No need for a box of chocolates to signify Valentine’s Day this year. Instead, just look to your pantry for a sweet-salty idea that will melt anyone’s heart. This dessert combines comforting chocolate chip cookies and tempting dulce de leche, which makes up the molten center. The fact that these stuffed cookies also happen to be gluten-free — that’s the sweetest part of all.
Gluten-free dreams really do come true. The Girl Scouts have added a new cookie to their lineup — bite-size, certified gluten-free Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookies. The good news for many parents of gluten-intolerant kids is that their Girl-Scout-badge-carrying daughters can now actually eat the cookies they sell as part of the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which generates $700 million annually based on 200 million boxes sold.
Made with a basic gluten-free flour blend of rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, potato starch, xanthan gum and guar gum, the new cookies contain no artificial flavors or colors, high-fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils — unlike most of the Girl Scout cookies. However, the cookies do contain other common food allergens, like dairy, egg and corn, as well as GMOs.
What I like most about creating gluten-free baked goods is combining a range of flours, particularly whole-grain and nut flours, to replace the wheat flour that one would normally find in a cake or muffins. Small amounts of quite a few flours help achieve a better texture than just a single variety.
Millet is a golden-colored, gluten-free whole grain that tends to be a little dry when cooked, like rice or quinoa, but becomes soft and creamy when simmered with extra liquid. The addition of coconut milk complements it perfectly and gives porridge a luxurious texture and richness that really is a step up from your average winter breakfast cereal.
Wheat flours are an obvious no-no for gluten-free baking, but gluten is also commonly found in other baking staples like some brands of oats, as well as candies and leavening agents, so it’s important to read labels carefully. It’s also helpful to experiment with recipes ahead of time and find a good standard all-purpose gluten-free baking flour, like Bob’s Red Mill or Trader Joe’s brand.
If you follow a gluten-free diet or are just cooking for guests who do, here are some holiday sweets.
With more and more gluten-free products on the market, finding the tastiest can be tricky. Here are some recent arrivals to the gluten-free aisle, just in time for the holidays.
More than 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that makes them unable to digest gluten. The only way to treat the disease is to exclude gluten from the diet or else risk damage to the digestive system as well as nutrient deficiencies and other serious medical problems.
The new FDA rule mandates that products labeled “gluten-free” must contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten. While many companies have already set this limit for themselves, the FDA rule, which food manufacturers must comply with by this time next year, will help ensure that companies using the term are adhering to the standard.
#1: Paleo Diet
This plan recommends you eat like your caveman ancestors, emphasizing lots of fruits, veggies, lean meats and seafood. Dairy and grains aren’t allowed on the plan—omitting two important food groups and numerous important nutrients in your diet. This diet was ranked last by US News and World Report on their list of Best Weight Loss Diets. Their expert panel determined that there is a lack of scientific evidence to show that long-term weight loss can be achieved.
#2: Dukan Diet
Although celebs like Gisele Bundchen and Jennifer Lopez have reportedly followed this diet post-baby to shed pounds, it was ranked second to last by US News and World Report’s Best Weight Loss Diets. This updated version of the Atkins diet eliminated carbs, fruits and veggies (especially during the very strict first phase), while allowing unlimited amounts of lean protein. It’s a very restrictive plan that will have you losing weight rather quickly—actually too quickly according to safety guidelines set up by the National Institutes of Health. The end result: You’ll probably end up regaining your lost weight plus more.
Everyone loves a good bowl of comforting mac and cheese, right? When it’s too hot to turn on the oven to make baked macaroni and cheese, make this easy, stove-top version instead. It’s extra-flavorful and you can whip up this easy dish in no time. I’ve tossed in corn and spinach for added fresh flavor (plus fiber) as well as red pepper flakes for a bit of heat to fire up summer celebrations. And did I mention, it’s both dairy and gluten-free? So you can rest assured your guests all have something to enjoy. Leftovers for this dish taste great the next day added to a fresh bed of leafy greens such as arugula.