten free version of this Mardi Gras favorite. The Natural Candy Store has some great baking decoration products like Yellow Nonpareils that are 100% natural vegetable colorants.

I have to confess since being diagnosed with multiple food allergies I do miss Paczkis (pronounced ponch-kee). Most Polish Americans celebrate Packi Day on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). Packzis are similar to American jelly donuts. The inside filling can very with flavors like Bavarian cream, blueberry, custard, chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, apple and apricot. Sadly, I have yet to find a bakery here in Chicago that makes allergy-free Packzis. One alternative is to purchase your own gluten free donut mix and egg replacers and make them at home. Dairy Free Market has a good variety of allergy free baking ingredients. Whatever you choose to do, savor it as Ash Wednesday comes all too soon.

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