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!

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 Halloween

One more sleep until Halloween!

I not only love Halloween for the surplus of chocolate, but I love dressing up. It’s fun to be something “different” for the evening or for a party. When I was a kid I used to plan my costume months and months before!

Wouldn’t it be neat if we could dress up to be able to enjoy all the gluten-filled candies like KitKat bars and Coffee Crisps? Only in our dreams, right? 

Fortunately there are a few gluten-free candies we can still enjoy. My top five favourite gluten-free Halloween candies are:

  1. Nestle Aero
  2. Cadbury Dairy Milk
  3. Maynard’s Wine Gums
  4. Maynard’s Fuzzy Peaches
  5. Chiclet’s Gum

Gluten-free halloween candy

What are yours?

Gluten Free Chocolate-Bacon Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Frosting

A chocolate-bacon cupcake with salted caramel frosting to top it off. I popped the bite size cupcake in my mouth and just laughed. The tastes were amazing. I love when something tastes SO good! The sweetness of the chocolate, saltiness of the bacon and the savoury dulce de leche cream cheese frosting married so well together.

When I received my March issue of Food Network Magazine, I got really excited to see that it was “The Bacon Issue”. I was more intrigued when I saw the feature on the cover that said “Wow! Chocolate-Bacon Cupcakes.” In December when I was at the Distillery District Christmas Market, I tried Leonard Pig Candy Chocolate Covered Bacon and I loved it. So I jumped on the idea of making these interesting cupcakes. I adapted the recipe to make to make it gluten free. These are a must try and a crowd pleaser. I served these to a bunch of ladies at a recent vino night and they were a hit (they also couldn’t even tell they were GF)!

Gluten Free Adaptation – Chocolate-Bacon Cupcakes with Dulche de Leche Frosting 

From Food Network Magazine (March 2014 | Volume 7, No. 2 | p. 132)
For the candied bacon:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
12 slices gluten-free bacon cut in half
For the cupcakes:
1 package of gluten free chocolate cake mix
1 tbsp instant espresso/coffee mix
For the frosting:
1 cup jarred dulce de leche
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sea salt for the topping
1. Make the candied bacon: preheat oven to 350 and set a rack on a foil-lined baking sheet. Whist the brown sugar, sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl. Toss bacon in the mixture until coated. Arrange bacon on the rack in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes until dark brown. Let cool. Chop the bacon into small pieces.
2. While the bacon cooks, prepare the cupcake batter. Follow the instructions on the gluten free chocolate cake mix and mix in the instant espresso. Alternatively, you may use your own gluten free chocolate cake recipe.
3. Prepare muffin tins with muffin cups. Fill muffin tins with batter until 3/4 is filled. I made mini, bite-sized cupcakes, which made 48. You can make regular sized cupcakes though, or even a cake. Follow the instructions on the box for bake times. Once cooked, remove to a rack and cool completely.
4. To make the frosting: beat the dulce de leche, cream cheese and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until combined. Transfer to a pastry bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes (or cake). Top with candied bacon and sprinkle with sea salt.
The candied bacon was really delicious. Some parts were chewy, others were crunchy. It was deliciously sweet with a hint of smokiness and salt. I had left over bacon and the next day made a candied bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. It sounds weird, but you can’t judge it until you try! Yum! I can’t wait to make these again. Thank you Food Network for an amazing recipe that not only tasted beautiful but looked beautiful.

Gluten Free Oatmeal, Toffee, Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I have a little bit of a toffee obsession. I love the combination of chocolate and butterscotch/toffee, like seen in my Coconut Butterscotch Chocolate Brownies and my Cheesecake Pops. I also love sprinkling or drizzling it on top of thick Greek yogurt to make a yogurt parfait – thanks to Chobani for the inspiration! By the way, how much do you miss not having Chobani in Canada? I hope they come back soon! 

A craving for a warm oatmeal cookie kicked in yesterday afternoon, so I thought I would take it into my own hands and whip up a batch. I had a few toffee bits left from my last recipe and I thought they would make a good addition. And so they did!

The combination of chocolate and toffee in these oat-y, hearty cookies are amazing. It’s a great combination of flavours that really made my tastebuds happy. 

Gluten Free Oatmeal, Toffee, Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg (or egg replacement – 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp white vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits 

Preheat oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Beat butter and sugar with a mixer until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until combined. Add in chocolate chips and toffee bits.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. 

Drop by tablespoon onto pan and flatten with back of spoon. 
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden.

