We’re lucky that there are more and more recipes out there that taste just like the real thing. But for many people, it s easier to make some desserts that happen to be gluten-free, rather than gluten-free adaptations of “normal” foods.
Foods that are naturally gluten free avoid the expensive specialty flours. Personally, I am not a fan of spending a lot for specialty flours when I’m sharing with many non-GF folks. This avoids the inevitable complaints of friends or family who won’t even try GF foods just because they’ve decided they won’t like it.
There are a lot of treats which just happen to be GF, or mostly GF. You can find recipes in normal cookbooks, or maybe you have family recipes and didn’t realize they were safe!
Here’s a list of treats from people at my classes. I’ve marked the desserts that are naturally or easily made dairy free (DF), egg free (EF) and soy free (SF), NF (nut free)because many people are dealing with several issues. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised. There are many more out there, but these are just to get your thoughts going. Remember, these foods are only GF if you use GF ingredients. And as always, check labels to avoid surprises.
Some of these are healthy, some not, but there are enough options to choose from that you can surely find something that works for your lifestyle that you and your family can enjoy together.
- Baked apples
- Candied orange peel (DF, EF, SF, NF)
- Caramelized bananas or Bananas Foster
- Candy canes! Dipped in (dairy free) chocolate or plain (DF, EF, NF)
- Chocolate bark (DF, EF)
- Chocolate mousse (NF)
- Christmas pudding/plum pudding
- Crème brulee (NF)
- Cheesecake-use any gf cookie crumbs for the crust, or do a crustless cheesecake (NF)
- Chocolates: make your own with a mold or buy
- Chocolate covered: strawberries, cherries, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, etc. (can be DF or NF)
- Clementines (DF, EF, NF)
- Clementine cake (DF)
- Custard (NF)
- Dessert soufflé
- Dried fruit (DF, EF, NF)
- Divinity (DF, NF)
- Flourless tortes
- Fondue, using chocolate and a variety of fruit and GF cookies (DF*, EF, NF)
- Fruit crisp (any gf flour or quinoa flakes for topping) (DF, EF)
- Fruit and whipped cream (EF, SF, NF)
- Fudge (EF)
- Hard candies (DF*, NF*)
- Hot chocolate (EF, NF)
- Ice cream/frozen yogurt (check labels!)
- Jello (DF, EF, NF)
- Mango with sticky rice (DF, EF, NF)
- Marshmallows (DF, NF)
- Meringue cookies (DF, SF, NF)
- Marzipan (some say glucose derived from wheat, so beware)
- Nut or seed brittle (DF*, EF)
- Panna Cotta (EF)
- Pavlova (meringue cake) (DF)
- Peanut butter cookies (DF) or a nut free, sunbutter cookies
- Poached pears (DF, EF, SF, NF)
- Popcorn clusters or caramel corn (EF)
- Popcorn cake (EF)
- Pralines (EF)
- Pumpkin seeds (DF, EF, SF, NF)
- Pudding pie with almond or cookie crumble crust
- Rice pudding ( EF, NF)
- Rice krispie bars using puffed rice (EF)
- Roasted chestnuts. (DF, EF, SF) Not quite dessert, but an amazingly seasonal yummy snack.
- Sorbet (DF, EF)
- Toffee (EF)
- Truffles (EF)
- Watermelon (DF, SF, EF, NF)
Not that these are healthy by any stretch of the imagination, BUT Martha Stewart has a slideshow and recipes of 40 holiday candies, all of which (at a quick glance) are GF. Of course, you need to make sure the chocolate is GF, be mindful of cross contamination, etc. but this is an easy way to keep traditions without venturing into specialty flours and unfamiliar territory.
If you’re not hungry yet, I don’t know what to say!
Author Information: Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, LD, Alexandria, VA, USA.
Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist. Her passion is teaching people to live and love a gluten-free diet in the Northern Virginia area. For more, seewww.harriswholehealth.com or follow on Twitter @cherylharrisrd