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Read it: Three Handy Cookbooks for Parents of Children with Food Allergies

by Julie Deardorff, The Chicago Tribune

An estimated 6 percent of children have a food allergy, or a reaction triggered by the immune system. Fortunately, several books offer appealing dessert options for children with special diets.

Gluten allergies and intolerance: The Ultimate Gluten-Free Cookie Book, by Roben Ryberg (Da Capo Long Life, $16.95). Gluten-free baking can be frustrating because gluten is the protein that holds the dough together. The beauty of Ryberg's approach is that she mimics glutinous cookies by embracing everyday ingredients. Most of the cookies use brown rice flour or sorghum; no complicated rice blends are required. Ryberg, author of several gluten-free cookbooks, also offers egg- and dairy-free cookies and recipes with single flours.

Nut-, egg- and dairy-free recipes: The Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book by Kelly Rudnicki (Agate Surrey, $19.95); foodallergymama.com. Rudnicki targets three of the most common food allergens and offers advice on how to deal with classroom festivities and birthday parties. For class celebrations, Rudnicki suggests decorating her sugar cookies with allergen-safe icing and sprinkles.

Multiple allergens: My Kid's Allergic to Everything Dessert Cookbook by Mary Harris and Wilma Selzer Nachsin (Chicago Review Press, $16.95); mykidsallergictoeverything.com. What do you do when your 4-year-old child is allergic to wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, corn and nuts? The authors, who both raised children with multiple food allergies, have compiled more than 100 recipes for sweets that can be slipped into lunchboxes or served at holiday dinners. The book also has recipes for those who must limit sugar intake or avoid gluten.