Tag Archives: desserts

Gluten-Free Passover Meringues

meringues

I’ve posted a couple of variants on meringues, but these were our prettiest yet, deserving of their own post. Plus, these meringue cookies make for a quick and easy gluten-free, dairy-free Passover dessert, requiring no special equipment or ingredients — pretty much just eggs, sugar and a mixer.

When I first started this blog in 2010, I posted a recipe for chocolate-chip and double chocolate meringues, with a really ugly photo, before I learned that you never, ever want to use a flash for food photography. And I also previously posted a recipe for cute ghost meringues for Halloween.

Piping these meringues seemed like a pain, so my daughter and I originally started by scooping spoonfuls of meringue and flinging the sticky meringue onto a baking sheet. But we found out that piping actually was so much easier and prettier. All you need are disposable pastry bags and a large star tip — OK, and some practice piping, because it does take a while to perfect the skill. (I highly recommend taking a cake decorating class if you foresee making a lot of gluten-free birthday cakes or desserts in your future.)

Meringues are true sugar cookies because the main ingredient is, well, sugar. My youngest daughter is crazy for them.

My oldest daughter is trying a low-FODMAP diet to help with her non-celiac stomach issues, so these meringues are a good low-FODMAP dessert. (FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that are sometimes poorly digested by the small intestine, causing irritable bowel symptoms like pain, bloating and gas when they pass into the large intestine. … Sorry if I just killed your meringue sugar buzz, but it’s good to know about FODMAPs because they will be increasingly in the health news.)

Gluten-Free Passover Meringues

(gluten-free, dairy-free, pareve, Passover)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Using a mixer, beat egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt, and beat until stiff. Gradually add sugar and continue beating. Beat in vanilla extract.
  3. Put a large star tip on a disposable pastry bag. Fill the bag with the meringue mixture and twist the top to close. Pipe the meringues onto the lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for one hour. Allow meringues to cool and store in an airtight container.

Yield: About 24 meringue cookies

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Filed under desserts, Jewish holidays, Passover, Recipes

Brown Sugar Blondies, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

blondies

Gluten-free, dairy-free blondies, with dark chocolate chips

A confirmed chocoholic, I always figured, why have a blondie, when you can have a brownie (especially my recipe for the best gluten-free brownies ever)? But these gluten-free, dairy-free brown sugar blondies tossed that theory out the window.

These blondies taste like chocolate chip cookies, but they are more moist and more cakey. Studded with dark chocolate chips, the blondies still deliver a strong chocolate dose, proving that maybe blondes do have more fun.

I made the blondies dairy-free by using coconut oil and applesauce, instead of a stick of butter. Be aware that the chocolate chips sink to the bottom forming a chocolatey crust; next time I will try mini chocolate chips to see if I have better luck keeping the chips afloat.

This month’s Kosher Connection challenge (see links to other blog posts below) was to make treats for mishloach manot baskets for Purim. On Purim, we have a tradition that’s the opposite of trick-or-treat: Instead of emphasizing getting food, we give friends and family gifts of food — usually a basket with at least two different kinds of foods. I thought the blondies would make a good Purim treat — dairy-free, nut-free and studded with a chocolate surprise. Also, check out my tasty, tender gluten-free, dairy-free hamantaschen recipe.

Click for Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Blondies recipe

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Gluten-Free Tagalongs, or Peanut Butter Patties

gluten-free tagalongs

Gluten-free version of Tagalong Girl Scout cookies

My daughters always have fun selling Girl Scout cookies – who can resist two enthusiastic, cute kids? I’m impressed that they sold 58 boxes each. But above all, I’m impressed that my younger daughter never complains that she can’t eat Girl Scout cookies, because they’re not gluten-free. This year, we decided to make our own gluten-free version of Tagalongs, or Peanut Butter Patties, so all of us could enjoy them.

Tagalongs were one of the girls’ top sellers this year – behind Thin Mints, of course. Tagalongs are a rich treat: a shortbread cookie topped with a peanut butter layer and enrobed in chocolate. Last year, we made gluten-free Thin Mints, so this year we decided to tackle Tagalongs. It’s a labor-intensive process — first you make the shortbread cookie dough and chill it, then bake the cookies, prepare the peanut butter topping, dip it all in melted chocolate and let it cool — but the results are worth the hassle.

My 10-year-old, who can eat gluten and who has quite a discerning palate, dubbed our homemade gluten-free Tagalongs better than the real deal. “The peanut butter is more peanut buttery, and the chocolate is more chocolaty,” she declared. My mother-in-law agreed.

On a side note, my friend Melissa (Hi, Melissa!) was upset that the cookies are called Tagalongs instead of Peanut Butter Patties. Apparently, there are two companies that bake Girl Scout cookies, and Little Brownie Bakers calls them Tagalongs, while ABC Bakers calls them Peanut Butter Patties. Glad we resolved that mystery. Next year, maybe we’ll tackle making a gluten-free Samoa!

Update 3/27/12: If you have leftover peanut butter mixture, use it to make mini gluten-free peanut butter cups, like mini Reese’s cups. See recipe for Homemade Peanut Butter Cups.

Click for Gluten-Free Tagalongs recipe

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Mint Fudge: The Easiest Gluten-Free Dessert Ever

gluten-free mint fudge

Gluten-free fudge is easy to make without any special ingredients.

