Our Vancouver

Black forest brownies, and other allergy-safe recipes for Valentine's Day

Joanne Schultz of Pikanik shows her recipes for Valentines Day goodies and talks about her families allergies and how that made for a new business

You can avoid gluten, eggs, dairy and nuts without missing out on taste

Joanna Schultz of Pikanik shares the story of how she founded her business 7:21

For Vancouver baker Joanna Schultz, Valentine's Day is all about doing something you love because of who you love.

Her daughter was diagnosed with a gluten allergy when she was only three years old. She quickly realised that delicious alternative foods were few and far between, so Schultz researched and experimented and found her own way to fill up a recipe book, comprised of all sorts of goodies. 

"I had a full time job — I was in labour relations, a big career ... but for me I wanted my kids to have a passion for food. And I didn't feel like what was on the market would inspire that," she told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC's B.C. Almanac.

She became so passionate that she decided to start her own bakery inspired by her daughter called Pikanik

Schultz now spends a lot of time sourcing allergy-safe ingredients for her bakery. She even offers prepackaged mixes for people to bake at home.

And if you find yourself baking dessert for a loved one who happens to have allergies this Valentine's Day, Shultz says avoiding gluten, eggs, dairy and nuts doesn't mean you lose out in taste — especially with these recipes.

Pikanik Black Forest Brownies



  • 306 g cocoa
  • 908 g Pikanik All Purpose Flour
  • 14 g xanthan gum
  • 20 g salt
  • 15 g baking powder
  • 430 ml coconut oil
  • 280 ml coconut DREAM
  • 280 ml water
  • 75 ml maple syrup
  • 50 ml vanilla
  • 1 jar morello cherries
  • Genache:
    • 360 g chocolate chips
    • 495 g coconut cream
    • 1/4 tsp salt

Method: Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until entire mixture is well blended and smooth. Spoon and spread mixture into a well-greased and parchment lined baking pan. Bake at 350 F for about 12 minutes. The centre may appear a bit wobbly but will settle as it cools.

Prepare chocolate ganache once brownies have cooled by heating the cream over medium heat. Melt in chocolate chips stirring constantly. Add salt.

Drain morello cherries and place all over the top of the brownies. Pour on chocolate ganache (you may have some left over, you're looking for about 1/4 inch topping). Refrigerate several hours before cutting.​

Pikanik Valentine's Sugar Cookies



  • 2 cups margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce plus 1 tsp baking powder, mixed 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 2/3 brown rice flour
  • 1 1/3 tapioca starch
  • 1 1/3 potato starch
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • Glaze:
    • 1 cup icing sugar
    • 1 Tbsp water
    • 2 Tbsp dehydrated raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat softened margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla extract and apple sauce/baking powder mixture. Add in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Let dough stand 20 minutes or refrigerate for later use. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a cookie cutter, cut out desired shapes. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 7-10 minutes until the edges are just coloured. Cool completely.

Mix the icing sugar, dried raspberries and water together with a fork or whisk until smooth. Add more icing sugar and/or water until you get your desired consistency. Dip or spread glaze on cooled cookies and let stand until glaze has set up. Decorate with melted chocolate if desired.

This recipe will yield approximately 45 cookies, depending on size (tip: freeze half of the cookies unbaked for future use).

Coconut Rum Hot Chocolate


  • 2 cups Coconut Dream
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dutch unprocessed cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp dark rum
  • 1 Tbsp Malibu
  • Coco Whip whipped topping


Use a medium setting to heat the coconut milk, caradamom, cocoa, and sugar. Once heated thoroughly, add the rum and the Malibu. Pour hot chocolate into mugs, top with Coco Whip and a sprinkle of cardamom.