Gluten-Free Halloween Candy: What Can I Eat?

Another Halloween has come and gone. I hope you all got lots of good treats!

As kids, my sister and I used to dump all our candy on the living room floor and sort our goods into piles. Candy we loved, candy we’d share with our parents (which was candy we usually didn’t love…sorry Mom and Dad!) and candy that was no good. At that time, I never had to worry about what candy I couldn’t have.

Now as an adult I realize Halloween candy can be slim picking when it comes to what is allergen friendly.

Thankfully there are great websites that list all candy that is gluten-free, check out VeryWell.com to see what is safe to eat in your Halloween stash!

safe-halloween-candy

Why the teal pumpkin? The teal pumpkin symbolizes The Teal Pumpkin Project – an initiative to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of safe treats for all trick-or-treaters. Next year remember to support this project, check out the link here.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookie Truffles

The official countdown to Christmas is on – we’re only five days away!
Glutino Brownies and Cupcakes Last night we had our family Christmas party – with three out of our 13 family members who are gluten-free. I always love raising my hand to bring the treats and this year I decided to make everything gluten-free.

I used to make a variety of ‘gluten-full’ treats so that I didn’t have to make everyone eat my gluten-free creations (when I was the only one GF), but now that there are so many amazing alternatives to GF flours and mixes, baking gluten-free for everyone is easy and everyone loves it.

One of my favourite GF brownie mixes is from Glutino (Double Chocolate Brownies) – they make the most decadent, fudgey, flavourful brownies and they always seem to be a hit. I served brownies and mini Glutino Twinkle Sprinkle Cupcakes with buttercream icing to appease the chocolate and vanilla lovers in the family.

They’re both so easy to whip up and are the perfect treat to finish off a Christmas dinner.

Alongside, I served Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookie Truffles. These truffles are a rendition of the ‘Oreo’ Truffle, using Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies. They didn’t last long on the plate and everyone was so surprised how easy they were to make.

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookie Truffles

1.5 packages of Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies

1 80z package of cream cheese

1 package of semi-sweet baking chocolate

In a food processor, blend a package and a half of Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies until they are a fine crumb. Next, chop the cream cheese into small pieces and add in. Continue to blend until a smooth mixture is formed. Stick in the fridge for around 30-45 minutes until cool.

Once the mixture is cooled, scoop out and roll into one inch balls (or smaller). Stick in the freezer to chill for 25 minutes.

After removing from the freezer, in a double-boiler melt the semi-sweet chocolate until smooth and liquid. Drop the balls into the mixture and roll around with a spoon. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet to cool. Keep in the fridge before serving.

Gluten-Free 'Oreo' Truffles

The outer shell is a hard semi-sweet chocolate and inside is a gooey, rich truffle filling. They are amazing!

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

When you think of Christmas, what scents or flavours do you associate it with? For me, peppermint and shortbread always come to mind.

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I eat my fair share of shortbread during the holiday season and I must say they are one of the best cookies to make gluten-free. Maybe because they tend to have more butter than flour…but regardless, they always seem to turn out with the exact ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ consistency as ‘gluten-full- shortbread.

My go-to shortbread recipe has always been ‘Grandma’s Shortbread’ on the back of the Fleischmann’s Canada Corn Starch box. It’s fool proof and also easy to turn gluten-free by subsituting wheat flour with a gluten-free blend.

Sometimes gluten-free all-purpose flour can be tough to use as a replacement for all-purpose white, wheat flour because the consistency turns out too tough or grainy. For example, Robin Hood Gluten Free Flour is awful for making shortbread. The consistency is super grainy and the flavour turns out almost sour – not a fan!

One of the best ‘cup-for-cup’ gluten-free all-purpose florus I’ve come across so far has been Glutino’s All Purpose Flour Mix. It isn’t grainy and offers a smooth finish to baked goods. I would definitely recommend picking up a box of this for your holiday treats.

I usually top my shortbreads with a Milk Chocolate Chipit, but with my last batch I chopped up Hershey Peppermint Bark Bells and topped the cookies with those. They add a minty, Christmasy flavour (they’re also delicious to eat on their own). If you’re not in the Christmas mood yet, you probably will be after these cookies.

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (Glutino’s All-Purpose Flour Mix)

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup corn starch

3/4 cups butter (room temperature, or nooked in the microwave)

6 Hershey Peppermint Bark Bells (chopped)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

With a hand mixer (or stand mixer), mix butter until smooth and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, sift the gluten-free all-purpose flour, icing sugar and corn starch. Sifting the dry ingredients together enusres that there are no large clumps – it essentially aerates the ingredients.

Combine the dry ingredients with the butter and continue to mix with the hand mixer. YOu will then have to combine the ingredients with your hands to form a ball of dough. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes and then roll one inch balls and place two to three inches apart from one another.

