Swirled chocolate peanut butter bark
My older daughter calls Valentine’s Day, “Chocolate Day,” because that’s mostly how we celebrate the day–with chocolate. Yesterday, I was looking for a easy, gluten-free chocolate treat that I could make as a quick after-school snack. In a matter of minutes, I whipped up this Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark.
I’ve made Dark and White Chocolate Pomegranate Bark before (actually, it was the first recipe on this blog) and ever-popular Peppermint Bark (similar thing, but with crushed candy canes instead of pomegranate seeds). So this recipe is a twist on those favorites.
You’ve got to love a recipe that has only two ingredients, comes together in minutes (other than the refrigeration time and clean-up time), looks fancy, tastes great and is naturally gluten-free.
Note: When you are melting chocolate, make sure the bowl and utensils are dry, without any drops of water. If water mixes with chocolate, the chocolate will seize and become a gunky mess when heated. Also, when using the microwave, heat the chocolate on half-power (not full-power) and remove the chocolate when it is mostly (but not all the way) melted, to prevent overheating. When you stir the chocolate, the residual heat will melt the rest of the chocolate (and if not, pop it back in the microwave briefly at half power).
What are some of your favorite chocolate treats?
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark
By Gluten-Free Nosh
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place chocolate chips in a large bowl and microwave on half power (such as 5 out of 10) for 1-1/2 minutes, or until mostly melted. Stir chocolate well to melt the remaining chocolate chips (if not melting, pop bowl back in the microwave briefly). Pour chocolate onto prepared baking sheet and spread thinly with a rubber spatula into a rough rectangle.
- Place peanut butter chips in a large bowl and microwave on half power (such as 5 out of 10) for 1-1/2 minutes, or until mostly melted. Stir well to melt the remaining peanut butter chips (if not melting, pop bowl back in the microwave briefly). Pour dollops of melted peanut buter chips on top of the chocolate. Drag the tip of a knife through the peanut butter to swirl it through the chocolate.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until firm. Cut into bite-sized bark with a large knife. Note that you won’t really be sawing/cutting the bark, but rather I take a large chef’s knife, put both hands on top of it and press down on the bark to break it up.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Homemade peanut butter cups -- naturally gluten-free!
Recently, I made gluten-free Girl Scouts Tagalong cookies, or peanut butter pattties. We had leftover peanut butter filling, so my daughters and I decided to make homemade peanut butter cups, like miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups — naturally gluten-free and naturally delicious!
My friend Chris had sent me a recipe for homemade chocolate candy cups, with a choice of either a peanut butter or peppermint filling, and I realized we could adapt her recipe using our leftovers. I had previously bought some mini baking cups (like miniature cupcake liners) at the dollar store, so we had all the ingredients on hand for this easy gluten-free chocolate candy.
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups, Gluten-Free
By Gluten-Free Nosh
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used processed peanut butter, not natural peanut butter)
- 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, powdered sugar
- Pinch salt
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips or dairy-free chocolate chips
- mini baking cups or candy cup liners, about 1.25-inches in diameter
- Place mini baking cups in a mini muffin tin. (Note: It is fine if the mini baking cups are smaller than the muffin tin compartments.)
- In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt until well combined. Use your hands to roll peanut butter mixture into 1/2-inch balls; roll balls quickly so your hands don’t get sticky. Set balls aside on a plate.
- Place chocolate chips in a large bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute on half-power (such as power level 5). Stir chocolate thoroughly. If not melted, pop bowl in the microwave for subsequent 30-second intervals, stirring until chocolate is melted.
- Place a dollop of melted chocolate in the bottom of the mini baking cups, so the chocolate covers the bottom of the cup. Drop peanut butter balls in the middle of the mini baking cups. Spoon dollops of melted chocolate on top of the peanut butter balls. The melted chocolate should surround the sides and top of the peanut butter balls, evenly covering the peanut butter and leaving a smooth chocolate top.
- Stick the mini muffin tin in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, so the chocolate hardens. Enjoy your homemade candy!
Yield: I’m sorry — I forgot to note the yield, but it probably makes around 20 to 24 mini peanut butter cups.
Now that we live in a very neighborhoody area of Chicago, my kids really look forward to trick-or-treating. But there is a big Halloween hassle factor. I could do without all the extra sweets and the frustration of figuring out what candy is gluten free and what is not, let alone dealing with food at Halloween parties.
When my daughter was younger, we tried to trade her Halloween candy for a toy. She welcomed the toy, but a day later she was crying for the candy because she didn’t really get the concept that “trading in” meant permanently giving up the candy. These days, she’s pretty amenable to disposing of gluten-containing candies or trading them with her non-celiac sister. She knows she has much more candy than she’ll ever eat anyway.
I get frustrated with candy companies that refuse to print gluten-free lists and instead tell customers to look on the label. I’m sorry, but when we are trick-or-treating or getting a birthday goodie bag with candy, the individual pieces of candy usually don’t have a full ingredient list. I wish these companies would serve their customers, instead of their corporate lawyers.
When searching the Web to find out if a candy is gluten-free, make sure you are looking at gluten-free lists from the most recent year, as ingredients do change. The best source of information is always the candy label — even if you have to go to the drug store to look up labels. Also, be sure to check labeling to see if items are made in shared facilities or on shared equipment as items containing gluten. For instance, Brach’s candies, Palmer chocolates and Russell Stover chocolates all say that their candies are produced in facilities that handle wheat.
These blogs have thorough lists of gluten-free and allergy-free candy. I am grateful for their research.
Gluten-Free Candy Lists:
Sure Foods Living Allergen-Free and Gluten-Free Halloween Candy List 2011
Sure Foods Living Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2011
Jen Cafferty at GFreeLife’s 2011 Halloween Gluten Free Candy List
Celiac Family: Safe Gluten-Free Halloween Candy (2010)
2012 Update: Check out the extensive 2012 Gluten-Free Halloween Candy List from the awesome Jen Cafferty at gfreelife.com.
Here is my own shorter list of items that are NOT gluten-free. This is not an exhaustive list, and there are other candies that are also NOT gluten-free. But I find this list to be useful, as you can steer your child away from selecting the following candies from a trick-or-treat bowl. Of course, you still need to check every piece of candy to make sure it IS gluten-free, but here are some candies you should definitely keep away from.
Click for my list of candy that is NOT gluten-free
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