I think I was born with a sweet tooth. If not, then I developed one early in my childhood since there was never a shortage of homemade treats in my house. You could always find my mom baking, from simple 1 bowl chocolate chip cookies to complicated chocolate mousse cakes. Every Sunday my family would visit Baka (Croatian for Grandmother) who would have the dining room table loaded with fresh sugar cookies, linzer with rosehip jam, walnut short bread, apple strudel and her famous 12 egg cake. I never went a packed school lunch without a homemade cookie or brownie. It was just the way life was.
It was only natural for me to learn the family tradition of baking. I started helping mom at the age of two by eating cookie dough and chocolate chips as we put together simple cookies. In middle and high school, I baked for the family weekly. When I moved to Hamilton for university, I began baking twice a week. Let’s just say I was popular in my residence since I was always willing to share.
However, university brought significant challenges to my sugar addiction. I developed sensitivities to a variety of foods, specifically triggered by dairy and gluten. Suddenly all the foods I loved were off limits unless I had the desire to feel sluggish, bloated, and sick to my stomach. I felt incredibly frustrated when I went out to eat; no longer could I just grab any treat that made me salivate at first sight. Most of the time I left the coffee shop or restaurant disappointed (and at times, in tears) because I could not eat any dessert, or the dessert I did have was not satisfying.
Instead of feeling defeated, I decided to take my sensitivities as the ultimate baking challenge. I converted my kitchen into a gluten free, dairy free haven. Although my first four months of baking gluten and dairy free were disastrous, I began to find brands of ingredients I liked and got the hang of converting my roster of family-heirloom recipes to treats I could eat. I tried playing with vegan ingredient substitutions, half to a quarter of sugar content, as well as paleo restrictions to see if I could still get divine delights. My friends and family, many of which share similar allergies, loved my change in baking style. It was often that whatever I brought to the party was the first thing to be devoured.
The idea of sharing my gluten free and vegan creations has been in the back of my mind for four years. The Ontario Summer Company Student Entrepreneurship program was the opportunity that helped me turn this dream into a reality. I am excited to share my high-quality treats with the community, and look forward to helping you turn into a healthier and confident sweet tooth in the near future!