Bake for 10 minutes, top the cookies with the chocolate pieces and bake for an additional 10-12 – until slightly golden.

What’s your favourite holiday/Christmas cookie? Comment below to let me know for your chance to win Glutino coupons!

For an additional entry, follow @TheGutGazette on Twitter and let me know in a separate comment.

Triple Chocolate Gluten Free Cookies

What’s better than chocolate? What about chocolate times three…in the form of a cookie!?!

Gluten-free Chocolate Cookies

I am definitely in love with chocolate.  It’s rare I go a day without eating some form of the cocoa+sugar goodness. I know it’s not as healthy as having carrots every day, but moderation is the key to a balanced life and if chocolate is a contributor to my happiness everyday, then I don’t care!

Hershey was kind enough to send me a delicious goodie bag to review, so I decided to create a cookie that packed a huge chocolate punch. They sure do pack a punch! They’re very rich and taste like a brownie in the form of a chewy cookie. They are really delicious, even my non-gluten-free family loves them. The best part is that they remind me of the chocolate part of the gluten-full, Pillsbury, ‘ready to bake’ sugar cookies! I used to love those cookies…

These are super easy to make. They are essentially a shortbread base with cocoa powder and Hershey’s Chipits added to the mix. They are the perfect cookie to bring to your next holiday party, to woo your co-workers with or to package up and gift for a DIY Christmas gift.

Gluten Free chocolate cookies

Triple Chocolate Gluten Free Cookies

1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter (ideally room temperature, but if you’re in a rush, nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds)

3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I love Glutino’s All-Purpose Flour Mix)

1/2 cup icing sugar

3 tablespoons Hershey’s Cocoa Powder (Natural & Unsweetened)

1/4 cup Hershey’s White Chocolate Chipits

1/4 cup Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Chipits 

Preheat oven to 300°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

With a hand mixer (or stand mixer), mix butter under smooth and fluffy.

Mix in the gluten-free all-purpose flour, icing sugar and cocoa powder, blend until fully combined.

Add in the Chipits and blend on low or mix with a wooden spoon.

Combine the dough with your hands and cool in the fridge for 10 minutes to allow it to set for easier handling. Once the dough is chilled, roll the cookies into one inch balls and place a couple inches apart from one another (the cookies do expand as they bake!). Gently press each ball of dough with the palm of your hand to flatten the cookie.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

Let the cookies completely cool before storing and/or serving.

*These cookies are also egg and nut free!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Mini Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pies

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

What is your favourite Thanksgiving food?

Ever since I was introduced to Glutino’s Perfect Pie Crust mix, making gluten-free pies has been very easy. I love the buttery flavour and flakey texture. I had to get creative when I realized I didn’t have a pie dish at the cottage, so I made mini pies in a muffin tray!

These mini pies are a great dessert to please all of your guests. Make a few fillings and just fill the pies up – then everyone can enjoy their favourite flavour. Although this post is too late for this year’s Thanksgiving, keep the idea in mind for Christmas (or for my American readers, try out this recipe for your Thanksgiving celebrations).

I followed the instructions on the Glutino Perfect Pie Crust box, but I adjusted the amount of time I baked them for. I did bake the base for 15 minutes, but then once filled and topped with the top layer of crust, I only baked them for 25 minutes.

You can use whichever pie filling you want, but for my pumpkin pie filling I made the following:

Pumpkin Pie Filling:

1 cup pureed canned pumpkin
1 cup condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Empty one cup of pureed pumpkin into a saucepan and heat for about five minutes. The process of warming the canned pumpkin helps to remove the taste of tin. After, whisk the pumpkin, sugar and condensed milk until smooth. Add in the eggs and beat. Stir in the spices and then allow the filling to cool.

While the filling is cooling, follow the instructions on the Glutino pie crust mix.

*I found chilling the dough for 30 minutes was plenty of time, rather than the full hour the instructions on the box stated. 

Mini Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Enjoy!

….And remember, pie isn’t just for dessert, it’s perfect for breakfast too 🙂

The Perfect Lunch Bag Cookie

Vegetables in cookies…not the typical ingredient, is it? I’ve heard of parents sneaking veggies in mac & cheese or fruit smoothies for their kids, but veggies in cookies was a first for me.
I first learned about Hidden Garden Foods last year in an article by The Globe and Mail: Lawyer leaves practice to launch gluten-free cookies with hidden vegetables. Not only was I curious about what a ‘vegetable’ cookie tasted like, but I loved the fact that they were Canadian made and of course gluten free.


