Tag Archives: chocolate

Gluten-Free Thin Mint Cookies

gluten-free thin mints

Gluten-Free Thin Mint Cookies

This year was my younger daughter’s first year in Daisies, the first-grade Girl Scouts group. She sold 48 boxes of Girl Scout cookies with enthusiastic endorsements: “They freeze well.” “They make good gifts.” “Thin Mints are the most popular.” But, because she has celiac disease and is gluten-free, she has never, ever tasted a Girl Scout cookie, nor will she.

I didn’t want her to be left out of the Girl Scout cookie feeding frenzy. So this year, I developed my own recipe for gluten-free Thin Mints, with a tender gluten-free chocolate cookie enrobed in a minty chocolate coating. It’s just the right combo of chocolate and mint, gluten-free of course.

Although it is expensive, use peppermint oil rather than mint extract, because mint extract often contains both spearmint and peppermint oils. You don’t want the spearmint taste in these cookies, just the peppermint. This recipe is a good chance to use teff flour (which I love for its high protein and fiber content), as teff works well with the chocolate flavors and the slightly dry biscuit base.

This recipe is a bit tricky, in that the batter is very soft, making it hard to form the cookies. Keep the batter chilled so it’s easier to cut out perfectly round circles. Also, chilling the cookies on the tray before baking helps them to keep their shape and reduce spread.

Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Peppermint Pattie Cake

gluten-free peppermint pattie cake

Gluten-Free Peppermint Pattie Cake

“That cake is evil,” my father-in-law declared upon taking a bite of this sinfully rich Gluten-Free Peppermint Pattie Cake. His comments pleased me immensely, in part because my nickname at work used to be “Evil Eve.”

In our house, we love desserts. We’re always looking out for gluten-free desserts that friends will gobble down. This special-occasion cake is decadently fudgy, almost like a flourless chocolate cake. Trust me: no gluten-eater would ever turn up their nose at this baby.

When you bite into this Gluten-Free Peppermint Pattie Cake, you’ll get the sensation of gale-force winter winds whipping through your hair … oops, that was the ’80s TV commercial, I digress …

The cake is adapted from a recipe in a book my mother-in-law checked out from the library. She often brings library books for my kids. This time she got one for me: “All Cakes Considered: A year’s worth of weekly recipes tested, tasted and approved by the staff of NPR’s All Things Considered by Melissa Gray. It’s a fun read for an NPR devotee, full of tempting recipes, entertaining anecdotes and fun references to NPR stars like Carl Kassel.

Of course, I decided to bake the most dense, chocolaty cake in the book.

Gray’s original recipe is even more decadent. She instructs readers to bake the cake, make a chocolate ganache for the frosting and then drizzle each slice with homemade mint syrup and homemade chocolate fudge sauce.

That was way too much work for me, so I ditched the ganache, mint syrup and chocolate fudge sauce. Believe me, this cake is still a lot of work, even without all those toppings. To give the cake a minty kick, I used melted peppermint patties for the frosting. Get the sensation.

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Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate Meringues

gluten-free meringues

Chocoloate Chip and Double Chocolate Meringues

There’s something wintry about meringue cookies. They look like pure white mini snowballs that seem so right for the season. It’s actually better to make meringues in winter. The air is dry, which helps keep meringues crisp.

With winter hopefully ending soon (bright sun is streaming through my window and the temps in Chicago have been above freezing), it’s time to sneak in a batch of meringues before it’s too late.

Meringues are a great dessert to make for guests, as they are naturally gluten-free. My kids’ friends wolf down these sugary treats, taking extras home with them. Meringues also make great Passover treats, since all the ingredients are kosher for Passover.

Though I do like the look of snowy white meringues, I recently needed a chocolate fix (no surprise there). So in addition to adding chocolate chips to the meringues, I also added cocoa powder to half the batch to make double chocolate meringue cookies.

To shape the meringues, I drop spoonfuls of the mixture on a cookie sheet, because that’s the easiest thing to do. If you want to be fancy (my kids’ favorite word), omit the chocolate chips and pipe the meringues into prettier shapes using a pastry bag.

You’ll want to dry out the meringues, so keep the heat low and slow. I bake them at 250 for one hour; some recipes say to leave meringues in a turned-off oven overnight. If the temperature gets much higher than 250, your meringues will turn tan, which might be a good look for you but not for your meringues.

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Homemade Chocolate Truffles and Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

chocolate truffles

Homemade Chocolate Truffles

For me, Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate.

Most chocolate is gluten-free. Some chocolates, however, contain barley malt, like Lindt’s Lindor chocolate truffles, making them off-limits for celiacs. (For another discussion on gluten-free chocolates, see the Triumph Dining blog.)

For Valentine’s Day, the kids and I made homemade chocolate truffles dusted with coconut, cocoa, cinnamon and ground almonds. These sophisticated truffles look complicated but are easy to make — and even easier to eat!

If kids can roll a ball of Play-Doh (which is not gluten-free, by the way), they can roll truffles. It is messy, though. My 8-year-old’s hands were quickly covered in chocolate — and I feared for what would happen next — so she put on a long-sleeved art smock.

After rolling a bunch of truffles, we used the rest of the chocolate to make chocolate-covered strawberries. Yum!

I once went to a mom’s night out at Whole Foods where we made truffles and drank wine. This recipe is adapted from the one we used that night.

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Dark and White Chocolate Pomegranate Bark

Dark and White Chocolate Pomegranate Bark

This chocolate bark is so good that my oldest (non-celiac) daughter asked me to make it for her school birthday treat, even choosing it ahead of gluten-containing cupcakes and brownies. She also suggested that it be the first recipe featured on this blog!

I’ve had peppermint bark before but thought it would be fun to add pomegranate instead. The result is a colorful bark that’s great for festive get-togethers, especially since it’s naturally gluten-free. The dark and white chocolate combination provides a yin-yang contrast. And the gems of pomegranate give a juicy burst.

Although this bilayered bark looks impressive, it’s really quite simple. Since it doesn’t require stovetop cooking, it’s a great confection to make with kids.

Indeed, the hardest part is taking the pomegranate seeds out of the fruit. So here are some tips to make that process easier and a lot less messy:

Start by cutting off the top of the pomegranate, about a half inch below the crown. You will see membranes separating four to six sections of the fruit. With a knife, score the outer rind at each section. Submerge the pomegranate in a large bowl of water to prevent spattering. Separate the sections with your hands.

With your hands still in the water, loosen the seeds from the rind and membrane. The seeds will drop to the bottom and pieces of white membrane will float. Discard membrane and drain the seeds. Please note that the whole seed is edible, including the crunchy white part.

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