*Warning, these cookies are extremely addictive. It’s not hard to eat more than one…or two…


Chocolate Bacon at Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market

Low-lying Christmas lights, mulled wine, hand-crafted ornaments and chocolate-covered bacon! Last Friday we went to the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District. It’s a market influenced by the old and new world traditions that capture the heritage, charm and tradition of European Christmas markets. 
After hearing about it last year, I was itching to go. It definitely got me in the holiday spirit. The one thing I was most looking forward to at the market was Leonard Pig Candy – Chocolate Dipped Bacon. It sounded like such an interesting combo, and wow was it ever! 
A sweet start with a smokey finish. Amazing. 

The busy booth! You could get warm dipped bacon or the packaged, cold stuff. Gluten free!

How cute is this window display? 
I took this photo to capture the old traditions of Christmas markets, these are definitely some classic trinkets. I submitted it into the Christmas Market’s photo contest too! If you could help me out and vote for it, I would be very appreciative, just click here and click ‘vote’ above the photo.

I would highly recommend heading over to the market before it ends this Sunday (15th). If you can’t make it this year, be sure to plan ahead for next year, it was so beautiful and will surely put you in the holiday mood. 

Touchdown with Coconut-Butterscotch-Chocolate Brownies

Don’t you just love the fall? I do. I love the smells, sights, tastes and coziness of autumn. It’s just a great season. Pumpkin pie, knit sweaters, comfy scarves, spicy chai lattes, the colours of the changing leaves, crisp air, long walks, Thanksgiving & Halloween…it just doesn’t get any better than that. I should also include the fact that autumn also marks the start of football season. I’m not much of a football fan (although I do have a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt), but I do love the tasty treats that football is associated with…especially sweets.

When Glutino asked me to become part of their VIGFBC (very important gluten free blogging community), I was honoured! I am a huge fan of Glutino products, they really know how to make gluten-free taste good. To begin my journey as a regular Glutino blogger, I thought I would put a spin on their brownie mix. I also thought these jacked up brownies would be a great addition to any football tailgating party, or just a normal Sunday afternoon watching the game.

All you need is:
1 box of Glutino Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
1 cup of butterscotch chips
1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut

Follow the directions on the brownie mix box and once everything is combined, mix in the butterscotch chips and coconut. Bake as directed, let cool and serve.

These brownies are delicious. Moist, decadent and chewy…you would never believe they were gluten free. These brownies didn’t last very long in my house, and I doubt they will in yours either!

Bake them up this weekend, they’re perfect for a football tailgating party.

Wonderful Product Finds

As I have mentioned before, shopping in specialty grocery stores or markets gives me the same thrill that a child gets when they are in a toy store. I could easily spend a couple hours wandering around a new grocery store, or taking my time at each booth at a market. I simply just love food.

My latest new food finds are really fun, delicious, and they all share a common theme: they are all small family/friend run companies. I’m really looking forward to sharing the following with you – I hope by the end of reading this post you will be excited to seek out these fabulous products to try for yourself!
Drip: Maple syrup is one of my favourite food products. It definitely ranks on my top 10 list of favourites. I’m not talking Aunt Jemima table syrup though (although, it is pretty delicious on pancakes), I’m talking about pure, freshly harvested Canadian maple syrup. The taste is so different, and has so many different tasting notes. It’s caramel-y, sweet, oaky, nutty, rich, and of course has the distinct maple flavour. I find that certain syrups take on different tasting notes, almost like a wine does.  Some people like to splurge on balsamic vinegar, wine, or fancy oils – me, I get excited about buying a high quality bottle of maple syrup – I guess that’s just my Canadian coming out, eh?
When I saw Drip set up at a booth at a market recently, I got really excited immediately. First off, I was so impressed with their simple, sophisticated booth. It was lined with a dark table cloth, and then there stood 3 beautiful cut stumps, with each flavour sitting on top of each.
I know you shouldn’t judge something before trying, but I knew just by the look of the table and the sleek bottle that it would be a good find. I got a little shot glass of Amber syrup and sipped it back. Mmmm, I wanted more immediately. It had the most unusual flavours in it, I had never tried a maple syrup so different. Unusually good though, it was a rich, nutty flavour that had hints of burnt caramel, sweet brown sugar and pure vanilla. I then proceeded to sample the Blonde and Copper varieties (the first of the season and the middle of the season). They were just as good, and if I could, I probably would have bought one of each. But, I loved the richness of the Amber and I also love the fact that Amber has the most minerals and antioxidants in it – due to it being left in the tree the longest.

