January 18, 2019

Gluten-Free Dessert Ideas by Gretchen Scalpi, R.D.

Gluten-Free Dessert Ideas

Sticking to a gluten-free diet is a challenge under the best of circumstances but when it comes to creating desserts things get even more difficult.  So many delicious desserts like pies, cookies, cakes and pastries are made with flour containing gluten.

Creating delicious gluten-free desserts becomes easier when you keep the right ingredients on hand. Some common items to keep in your pantry include:

Almond meal flour
Arrowroot powder
Baking powder
Bittersweet chocolate
Canola oil
Cashew butter
Cocoa powder
Coconut flakes
Coconut milk
Cornstarch
Dried fruit
Espresso powder
Evaporated milk
Gluten-free flour mixes
Gluten-free spices
Granulated, powered and brown sugar
Lemon extract
Maple syrup
Nuts
Peanut butter
Rice
Seeds
Shortening
Sorghum flour
Tapico starch/flour
Vanilla extract

Be sure to check the ingredients on these products before you purchase them.  You will want to avoid wheat, barley, brown rice syrup, caramel coloring, rye, brewer’s yeast, wheat starch, hydrolyzed wheat protein, malt, malt extract, malt syrup, dextrins and malt flavoring.

Remember that baking gluten-free is different than regular baking.  If you don’t use a baking mix you will need to combine gluten-free flours to get the right results.  You can use psyllium husks, ground chia seeds or flaxseed rather than xanthan gum if it gives you stomach distress.  Baking at a lower temperature is recommended for some recipes to keep your dessert from getting too brown.  If you screw up a recipe consider turning it into crumbs for toppings or to be added to other recipes.

Many gluten-free flours don’t contain preservatives so you may find that desserts made with them dry out quickly or become rancid.  Store these items in a zip-top bag (with air removed), freezer wrap or in an air tight container in the refrigerator or freezer separated from other food.  Mark all containers used for gluten-free food to keep them separate from other containers.  Bring the stored food to room temperature before consuming.

Our favorite gluten-free dessert recipe courtesy of http://bakedbree.com.

Gluten Free Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients:

4 cups blueberries (any fruit will work)

Crisp:

1 cup gluten free old-fashioned, gluten free oats (we used Bob’s Red Mill GF oats)
1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Wash and pick over the blueberries. Add to an 8×8 pan. Add oats, pecans, almond meal, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt to a small bowl. Mix to combine.
2. Spread the mixture over the blueberries.
3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, longer if the berries are frozen.

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Wellcoach®. She is the author of “The EVERYTHING Guide to Managing and Reversing Pre-Diabetes 2nd Ed.”, “The EVERYTHING Diabetes Cookbook 2nd Ed.”, “Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance At Health”, “The Quick Start Guide to Healthy Eating”, “The Quick Start Guide To Pre-Diabetes” and “Quick Start Recipes For Healthy Meals”.  To learn more about living and cooking gluten free watch her free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before You Go Gluten Free!”

Healthy Baking the Gluten Free Way by Gretchen Scalpi R.D.

In the past if you needed to bake a gluten free recipe you had to make your own baking mix.  This took a lot of trial and error and often resulted in disaster.  Now you can purchase gluten free baking mixes like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit & Baking Mix, Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix, Bisquick Gluten Free Pancake and Baking Mix, King Arthur baking mix, Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix and HEB Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix.

The baking mixes are convenient and easy to use and the results are usually tasty.  However, the downside to some of these baking mixes is that they are not as nutritious as they could be. They may not include enriched products like normal baking mixes and flours.  They may also be lacking in fiber and have too much fat.  I’m going to help you create healthier baked goods with the following tips.

1.  Reduce the amount of baking mix in the recipe and add a whole grain flours like Amaranth, Brown Rice, Buckwheat, Millet, Oat, Quinoa, Roasted Soy, Sorghum, Sweet Brown Rice or Teff.

2.  The recommended daily fiber intake for women is 25 grams and 30 grams for men.  Many people don’t meet this requirement on a daily basis.  One way of including more fiber in your diet is by adding fiber to your baking mixes.  Add ground flaxseed, Chia seeds, nuts or sunflower seeds.

3.  Many baking recipes, both gluten free or regular, ask you to include too much butter or oil which increases the fat in your diet.  You can safely decrease the butter or oil used by half but you may have to experiment to get the taste and texture of your baked goods just right for you.  You can also replace butter or oil with fat free plain yogurt, unsweetened apple sauce, pumpkin puree, prune puree, pureed canned pears or mashed bananas.

4.  Reduce the amount of sugar by up to half.  For example if a cup of sugar is called for use only a half cup.  If you want to use a sugar substitute follow the directions that are on the packaging.  You can also reduce the amount of other sugary ingredients like chocolate chips and you can make smaller portion sizes.

5.  If your recipe calls for eggs you can either use an egg substitute to reduce cholesterol or use less yolks and more whites.  Whip egg whites and fold into the rest of the batter to get lighter baked goods.  You can also use the recipe below to substitute for one egg. Double for two eggs, triple for three eggs, etc.

Flax Egg

1 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
3 Tbsp Water

Directions

Combine flaxseed meal and water and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  Add this ingredient to your recipe as you would the eggs.

Baking gluten free can easy, nutritious and delicious with just a few adjustments.  Try one or more of the tips above in your gluten free recipes to create baked goods that you and your family will love!

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Wellcoach®. She is the author of “The EVERYTHING Guide to Managing and Reversing Pre-Diabetes 2nd Ed.”, “The EVERYTHING Diabetes Cookbook 2nd Ed.”, “Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance At Health”, “The Quick Start Guide to Healthy Eating”, “The Quick Start Guide To Pre-Diabetes” and “Quick Start Recipes For Healthy Meals”.  To learn more about living and cooking gluten free register for her free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before You Go Gluten Free!” here!

Health Benefits or Hype? By Kathy Smart

High Protein Dark Chocolate Cupcakes….Healthy?

Yes!…BUT these are high protein cupcakes. These cupcakes use heart healthy and high protein ground almonds, pure maple syrup and applesauce! And go ahead, enjoy these as a breakfast treat! Protein first thing in the morning helps stabilize blood sugar and increase metabolism. So, why not do it with chocolate!

 

See my friends? Healthy eating CAN be decadent!

 

3 Reason to Love Dark Chocolate:

Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Heart. Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries.)

Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Brain. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

Dark Chocolate Helps Control Blood Sugar. Dark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy and your circulation unimpaired to protect against type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

 

High Protein Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
From Live The Smart Way by Kathy Smart

Makes 12-14 cupcakes

Ingredients:

¾ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
4 whole eggs – separated
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
1 ½ cups ground almonds
5 Tbsp gluten-free flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup (1 stick) butter or coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Melt chocolate, butter and applesauce in a saucepan over low heat.
3. Beat egg yolks with ¼ cup of the maple syrup and set aside.
4. Mix the melted chocolate mixture and egg yolk mixture together. Stir in ground almonds, vanilla extract, baking powder, sea salt and flour.
5. Beat 4 egg whites with ¼ cup remaining of the maple syrup until stiff. Fold into the above mixture.
6. Grease a muffin tin and fill muffin tin with mixture till about ¾ full.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

 

Icing:

2 squares unsweetened baker’s chocolate (melted)
1/3 cup raw agave nectar
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cool slightly before glazing cupcakes.

 

Kathy Smart ~ North America’s gluten free expert. TV Show Host, Nutritionist, Chef and Author
Live The Smart Way.
www.LiveTheSmartWay.com