Fudge seems rich and decadent, the kind of special-occasion sweet you might have during the holidays, or on a summer trip to the shore. I couldn’t believe how simple this recipe was and how many raves it elicited. Plus, fudge is the easiest gluten-free dessert ever. It has no flour, and no special gluten-free ingredients, so just about anyone can make it for their gluten-free guests. Another fudge fact: The recipe is egg-free, making it a good treat for friends who are allergic to eggs.

My kids had fun making this fudge, as the recipe doesn’t require any stovetop cooking (just the microwave). There was quite a lot of squabbling about whose turn it was to stir the chocolate, but we’re used to refereeing those arguments on a daily basis. My kids love mint, so we made mint chip fudge. But if you’re not a fan of mint, use 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract instead of the peppermint extract, and use white chocolate chips or chopped nuts instead of the mint chips.

No matter how you make it (or who stirs it the longest), the dense chocolate flavor will have you clamoring for more. Cut the pieces small, so you won’t feel guilty for having more than one. You know you will.

Gluten-Free Mint Fudge

(gluten-free, egg-free)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (18 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup mint chips (I used Andes creme de menthe baking chips, found at Target)

Method:

  1. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or waxed paper, and set aside.
  2. Place chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl (no plastic!), and heat for 2 minutes on half power. Stir the chocolate well. If there are still lumps of chocolate, heat for an additional 30 seconds or 1 minute on half power and stir until smooth.
  3. Mix in sweetened condensed milk and peppermint extract, until combined. Add mint chips and stir until chips are evenly incorporated.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan. Pat it smooth using a square of waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Remove fudge from pan, and cut into 1-inch squares.

Yield: 64 small pieces

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The Best Gluten-Free Brownies Ever

brownies, gluten-free

Moist, fudgy gluten-free brownies.

Without a doubt, brownies have to be the best all-around dessert. Rich, dense and fudgy, they satisfy the cravings of any chocoholic. Plus, they’re easy to make for parties, potlucks and holiday get-togethers. Most importantly — at least as far as I’m concerned — they are easy to make gluten-free, especially with this killer recipe for the best gluten-free brownies ever.

The better the chocolate, the better the brownies. I’ve made this recipe several times, but the best was when I used semisweet Callebaut chocolate, which added a deep, decadent intensity. My older daughter, who helped bake the brownies with her friend, was rapturous after she took one bite. Seriously, they are that good.

The recipe comes from Grandma, who adapted her family brownie recipe to be gluten-free. We are so lucky to have two sets of supportive grandparents who always go to great lengths to make delicious gluten-free food for us. I am thankful to have family members that “get it,” so we never have to worry about finding safe food at their homes.

A note about cutting the brownies: Before you start cooking, line the baking pan with parchment paper, so the parchment paper covers the bottom and sides of the pan. After the brownies are cooked and completely cooled (or refrigerated), lift up the the parchment paper with the brownies, put them on a cutting board and then cut the brownies into squares.

For vegan, gluten-free brownies, I’ve tried substituting one egg in this recipe with 1/3 cup applesauce, and it turned out deliciously. I have not yet tried substituting both eggs, but I bet it would work well.

Click for the recipe for Grandma’s Best Gluten-Free Brownies Ever

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As Sweet as Honey

honey cake, gluten-free

Gluten-free honey cake provides a sweet start to the new year.

For Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, we greet each other with “Shana Tovah Umetukah” – wishes for a happy and sweet new year. To symbolize sweetness, many families serve honey cake, a traditional Rosh Hashanah dessert. Which, as usual, leaves me searching for a great-tasting gluten-free alternative.

Fortunately, this year I made a moist gluten-free, dairy-free honey cake spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for my honey-child. (Cue Martha & The Vandellas’ “Honey Chile” and Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey.”)

For inspiration, I started with Marcy Goldman’s vaunted “Majestic and Moist New Year’s Honey Cake” from “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.” I used gluten-free flour, subbed some applesauce and increased the orange juice to keep the cake moist and sweet. Buckwheat flour — a dark, strong gluten-free flour that’s high in protein, fiber and magnesium — works well here, complementing the complex flavors in the cake. Interestingly, buckwheat is not related to wheat but is a member of the rhubarb family.

Have a sweet new year!
Click for Gluten-Free Honey Cake recipe

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A is for Apple Cake

Jewish Apple Cake, gluten-free

A traditional Rosh Hashanah dessert: Jewish apple cake.
I love this photo, taken in my living room!

Shanah Tovah! Best wishes for a happy Rosh Hashanah and a sweet new year. We’re getting this new year off to a tasty start, with a gluten-free version of traditional Jewish apple cake.

My mother is famous for her Jewish apple cake, laced with apples that she plucks from the trees in her back yard. I’ve always wondered, though, what makes the apple cake “Jewish.” Really, I didn’t know that cakes could have a religion. The answer seems to be that the cake is made with vegetable oil and orange juice, instead of butter and milk, thus making it pareve (neither dairy nor meat). Apple cake is also a favorite dessert for Rosh Hashanah, when we eat apples dipped in honey to symbolize hopes for a sweet new year.

Mom’s recipe worked surprisingly well in its gluten-free version. I substituted gluten-free flours, added xanthan gum (a binder for GF baking) and left the rest of the recipe intact. The cake is moist and bursts with the flavors of apples and cinnamon.

Click for the recipe for Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake

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