Tag Archives: kid-friendly

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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The perfect summer birthday dessert: gluten-free ice cream cake

gluten-free birthday cake

gluten-free ice cream cake

Ideal for a summer birthday, this gluten-free ice cream cake is an easy favorite.

We welcomed summer this year with a crafty birthday party for our 7-year-old in our back yard, topped off with a delectable homemade ice cream cake — gluten free, of course.

At the party, the kids enjoyed making bottlecap magnets, sock puppets and pet rocks. They also enjoyed eating the ice cream cake, a gluten-free adaptation of my mom’s recipe. With a crushed cookie crust, Heath bars, ice cream and chocolate sauce, it’s a dessert that’s easy to make and even easier to devour.

My mom makes the cake with a combo of chocolate and coffee ice cream, but for the kids I went with chocolate and chocolate chip. Feel free to use your favorite flavors. I buy Breyers ice cream, as the company says it labels if gluten is present. For the cookie base, I use Mi-Del’s Gluten-Free Arrowroot Cookies, which are staples in our house. (Mom uses Nilla wafers, but those are NOT gluten-free.) Please be aware that Heath bars contain almonds, so if a guest has a nut allergy, skip the Heath bars and simply use a cookie base.

The cake can easily be made a week ahead of time (and definitely needs to be made at least one day ahead of time), saving you pre-party prep. Decorations can be kept simple, with some candles on a stick and themed cake toppers.

Click for Gluten-Free Ice Cream Cake recipe

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Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

These easy-to-make gluten-free peanut butter cookies are sealed with a kiss – Hershey’s Kisses placed on the cookies while they are still warm from the oven.

The bonus: The cookies are naturally gluten free, with no flour at all, making them good crowd-pleasers. Plus, the peanut butter packs a protein punch, which we’re always looking for in our house. Thank you to my friend Rebecca who provided the flourless peanut butter cookie recipe. I just added a kiss.

Peanut butter jars can easily become contaminated by bread crumbs spread on a sandwich knife. We always have two jars of peanut butter and two jars of jelly in our house, marked in permanent marker: GF ONLY and NOT GF. My mother has a squeeze bottle of jelly, so crumbs don’t get in the jar.

I’m a crunchy, natural peanut butter fan. True, natural peanut butter is a pain. The oil separates, so you need to plunge your knife into the jar to mix it up, inevitably resulting in an overflowing mess.

Still, one look at the ingredients and you’ll be convinced to go natural. Most peanut butters contain sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil. Even mainstream natural brands like Skippy Natural and Jiff Natural contain added sugar, palm oil and salt.

By contrast, Trader Joe’s organic crunchy unsalted peanut butter has one ingredient: peanuts. And the Whole Foods 365 Everyday PB has two ingredients: peanuts and salt (though, curiously, their 365 Organic brand has added palm oil).

While you’re at it, check your jam or jelly. Most contain high-fructose corn syrup. Who needs that? Buy a brand that contains simply fruit or is sweetened with other fruit juices.

Click for Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies recipe

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Luscious Gluten-Free Lemon Squares

gluten-free lemon squares

Luscious Gluten-Free Lemon Squares

Before my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease, I loved to bring lemon squares to family gatherings. People would fight over the last lemon square. I loved the buttery shortbread crust combined with the mouth-puckering tartness and compelling sweetness.

After my daughter’s celiac diagnosis, I mourned the lack of gluten-free lemon bars. Little did I know that lemon squares are easy to make gluten-free. The density of gluten-free flours helps make a firm crust (I used sorghum and amaranth flours to boost nutrition). And I only needed to substitute cornstarch in the lemon filling to make it gluten-free.

My friend Jennifer told me she makes lemon squares with a crushed macaroon crust during Passover. I definitely need to try that next year!

Lemon squares are easier to cut when they are frozen, since they won’t ooze under the knife. Plus, they taste divine cold, so I store them in my freezer and simply transfer to the table when it’s dessert time.

Click for Gluten-Free Lemon Squares recipe

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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.

Click for Gluten-Free Peppermint Pattie Cake recipe

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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.

Click for Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate Meringues recipe

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Gluten-Free Hamantaschen

hamantaschen1

Shaping the hamantaschen

hamantaschen2

Baked hamantaschen

Purim is a joyous Jewish holiday in which we celebrate how Queen Esther helped outsmart and thwart the evil Haman, who had plotted to destroy all the Jews in ancient Shushan (in Prussia). We celebrate by reading the Megillah (Scroll of Esther) and drowning out Haman’s name with noisemakers. We also dress in costumes, play games at Purim carnivals and eat hamantaschen, which are triangular fruit-filled cookies shaped like Haman’s tri-cornered hat.

In past years, I’ve struggled with making gluten-free hamantaschen. One year I had so many failed batches that I laid down and cried. This year, I once again set out to make gluten-free hamantaschen for Purim, so my daughter could have treats to bring to her class parties and family celebrations.

I originally wanted the recipe to include ancient gluten-free grains like quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, because they have significantly more protein and fiber than standard gluten-free flours. But no go. The taste was too strong and color too dark. That was two batches down, plus one batch that ended up on the kitchen floor when the parchment paper slid off the cookie sheet. D’oh.

I’m glad I kept trying. The dairy-free version below has a delicate taste without a gluten-free grittiness. The brown rice flour and sorghum subtly add extra protein and fiber, and the fruit filling provides the perfect sweetness.

If you’re unfamiliar with hamantaschen, they are somewhat similar to the Central European kolache (or is it kolachki?), in that they are cookies with fruit centers. Traditional hamantaschen fillings are prune, poppyseed and apricot, but you can fill them with anything, including any kind of fruit preserves, chocolate chips, M&Ms or Nutella.

For a short video on how to shape the hamantaschen, see my Noshin’ on Hamantaschen post.

On Purim, we eat, drink and be merry. Enjoy!

Click for the recipe

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Two-Way Three-Bean Chili

Three-Bean Chili

Two-Way Three-Bean Chili

For Super Bowl, we usually make chili. It’s our tradition, even though we don’t have a Super Bowl party and barely watch the game.

We made this chili recipe on Super Bowl Sunday. A rare thing happened. Almost as rare as seeing the Chicago Bears play in the championship. Both girls ate their whole meal and didn’t complain at all. That’s a huge victory, as there’s usually fussing over dinner.

We’re not big meat eaters, so we usually make a vegetarian chili loaded with an assortment of hearty, healthy beans, tomatoes and spices. Any combination of beans works well.

Just before I add the spicy seasonings, I remove a portion for the kids in a separate pot, so they get their own mild chili. The adults get the spicy version, with smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (Find canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store.) Thus, I’ve dubbed it two-way chili.

Now, if you know anything about Cincinnati chili, you know that two-way chili means something totally different. But I live in Chicago, not Cincinnati, so that’s not what I’m referring to.

For the record, Cincinnati chili is a saucy, meaty chili with unusual flavors of cinnamon and chocolate. Two-way Cincinnati chili consists of spaghetti topped with chili. Three-way chili is spaghetti, chili and shredded cheese. Four-way is spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese and diced onions. Five-way is spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese, diced onions and beans.

To make the Gluten-Free Nosh Two-Way Three-Bean Chili even more kid friendly, set out a few ramekins with a selection of garnishes. My kids love choosing their own toppings. It makes them feel more vested in the meal and more likely to eat it.

For a Cincinnati touch, serve the chili over gluten-free spaghetti. A guaranteed victory!

Click for the recipe

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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.

Click for the recipe

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