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Posted: 9:52 a.m. Monday, June 3, 2013

Gluten-free Austin: Better Bites Bakery 


Leah Lopez of Better Bites Bakery
Leah Lopez of Better Bites Bakery makes gluten-free treats, including these Hostess-inspired chocolate cupcakes, which are a bestseller.

By Addie Broyles

About three years ago, Leah Lopez's then 2-year-old son was diagnosed with food allergies that were causing him to act sedated, including slurred speech.

They eliminated gluten, dairy and eggs from their diet. “Within 72 hours, the light switch turned on within,” she says. “He could talk clearly and was bright eyed. It was amazing for us.”

Lopez says that even though Gabriel grew out of the milk and egg allergy, if he has any amount of gluten, even accidental, the symptoms return.

As Lopez re-learned how to cook and bake, she encountered countless families that were struggling to keep their meals allergen-free, nutritious and interesting. The so-called cottage law had just passed, and Better Bites Bakery was born out of Lopez’s home kitchen.

In the past few years, demand has grown so quickly that Lopez recently opened a 3,000-square-foot certified gluten-free kitchen where she now bakes cookies, cake balls, brownies, cakes and scones for carry-out customers and wholesale clients, which include People’s Pharmacy, Greenling and Whole Foods Market.

All of the products are free of gluten, and most of them are also dairy- and egg-free. She can accommodate other dietary restrictions, as well.

Lopez says her goal is to give people, especially kids, a taste of normalcy when dealing with something that, though on the rise, makes them feel nothing like normal. One of her best-sellers are chocolate cupcakes that look just like Hostess cupcakes and taste even better, but my favorite were chocolate chip cookie dough cake balls that tasted so "normal" that no one in my office suspected that they were "missing" any traditional ingredients.

Addie Broyles

About Addie Broyles

Hailing from the Ozarks, Addie Broyles expanded her cooking (and eating) skills on the West Coast and Spain before settling in Austin, where she writes about food for the Austin American-Statesman.

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