Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
Avoiding soy in desserts can be difficult. It can feel like most desserts contain soy and that there are very few soy-free options available. Most store-bought desserts include soy flour or soybean oil (especially in things like pie crust) and many homemade desserts are made from boxed mixes (or use store-bought crusts) that contain soy. But desserts don’t need to contain soy. When you look at the ingredients, very few desserts actually need soy products (the notable exception here is chocolate, which almost always contains soy lecithin).
So when is it safe to eat desserts? When they are made from scratch! Most of the time, a from-scratch dessert is safely soy-free since almost all dessert ingredients (think: flour, sugar, eggs, etc.) are soy-free. The few ingredients to watch out for in a from-scratch dessert are listed below.
- Chocolate - Unfortunately, almost all chocolate contains soy lecithin. We use Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels (soy-free!) when we bake. Also, notably, cocoa powder is also soy-free, so things like brownies and chocolate cake are usually safe.
- Shortening - Most shortening (e.g., Crisco) is made from soybean oil. We have found a palm oil variety, but it is expensive and hard to find. Lard is soy-free and is another common substitute for shortening in recipes.
- Margarine - Margarine isn’t usually an issue in from-scratch desserts since most bakers believe in using real butter, but it is a possible way for soy to find its way into a dessert.
- Oil - This one rarely comes up, but if the recipe does call for oil, some people may use soybean oil. (Oil is very rarely needed in desserts and is more common when making cookies or brownies from a boxed mix.)
If you are curious about a dessert, ask if it was made from scratch! Not only is this a good way to gauge if the dessert contains soy, it is a low-pressure way to ask about ingredients without offending the baker. After all, who wouldn’t want their cookies to be mistake for a yummy homemade treat? This can even be used to start off a conversation about food intolerances so that next time you won’t need to ask about soy.