Catherine Anderson founded Hidden Garden Foods in 2012, in Horseshoe Bay, B.C., when she was struggling to figure out creative ways to sneak veggies into her children’s diet. She was kind enough to send me a variety of her cookies to test out and share with you. Hidden Garden Foods cookies are all gluten and nut free (which make the perfect school-safe snack), made of high quality ingredients, and are free of preservatives, artificial flavours and colours. 

I must admit, I was a bit hesitant at first. I didn’t think a chocolate chip cookie would taste as good with pumpkin added into the mix and I thought the overpowering taste of beets would surely ‘beat’ out the flavour of chocolate.

Beets + Cocoa
Red Velvet Bites

Each 40 gram serving of the Red Velvet Bites have 1/4 cup of beets. The flavour is amazing. You can definitely taste the cocoa flavour and there is a slight undertone of the sweetness from the beets – but not noticeable if you weren’t aware of the secret ingredient. I really enjoyed them. I love the fact that the rich red beets bring out the red velvet colour in the cookies without the addition of artificial colours.

 

Squash + Ginger 
Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps are probably one of my favourite cookies, they also remind me of the autumn and winter seasons. A serving of cookies is about four, which are each the size of a ping-pong ball. A serving includes 1/4 cup of squash. Trust me, you would never know there was squash in these sweet, spiced-ginger cookies. I loved these!

Pumpkin + Chocolate Chips
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just like the above cookies, each 40 grams have 1/4 cup of pumpkin. Again, there was no inkling of any pumpkin flavour, just sweet chocolate. These were delicious and made a great accompaniment to my afternoon tea.

I’ve been able to find Hidden Garden cookies in a variety of health food stores, including Nature’s Emporium and Whole Foods. I would highly recommend trying these, they are a healthier alternative to your typical cookie and make a great snack or easy dessert.

Not only are these kid friendly but adult approved!

*Photos supplied by Hidden Garden Foods 

Hello September!

It’s amazing how quick summer flies by. Warm summer nights, fresh produce and swimming in the lake are all coming to a close with ‘back-to-school’ and ‘cozy sweater’ season around the corner.

The last couple months were fairly busy for me. I tried to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, which meant limited time on my computer. Little blogging meant more golfing, yoga, reading, painting, cooking, wedding planning and enjoying time with family and friends. It was a beautiful time spent!

One of my favourite recipes I made this summer was ‘Lemon Blueberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting’. The sweet blueberries and tart lemon create a perfect contrast of taste and the cream cheese frosting is a creamy, flavourful finish. It was a hit in my house and a recipe that can be made well into the winter months to give your tastebuds a hit of summer flavours.

Lemon Blueberry Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting 

1 box of gluten free yellow cake mix
2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup butter (softened)
4 cups of icing sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

Follow the cake mix directions. Add in the vanilla extract, blueberries and lemon zest. Pop in the oven and bake according to the instructions listed on the mix.

While the cake is baking, whip up the cream cheese frosting.

Ensure the cream cheese and butter are soft. Cream together the butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer or blender until fluffy. Slowly mix in the icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the lemon zest, vanilla and lemon extracts.

Once the cake is baked, let rest to completely cool.

I liked the ‘naked’ sandwich look of the cake by “smooshing” the two pieces together with the frosting in between, but feel free to frost however you like.

It’s a super easy recipe and the perfect dessert!

Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Crackers

Crunchy, sweet and salty – three wonderful adjectives.

One of the easiest recipes out there is ‘Saltine Cracker Toffee’ (chocolate, caramel crackers). I remember enjoying the treat when I used to be able to eat Premium Plus crackers, but until recently I wasn’t able to find a gluten free cracker that lived up to the salty, buttery crunch of saltines. Until I was introduced to Glutino Original Table Crackers, sent to me for review. Although not as salty as the traditional Premium Plus, they are three times the size and offer the perfect crunch (with no crunchy seeds or grains that many gluten free crackers contain).
One of my favourite toppings for Glutino Table Crackers – which may sound awful (but isn’t) – is to spread the crackers with a thin layer of butter and top it off with Marmite (known as Vegemite in Australia). For many North Americans, Marmite is not a common jar found in the pantry, nor is it commonly enjoyed. My mom, sister and I love this stuff though! It’s super salty and simply tastes like yeast, mmmm. At least give it a try if you haven’t already, you may really love it.
What is your favourite topping for crackers? Other than cheese?
 