Did you know that maple syrup is rich in the trace mineral manganese? It is an important mineral that helps with antioxidant defences. Zinc is also found in maple syrup, which helps in immune system functions. It is full of great properties, and is actually written up in the website and book The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Drip is run by a very lovely couple, who I had the pleasure of meeting, and by one other man. I was told that the syrup is from a forest up north in Manitoulin Island – just south of Sudbury, Ontario. I also love the fact that this syrup is simply straight from the tree. It is unblended and has no additives or preservatives. It is definitely Mother Nature’s sweetest, most delicious goods.
I always like maple syrup on pancakes and waffles (gf obviously), but I don’t think I will ‘drip’ this maple gold on something so rich. I will definitely use it over my yogurt and granola, on oatmeal, over salmon and drizzled on greek yogurt. I am also looking forward to trying it in a cold tumbler of gin – an idea recommended by the lady who sold it to me. To conclude my long rant on maple syrup, I will end it off by saying that this is exactly what I have been looking for in a maple syrup, and I don’t know if there is anything that can beat this taste. There are a few locations in Toronto that sell it currently – such as the Drake General Store – but you can purchase it online (thank goodness)!
Check out their website and trust me, you will not go wrong with this purchase. You may just become addicted!

Upper Spice: I’m not a huge fan of spicy foods, but I do love spices that add a punch of flavour. I have also recently taken a taste for jerk spices. I love the variety of flavours that fuse together to make such a distinctive taste.

I discovered Upper Spice at a local market, they were sampling their Medium Jamaican Jerk on slow cooked chicken. It was delicious, it had a cinnamon-y spicy flavour and the heat warmed up my whole body. I found the medium to be a bit too hot for me, so I opted for the mild. The great thing about this line of spices is that they are all 100% gluten free and homemade! Upper Spice is owned by a  mother/daughter duo from Burlington, Ontario who created the spice mixture after getting a taste of authentic Jamaican jerk on a trip to Jamaica. This jerk spice is nothing like I have ever tried – so fresh, flavourful and although I have never been to Jamaica, it definitely tastes authentic. I am excited to try it as a rub on ribs, and as a spice for sautéed chicken fajitas.

You can buy Upper Spice online, 3 packs for $15. Or, keep your eyes peeled this summer at local Toronto markets…that’s where I bought mine!

Hawberry Farms: Every year, The University of Guelph has an annual artisanal sale called Fair November. The first year I went, I visited the Hawberry Farms booth, which had an extensive variety of jams, oils, dips and relish. Every product is so unique and unlike anything you would find at a grocery store, such as Apple Pie Jam, Blueberry Rhubarb Jam, Banana Spread and a lot more – including the famous Hawberry Jelly, which is a berry found on Manitoulin Island (the same largest freshwater island in the world that Drip is harvested). I had ended up purchasing the Carrot Cake Jam, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It honestly tastes like carrot cake and it goes well with so many things; such as muffins, slices of a loaf, toast and even mixed into vanilla ice-cream or greek yogurt. Year after year I would attend Fair November and pick up my jar of Carrot Cake Jam. Luckily it would also last me a few months – as it is pretty rich and a small amount goes a long way. It’s been two years now since I’ve had this delicious creation, until last weekend when I picked it up at the Harbourfront Artisanal Market. I was so happy to have found it there. I wasn’t aware that they had a website in which you could order from, I will definitely be doing this from now on when I need my fix of Carrot Cake Jam. Trust me, I don’t think they have one product that isn’t delicious, so take your pick, you won’t be risking anything!

ChocoSol: This chocolate company isn’t just about making delicious chocolate; it seems that they are all about dignity, positive relationships, respect and love. Maybe that’s why I felt so great after sampling a piece of their chocolate the other weekend at a farmer’s market. ChocoSol is a small Toronto based company, run by a few staff and volunteers, who believe that their chocolate is “good for mind, body and soil”. They say on their website that ‘sol’ in Spanish means the sun, which refers to the fact that their first 1000 kilos of cacao were rosted with solar power in Mexico. Sol in french means soil, and in English ‘sol’ sounds like ‘soul’ and reminds them of doing good hearted things in a learning community. After reading and learning about their product, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to not like this chocolate. I should also mention that the chocolate is fair trade, sweetened with agave syrup, and free of gluten (bonus), nuts, dairy, soy and it is vegan. I tried the ‘Choco-Latte’ drinking chocolate at the market and wow was it good. Not a typical chocolate milk though, as it is water based and only sweetened with agave syrup. It was bitter, but it felt like a super healthy cocoa drink – I actually loved it. The Coconut Chocolate was the other product I tried. The sweetness of the coconut sprinkled on top almost helped sweeten the dark, natural, earthy chocolate. What I love about this chocolate is that you do feel like you are having a treat, but you don’t feel high on sugar afterwards, it just feels healthy. All in all, this tasty chocolate company seems to exhibit all things good – good chocolate, good people and good souls. You can look at the locations of where ChocoSol sells on their website. I will definitely be searching this one out again soon.

I love finding new products, especially when they are Canadian, local, and of course gluten free and absolutely delicious! I hope you search these out and enjoy them as much as I do. Let me know what your favourite local products are – I would love to hear and try!