Last week I was asked by a reader to help her figure out what to make for her first gluten-free cookie exchange. She had limited gluten-free flours, and did not want to spend a lot of money acquiring those flours just to bake for a cookie exchange. I totally get it, and went on a hunt for recipes. I thought I would share a list of easy to make gluten-free recipes for here. Somewhere to find recipes for those that are newly diagnosed and not wanting to miss out on the holiday treats, those that are wanting to treat a celiac to a holiday treat, maybe something to take to the office Christmas party, or maybe to make something special for your cousin Fred. Whatever the case may be, these are recipes that you do not need a lot of special ingredients for. They are, for the most part, naturally gluten-free, or simply made gluten-free with one or two changes.
Now, you do have to keep contamination and cross-contamination in mind when you do any baking for anyone on a gluten-free diet. I am always leery when a gluten-free item comes from a gluten-filled kitchen. I will help you deal with the cross contamination a little further down. But now, some recipes!
First off, snack foods:
Kool-Aid Popcorn ~ imagine the flavours & colours available!
Peanut Brittle, just like Grandma’s.
Easy & Decadent Truffles (super easy, but taste fantastic!)
Reindeer Feed (white chocolate & Peppermint chex snack)
Here’s a whole list of recipes that use Gluten-Free Chex as the base. (Note: The “Original Chex Party Mix is not gluten-free!)
Angel Bites (cream cheese mints)
Snickers Fudge YUM! Wow…
Cookies & Cakes:
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies (you can add chocolate chips to this, yum yum!)
Using Gluten-Free Cornflakes, these Coconut-Cornflake Cookies would be great.
And since you’ve bought some gluten-free Cornflakes, you might as well make some Cornflake Wreath Cookies too.
Then there’s these amazing Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies. No flour. So pretty.
Chocolate Pomegranate Clusters are also very pretty.
Caramel Cashew Clusters ~swoon~
Beautiful Flourless Orange Cake
Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake (doesn’t taste like beans, I promise!)
And a Flourless Chocolate Cake
These Flourless Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies are also on my list, I hope you add them to yours as well.
If you are setting out a tray of cheeses and crackers, please be considerate and have a small separate plate for those on a gluten-free diet. The crumbs from the wheat crackers is enough to get a celiac sick. The same goes for cheese balls. If you can set aside a small part before serving it, you do not have to worry about cross contamination.
So, how do I know if my ingredients contain gluten?
Gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley. If you read the ingredient list, and any of those ingredients is found, you know immediately. You also have to be on the look out for other terms, HERE is a list of all the ‘no-no’ ingredients for a celiac. And although regular beer is not safe for a celiac, distilled liquors (or gluten-free beer) is safe for a person on a gluten-free diet to consume.
When you are preparing food for a person on a gluten-free diet, it is best if you can start with newly opened ingredients. For instance, if you are making flourless peanut butter cookies, open a new jar of peanut butter. This will ensure that you do not have any crumbs from your wheat bread that has contaminated the peanut butter already. Same goes for margarine, and other things where you would normally dip a dirty knife into.
Be sure that all of your pots, bowls, spoons & pans are freshly scrubbed, to be sure that there are no traces of wheat-based goods in them. Some people with celiac disease are very sensitive to gluten, and using stainless steel bowls (compared to plastic bowls) may be better for them (food can get stuck in scratches in the plastic).
Please, remember that for many of those on a gluten-free diet, are not on it for fun. It is what we have to do to stay healthy, and the same way you would not intentionally feed a person with a shellfish allergy crab, you should not try to sneak gluten to someone with Celiac Disease. Even though the reaction may not be immediate, a little gluten can do a lot of damage and leave us feeling ill for a long time. And no one wants to feel ill during the holidays.
So, with all of the naturally gluten-free treats & snacks listed, and a little knowledge on what contains gluten, and how to prepare it safely, I hope that we can all have a safe, happy holiday season this year.
If you have any questions about any of the recipes, or preparing them safely, or have more recipes to add to the list, please do so in the comments.