The below gluten free ‘Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Crackers’ (aka addictive) recipe is the easiest dessert to whip up and a great gift to take as a hostess gift. Break it up, stick it in a large mason jar and tie with a bow!
Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Crackers (Gluten Free)
2 sticks of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 8 oz package of milk chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
Arrange the Glutino Table Crackers in a single layer along the pan.
Place 2 cups Glutino Pretzel Sticks in a large bowl and use a wooden spoon to crunch into small pieces.
In a small pot, melt together the butter and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until the colour becomes a golden caramel. Remove from the heat and pour over the crackers – covering evenly.
Stick the sheet into the oven and bake for 6-8  minutes until the sugar, butter mixture becomes bubbly (ensure to watch carefully). Once bubbly, remove from the oven and spread the chocolate chips evenly over the crackers – use a knife to smooth out the chunks. While the chocolate is still warm, crumble the pretzels over top.
Transfer the sheet to the freezer for around 20 minutes until completely chilled. The chocolate, cracker sheet will now be formed. Simply break off pieces and enjoy!
I warn you though, it’s highly addictive! It’s best to keep in the fridge to ensure the chocolate doesn’t get too soft…the crunchier the better.

Sweet Tortillas with Tropical Salsa

Sweet tortillas and tropical salsa with a warm caramel drizzle. What the hack? Yup…I did a total hack of the ever so popular salsa and chips. After discovering Udi’s ‘What the Hack’ food contest, I thought I would come up with a clever dish of my own. Unfortunately the contest was only open to US residents, but I still had a fun time pretending I was participating in Chopped [Canada]. The whole idea was to choose one of three Udi’s products and then a few ingredients from their six key ingredients (which included: pineapple, coconut, nut butter, chocolate chips, parmesan cheese and jalepenos). The recipe was a hit and was demolished very quickly. It’s a light summer dessert perfect for ending a Mexican-inspired meal. You can either serve them as individual plated desserts, or buffet style with the option to dip into the salsa. 
Sweet Tortillas & Tropical Salsa
1 pack of Udi’s Plain Tortillas 
2 cups of chopped pineapple 
1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup dulce de leche 
2 tbsp cream 
Preheat oven to 450°F. 

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle each tortilla to coat (set aside half a tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture for the salsa). Place tortillas on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until golden and crispy (be sure to monitor the oven as some ovens bake quicker than others – you don’t want these to burn). 

Meanwhile, combine the chopped pineapple, coconut and remaining cinnamon sugar in a bowl. 

To make the caramel drizzle, combine the dulce de leche and cream in a small sauce pan, stirring until combined. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
Once the tortillas are baked, cut into quarters while still hot. Set aside to cool. 
To assemble, place one tortilla on a plate, top with two tablespoons of the tropical salsa and drizzle with the warm caramel sauce. If you’d rather serve this in a buffet-type setting, place the tortillas in a bowl next to the large bowl of tropical salsa for people to dip into. 

 Enjoy! These are very easy to make and delightfully refreshing! Let me know how you enjoy them!

I Heart You Hand Pies

I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post. Life got busy! However, during these last few weeks I have been testing out lots of new products that I am excited to share with you. 
It’s been such a treat to have the snow melt and the robins chirp away the last couple of weeks. Until this morning when I woke up to snow outside! I didn’t think April snowfalls were such a thing. I guess that’s what you get for living in Canada, eh? With snow on the ground, it’s hard to imagine that Easter is just days away. Have you figured out your brunch, lunch and/or dinner menus? I thought I’d share with you a fun dessert that doesn’t take too much time to make and doesn’t require a serving spoon! Introducing: gluten free hand pies (which I love). 
If you were on Pinterest around Valentine’s day, you probably would have seen Pinterest exploding with various versions of the ‘hand-pie’. I thought they were way too cute to pass up, but I didn’t have a huge chunk of time to make gluten-free pastry dough. Fortunately Glutino pulled through with their Perfect Pie Crust Mix. The directions were very simple and it only took about an hour for the dough to chill in the fridge. The dough was easy to roll and the baked result was delicious. I was expecting the texture to be doughy and bread-like, but it was nice and flaky with a buttery flavour. For one of the fillings I chopped up a couple of apples (without the skin), mixed the pieces with brown sugar and caramelized them in a pan with some butter until tender – it was that simple! I cheated for the second filling and scooped some cherry jam out of a jar…easy peasy! 
11 steps to make your own hand pies:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
2. Prepare the dough as per instructions on the box (or use your own dough recipe)
3. Roll until half an inch thick 
4. Use a circular cookie cutter (about three inches in diameter) to cut the dough
5. Put a tablespoon of filling in the centre of one of the cutouts (bottom half)
6. With a second cutout (top half), cut a hole in the centre using a knife or a small cookie cutter (I used a small heart shaped cookie cutter)
7. Drape the top half (with the hole) on top of the filling to make a ‘sandwich’
8. With a fork, gently press the sides of the ‘sandwich’ to make pie indents 
9. Whisk one large egg with one tbsp of water to make an egg wash
10. Brush the tops and edges of the pies with the egg wash
11. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden