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Gluten-Free · Recipes · The Best Gluten-Free Desserts & How To Make Them

The Best Gluten-Free Desserts & How To Make Them

gluten free desserts

Most people don’t choose to go gluten free just for fun, because a lot of foods with gluten in them are really delicious! But on the bright side, there are a lot of really great gluten free recipes that can make it so you don’t feel deprived by your gluten free diet. Over the years I’ve collected a number of recipes for gluten free desserts that can help make you feel like you aren’t missing out on the good stuff.

When my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, he had to have several daily injections of insulin. When he turned 7, we were blessed to get an insulin pump that he could wear 24/7, sort of like an “artificial pancreas”. I remember feeling so grateful to live in a day and age when such advanced medical technology was available to people like us.

That is how I feel now about Celiac’s….I am so grateful this happened when there are so many great products and people out there sharing their gluten-free lifestyles (and recipes!)

gluten free desserts

Why did we go Gluten Free?

My son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 2 years old. When he was 15, he was also diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Unfortunately, these two auto-immune diseases often go hand-in-hand, so we weren’t completely surprised by the news, but learning to cook and eat gluten-free was a MAJOR challenge! But we all  must play with the cards we are dealt, and we have adjusted a lot since then.

In this post, I thought I would answer your questions and share some of our favorite gluten free desserts, because having yummy treats makes living with Celiac just a little easier.

gluten free desserts

What can you cook for someone with celiac disease?

This question is always a little funny to me, because so many traditional foods are naturally gluten free! And even those that aren’t can usually be modified to make a gluten free alternative (though, admittedly, they aren’t always as tasty as the original).

And as the number of people with gluten sensitivity in the United States increases, gluten free options will continue to become more and more available.

gluten free dessertsWhat is gluten?

Gluten is a substance found in several grains, and is what gives bread its elasticity and texture. The combination of yeast, sugar, and gluten is what beautiful, sweet, light, moist, and chewy homemade bread is made of.

Most bread and grain based products that you buy in the supermarket contain gluten.

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that treats the presence of gluten as a disease and attacks it like it would any virus, food poisoning, or bacterial infection. After a while of being in chronic fight or flight mode, those with Celiac can start to experience several painful digestive problems, fatigue, and anemia.

But since we’re talking mostly about desserts today, I’ll get back on track.

gluten free desserts

What are the best gluten free ingredients?

Well, like I said before, the only foods that have naturally occurring gluten are certain grains (wheat, rye, barley, and some oats).

So corn, white rice, natural peanut butter, nuts, eggs, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, diary products, sugar (yes, sugar), maple syrup, baking powder, and most baking spices (like cinnamon) are all naturally gluten free!

gluten free desserts

What desserts are Naturally Gluten Free?

Several foods that are already part of a healthy diet are naturally gluten free. Fruits, vegetables, beans, eggs, lean meats, and most natural dairy products are all gluten free. But be careful, because processed foods often have gluten based additives.

Some of my yummiest dessert recipes are gluten free. So let’s dig in!

Creme brulee, bananas foster, good old chocolate, and fruit topped with whipped cream are some of my favorite go-to desserts that are naturally gluten free.

gluten free desserts

Naturally Gluten Free Dessert Recipes

gluten free desserts

How do I adapt a recipe to be gluten free?

Many store bought mixes will have gluten free versions available too.  Or, as is the case with many pies and cheesecakes, you can just go crustless, since the crust is usually the culprit.

You don’t have to do anything to any of the other ingredients.  If it calls for a graham cracker crust, you can either get gluten-free crackers, or do without the crust all together.  And Pillsbury has gluten free frozen cookie dough readily available!

gluten free desserts

Slightly Adapted Gluten Free Desserts

gluten free desserts

Which gluten free flour is best for cakes, cookies, and brownies?

Sometimes you can’t go without the crust, or use the gluten free version.  When you’re making something from scratch, it’s easy to feel paralyzed at the many different flour options.  So let’s talk about the flour substitutes, because sometimes a lady just needs some chocolate cake, right??

