Gluten-Free Dessert Ideas

By: Gretchen Scalpi

Sticking to a gluten-free diet is a challenge under the best of circumstances but when it comes to creating desserts things get even more difficult. So many delicious desserts like pies, cookies, cakes and pastries are made with flour containing gluten.
simple elegant cake
Creating delicious gluten-free desserts becomes easier when you keep the right ingredients on hand. Some common items to keep in your pantry include:

Almond meal flour
Arrowroot powder
Baking powder
Bittersweet chocolate
Canola oil
Cashew butter
Cocoa powder
Coconut flakes
Coconut milk
Cornstarch
Dried fruit
Espresso powder
Evaporated milk
Gluten-free flour mixes
Gluten-free spices
Granulated, powered and brown sugar
Lemon extract
Maple syrup
Nuts
Peanut butter
Rice
Seeds
Shortening
Sorghum flour
Tapico starch/flour
Vanilla extract

Be sure to check the ingredients on these products before you purchase them. You will want to avoid wheat, barley, brown rice syrup, caramel coloring, rye, brewer’s yeast, wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein, malt, malt extract, malt syrup, dextrins and malt flavoring.

Remember that baking gluten-free is different than regular baking. If you don’t use a baking mix you will need to combine gluten-free flours to get the right results. You can use psyllium husks, ground chia seeds or flaxseed rather than xanthan gum if it gives you stomach distress. Baking at a lower temperature is recommended for some recipes to keep your dessert from getting too brown. If you screw up a recipe consider turning it into crumbs for toppings or to be added to other recipes.

Many gluten-free flours don’t contain preservatives so you may find that desserts made with them dry out quickly or become rancid. Store these items in a zip-top bag (with air removed), freezer wrap or in an air tight container in the refrigerator or freezer separated from other food. Mark all containers used for gluten-free food to keep them separate from other containers. Bring the stored food to room temperature before consuming.

Our favorite gluten-free dessert recipe courtesy of http://bakedbree.com.

Gluten Free Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients:

4 cups blueberries (any fruit will work)

Crisp:

1 cup gluten free old-fashioned, gluten free oats (we used Bob’s Red Mill GF oats)
1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Wash and pick over the blueberries. Add to an 8×8 pan. Add oats, pecans, almond meal, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt to a small bowl. Mix to combine.
2. Spread the mixture over the blueberries.
3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, longer if the berries are frozen.

© 2015, Gretchen Scalpi. All rights reserved. You are free to reprint/republish this article as long as the article and byline are kept intact and all links are made live.

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Wellcoach®. To learn more about living and cooking gluten free register for her free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before You Go Gluten Free!” at http://www.gflifestylelearning.com/?p=366.

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Shopping Gluten-Free

By: Gretchen Scalpi

According to Gluten-Free Foods in the U.S., 5th Edition by Packaged Facts “Over the five-year period ended in 2014, sales of gluten-free products in traditionally grain-based categories posted a compound annual growth rate of 34%.”

There are more gluten-free products in the grocery store than ever but many of those are packaged foods that may not include healthy ingredients. Other options are gluten-free grains, fruits and vegetables. It’s all so confusing so how do you choose? Follow the tips below and you’ll be well on your way to purchasing and eating a healthier gluten-free diet.

*Start by going through your kitchen and your refrigerator. Read labels and keep what you can and get rid of the rest.

*Carry a list of safe foods and foods to avoid every time you shop. Plan ahead and create a list of food you do want to purchase.

super hero birthday 5*Load up on fresh fruit and vegetables. Buy in season selections to save money and use them in recipes or eat them whole.

*Stay away from processed food and be prepared to do more cooking at home.

*Check the labels on everything before you purchase with the exception of fresh produce.

*Purchase gluten-free grains including quinoa, rice and rice flour, corn, buckwheat, millet and teff.

*Meat and seafood products without marinades are gluten-free such as beef, chicken, turkey, fish and shellfish.

*Dairy products including yogurt, cottage cheese, cream, milk and butter are a safe choice.

*Miscellaneous foods to round out your diet include honey, oils, hummus, seeds and seed butters and nuts and nut butters.

*Purchase drinks like bottled water, hot cocoa, coffee, tea, fruit juices and carbonated drinks after checking the labels to make sure they are gluten-free.

