Allergy Testing: Brownie in a Cup

The worst thing about trying to come up with foods for an allergic person to make is just how much time it takes to do it. Making things from scratch takes up so much time out of person’s day, it’s no wonder some people get paid to do it. I certainly don’t enjoy doing it for hours only to end up with an inedible mess to clean up afterward. And that especially is a pain to deal with after I’ve been on my feet all day at work. I just want to sit on the couch and rest my feet and a plate of hot food. But when you can’t eat fast food or microwave meals, then you’re stuck on your feet again, trying to make food that you’re sure won’t hurt you in the end.

Fortunately, a lot of people are trying to make it easy by coming up with really quick recipes that don’t have a lot of prep work needed, like the “in a cup” recipes. They were a huge deal for me back when I was trying to find quick and easy safe foods for me to eat when I was stuck working late shifts at work. And my favorite type of recipes are the ones with sweets in them. I love sweets, so sweet treats in a cup are totally up my alley.

So, today, while I was wanting something sweet to eat, I decided to try and make a brownie in a cup and see how it worked for me, using Penzey’s cocoa powder that I bought at a store in Houston. Penzey’s is a spice shop that came highly recommended in my allergy support group on Facebook, so I was hoping that it would work.


A simple picture I found on Facebook instructed as followed:

  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/3 tsp vanilla

Put all of that in a cup, stir, and nuke it in the microwave for a minute. And voila! Brownie in a cup!

My Modifications

I used chickpea flour for the flour, natural cane sugar, Penzey’s cocoa, olive oil, and water. I did not use vanilla because I have yet to find a vanilla that is made using a safe alcohol. Most vanilla extracts use corn-based alcohol, and the last time I had corn-based alcohol, I turned as red as a tomato.

The Consumption

I had to nuke it in the microwave for a minute and a half, because it still looked like soup to me. I think that had to do with the fact that it’s chickpea flour and not wheat–different cooking consistencies.

It tasted absolutely delicious! However, I did end up reacting to it. Cue the sad audience sound effect here.

My reactions include itching and a nose flare up, causing me to sneeze for a bit. And after bite after bite, my symptoms worsened to tongue tingling, forcing me to stop eating it.


I reacted to something in this attempt to get a quick treat, and that sucks so much. I think it was the cocoa powder from Penzey’s that set me off because I used all of my normal ingredients that I know I can tolerate. Penzey’s was the only one that was out of the ordinary.

I wonder now if I can just do a simple sugar cookie or cupcake in a cup, where I don’t have to have the cocoa powder. Just sugar, flour, oil, and water. If I can just use those ingredients for a quick treat, then I think I would be okay.

Looks like I’m going to have to try another one if I’m going to get this right. But only after the itching goes away.


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