Now, first off, a flourless cake is always a good option.  The absence of flour makes the texture more dense, so it may feel more like a brownie than a traditional cake, and whipped egg whites give it a little lift.  But without the airiness that gluten adds, you also find a lot more flavor in each bite.  And let me tell you, a good flourless chocolate cake is worth its weight in, well, chocolate!

That being said, here are the different gluten free flour options that are readily available in most stores.

gluten free desserts

Almond Flour

Almond flour is made of ground up almonds.  It has a very fine texture and is a good gluten free flour alternative for quick breads, cookies, cakes, and pancakes.  But if you’re looking to make a dessert made with yeast, almond flour won’t give you the results you want.

Almond flour naturally has a lot of moisture and it’s heavier than all-purpose flour, so you may find yourself needing to add more baking powder and/or baking soda, and use less liquid.

Almond flour also burns easily, so keep an eye on the temperature and duration of your cookies 😉

Rice Flour

Rice flour is a completely different animal.  It doesn’t bind as well with the other ingredients and your cookies and cakes won’t be able to hold their shape as well as you may be expecting.  Its best used in conjunction with other flour substitutes rather than on its own.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is made from the dried meat of a coconut after the milk has been processed out.  It’s high in protein, fat, fiber, and other nutrients.  It’s very absorbent, so if you don’t add more liquid to your dessert recipe, you may find that it turns out far more dry than you’d like.  If you are adapting a recipe that calls for all-purpose flour, try adding more eggs to the recipe than called for.  Egg whites add the structure that the gluten normally would, and the yolks add much needed moisture.

Oat Flour

Be cautious with oat flour.  While oats are gluten free, they also have a protein that is very similar to gluten, so if you are gluten intolerant, you may not be able to consume oats either.  If you do, make sure you use certified gluten free oats that were not made in the same factories as gluten flour.

With all naturally gluten free flours, you may need to go through a little bit of trial and error if you are adapting recipes on your own.  Don’t expect to get it right on the first try.  And you may find that a combination of different substitute options works best for you.  If all else fails, you can buy gluten free all-purpose flour.

gluten free desserts

gluten free desserts

What common store bought snacks are gluten free?

When I first started out, getting gluten free snacks from the store was a big concern.  You have no idea how much money I have spent over the years on things my son just would not eat!

These are tried and true…..at least by our standards. 🙂

Glutino Gluten Free Crackers are his absolute, hands down, favorite gluten-free cracker. Since he loves having cheese and crackers as a snack, finding a good gluten-free cracker was a necessity and a challenge!  These are by far…the best. We buy them through Amazon.  Pricey, but worth it.

We also like Nutella on toast, using either udi’s Sandwich Bread or my recipe for the best gluten-free bread you can make at home.  (I might be a little biased, but don’t knock it until you try it!)

Quaker CHOCOLATE Rice Cakes make a great snack. (He won’t eat any other flavor. Believe me, I’ve bought them all!)

Again Glutino comes through, he LOVES these! And *I* love them because I can make pretzel crusts for cheesecake, etc with them!

And finally, we make a LOT of Citrus Berry Smoothies! Just add frozen strawberries, a banana, frozen orange juice concentrate, yogurt, and milk to your blender and blend until smooth.

gluten free desserts

What are good sugar substitutes?

Just because sugar is gluten free doesn’t mean it’s good for you!  And my son’s diabetes makes it so that I need to be just as careful with sugars as I am with flours.  Granulated sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar, and honey are all gluten free, but they DO have an effect on your blood sugar levels.  And as with any processed, added sugar, it’s best to use them in moderation.

Often, you can make fruit based desserts without added sugar.  The riper the fruit, the sweeter it is.  But when even the ripe fruit isn’t enough, and if you are concerned about your sugar intake, try some of these “keto friendly” (aka blood sugar friendly) options:

  • Monkfruit
  • Stevia
  • Sucralose
  • Erythritol
  • Xylitol
  • Yacon Syrup

But sugar substitutes is an article for another day 🙂

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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