The gluten-free life has many perks but dessert selection is not necessarily one of them. There are, of course, recipes and bakeries offering gluten-free versions of popular cakes and cookies, but those can be hit-or-miss. But what about dessert favorites that already are gluten-free–not because of a substitute, but because what makes them delicious never needed the gluten in the first place? Here are some safe crowd-pleasing options that require no sacrifice.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
The chocolate-covered strawberry is first on my list. It’s one of my all-time favorite desserts and it just so happens to be gluten-free!
This recipe explains the best and fanciest way to make chocolate-covered strawberries, but you can shortcut a few things and still achieve an equally delicious result. (The visual appeal may suffer, though.)
Most recipes instruct you to use a double boiler process- melting your pot of chocolate in a pot of boiling water. This helps prevent the chocolate in the pot from burning. If you don’t have a double boiler, or just don’t want to bother with it, you can put your pot directly on the stovetop, but be careful to stir constantly and keep the heat low. You will have to be diligent to keep the chocolate from burning or clumping.
You can even use the microwave to melt your chocolate. Start by heating your chocolate in a glass bowl for one minute and stirring. Then, heat for 15 seconds at a time and stir after until the chocolate is melted and smooth. You will need to be quick while you dip because microwaved chocolate usually cools quicker.
You can use any chocolate you like but if you buck up for the good stuff, you will notice and taste the difference. Quality chocolate (or chocolate chips) like Ghirardellli melt smoother and creamier and look better as a finished product. Keep an eye on the ingredients on the chocolate package to ensure the brand or flavor you are buying does not include gluten.
Of course, you can dunk any fruit in chocolate as a gluten-free treat, but strawberries are the easiest. Mother Nature has provided a nice stem handle that seems to scream, “dip me”!
Ice Cream, Gelato and Sorbet
In general, ice cream, gelato and sorbet are naturally gluten-free. There are some exceptions, though, depending on the ingredients and how it is processed. You should be good to go with homemade versions but it’s smart to ask when you order at a restaurant or ice cream shop. When it comes to store-bought, you will need to read the labels to screen for additives, starches and flavorings that contain gluten.
A rule of thumb is to steer clear of flavors that obviously include gluten- cookies, cookie dough, birthday cake, bits of waffle cone, etc. Always skip the ice-cream cone and opt instead for a scoop or two in a bowl. You can make it a sundae, concrete or banana split as long as you choose toppings that are gluten-free. Even milkshakes and ice cream floats fall in the safe zone. So, if you are gluten-free, consider ice-cream an easy option to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Amaretti (pronounced “ah-ma-REH-tee”) is Italian for macaroons. These delectables are an Italian tradition dating back to the Renaissance. They’ve always been gluten free simply because there is no wheat flour in them. There are only three ingredients- almond paste, sugar and egg whites, but there is nothing simple about the taste.
These cookies are crispy, chewy and unique. They go great with cappuccino, sweet wine, or with ice-cream or gelato. You can even make a sandwich out of them with ice-cream, ganache or jam in the middle. It will take a lot of self-control, though, because, once they are made, it’s hard not to gobble them up right away!
Find the recipe here.
There is nothing more tempting for someone who eats gluten-free than to go to a bakery for coffee with a friend. While they have their pick of croissants, cookies, tarts, and bear claws, you sit there drooling and envious. Next time, look for the most colorful items in the case, the macaron… a gluten-free pastry that will take you from “oh no” too “ooh la la.”
French macarons are among the most exquisite items in the bakery case. Dainty, delicate and colorful, they sometimes seem too pretty to eat. But once you take that bite, they are crispy, chewy, and delicious. And because they are made from almond flour, instead of regular wheat flour, they are gluten-free.
French macarons are tricky to make. So, if you are going to tackle this for your first time, don’t be too hard on yourself. They definitely take practice. You can rest assured, though, that even if your homemade versions don’t look like what you saw at the bakery, they will still be just as delicious.
And, if you don’t have the patience and perseverance to perfect this French pastry, just do what I do and stick to store-bought. Trader Joe’s sells them in their freezer case and I’ve seen them from time to time in Costco’s frigerated case. Pick those up, plate them up for guests and no one is the wiser!
Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddies)
This sweet snack is a favorite for all, young and old alike. Some call it puppy chow. Some call it muddy buddies, but all agree it’s deliciously addictive. The recipe is no-bake and its ingredients are all gluten-free. Great for game night, movie night, a party, or to make ahead and keep in an air-tight container as a handy sweet treat to get you through the day. But watch out, this puppy chow is addictive. So, if you share, there likely won’t be any left. But that’s OK. It’s easy to make more!
Key Lime Pie with Coconut Macaroon Crust
If you are a pie person, there are gluten-free pie crust recipes out there, but this pie’s atypical wheat-free crust is no compromise. It’s a key lime pie with a coconut crust, and the creative twist that makes it gluten-free is actually what makes it special! Find the recipe here.
Gooey and Fudgy Flourless Brownies
Typical brownies do have flour in them but not a whole lot, making brownies one of those items you can modify to be sans gluten without sacrificing taste. Whether you try a gluten-free boxed mix or make them from scratch, you won’t miss a thing, other than the ill-effects on your digestive system.
There are other recipes out there using gluten-free flour substitutes but this one simply leaves out the flour. That means you don’t need special ingredients and your brownies will be extra fudgy and chewy.
Old Fashioned Apple Crisp
Old fashioned apple crisp is another dessert that calls for very little flour, so eliminating wheat from this fall favorite leaves the taste intact. Find the recipe here.
And, as noted earlier, you can top with a scoop of ice-cream and still keep it gluten free.
What are the sweet treats you love that are gluten free? Share them in the comments here so we all can enjoy them!
Featured Image Source via thevillageofbedfordwalk.com.
A. A. Ford is a writer from St. Louis, Missouri. She is currently a student majoring in English and Theology at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to her articles for Society 19, Ford is known for her poetry and fiction, which can be found at https://aafordstories.wordpress.com/. In her free time, she loves directing stage theater, spending time with her friends and family, and trying her best to glorify God by her life.