*Canned and plain frozen vegetables and fruit are a good choice. Check the labels on any items with sauces.

*Purchase separate containers of peanut butter, jams and jellies for yourself to avoid cross contamination.

*If you have a smart phone try looking for a phone app that can scan bar codes of packaged foods. This makes it easier to determine if the item you want to purchase is gluten free.

*Try shopping at ethnic markets and health food stores to give yourself some more options and to vary your diet.

*Purchase bulk items such as gluten-free flour, baking mixes and other staples online in order to save money.

To learn the intricacies of the gluten free diet, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian who has experience working with this challenging diet.

© 2015 Gretchen Scalpi. All rights reserved. You are free to reprint/republish this article as long as the article and byline are kept intact and all links are made live.
Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, author and Certified Wellcoach® who has celiac disease and know the challenges of eating right with this condition. If you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle for medical or health reasons, you’ll want to attend Gretchen’s new free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-free” at http://www.gflifestylelearning.com/?p=401.

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Happy New Year!

happy new year cakeAs we flip the page on the calendar and think of all the exciting things that may happen in the new year, we wanted to just take a moment to look back and say a heart-felt “Thank You”.

Thank you to our friends and family.

Thank you to all of our customers that have made it so much fun working on such great baby shower cakes, birthday cakes, wedding cakes, cupcakes and cookies.

Thanks to everyone who liked us on Facebook, viewed our photos on Flickr, repinned a picture on Pinterest, or followed us on Instagram.

Happy New Years and Best Wishes to All…

Simple Cupcake Ideas

wonder woman cupcakesThere could be no other way to make those cupcakes more appealing than decorate them with attractive designs. There are several cupcake ideas that you can try when decorating cupcakes at home. Try this easy guide on how to decorate cupcakes.

Butterfly Cupcake

All you need for a butterfly cupcake are the following: candy coated chocolates, chocolate stick cookies, 2 regular size cupcakes, licorice strips and 2 small-sized cupcakes.

First up is to coat the cupcakes with frosting. Try to use a different frost for each of the sizes. You can cover the small cupcakes with orange colored frosting and the regular cupcakes with yellow colored frosting.

Assemble the cupcakes to look like a butterfly, regular cupcakes right above the smaller ones. Decorate the cupcakes with candy coated chocolates around its edges. Decorate as well the center piece of your assembled cupcakes. Put in cookies across the butterfly’s body to cover the whole. And lastly, use the licorice strips for the antenna.

Snowman Cupcake

A snowman cupcake is perfect for the holiday season. You can check this simple guide in making a snowman cupcake that would look stunning and spectacular. Ingredients you would need are as follows: black chocolate covered candy, 1 regular size cupcake, gel icing, orange jube, 1 piece red colored fruit strip, 2 white marshmallows, 1 pretzel stick, 1 chocolate after dinner mint and cupcake frosting.

Coat each of the cupcake with frosting. Stick the marshmallows together using icing. Then, stick these marshmallows on top of your icing covered cake. As for the snowman’s arms, break the pretzel into two equal lengths. Attach these pretzels on each side of the snowman.

Form a circle shape for the snowman’s hat using the chocolate after dinner mint. Attach the chocolate coated candy on top of the snowman’s hat using the frosting. Stick now the snowman’s hat on top of the snowman’s head.

As for the nose, cut a small portion of orange jube. Use a stick or a toothpick to make a hole in the marshmallow. Cut the fruit strip forming a scarf to be placed around the snowman’s head. As for the eyes and buttons of the snowman, use a black gel icing.

Bee Cupcake

A bee cupcake can be very appealing to children. Here is a simple guide on how to make your very own bee cupcake.

Ingredients needed include the following: 11 cupcakes, butter cream frosting, 11 yellow jubes, black decorating gels, 11 square after dinner mint slices, yellow food coloring.

First thing is to color the icing to come up with a bright yellow hue. Using yellow colored icing, completely cover each cupcake. Cut each after dinner mint slice into half and place each of these slices right in the middle of each cupcake.

Cut the licorice strips into short sizes and position them under each wing. Use yellow jubes for the head of the bee. Lastly, apply two dots for the eyes. As for the nose, apply a longer stroke using black gel icing.

With this simple guide, you can certainly learn how to decorate cupcakes that would look alluring to children.

By: Daniel Stanley

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