Archive for category Recipes: Desserts & Baked Goods

Gluten-Free Globetrotting – Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 51

The latest episode of Hold The Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 51 “Gluten-Free Globetrotting ” Features:hold the gluten podcast

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Rock on Celiacs!

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Get hopping! Easter’s on its way!

Get hopping!  Easter’s on its way!

Looking for an egg-cellent (and tasty) activity to make with young ones?  I bake this adorable Easter bunny cake each year with my kiddos.  What a perfect finale to your egg hunt party or holiday meal!

Easter Bunny Cake with Cream Cheese & Coconut Icing

2 (15-ounce) boxes of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix
2 sticks (1 cup) butter (softened)
4 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
1 1/3 cups water
3 containers of Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Frosting
3 (14-ounce) bags of sweetened shredded coconut
Pink food coloring
Blue food coloring
Gluten-free jelly beans
Gluten-free gumdrops

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans with butter or olive oil spray.
  2. In large bowl, beat cake mixes, butter, vanilla, eggs, and water with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour evenly into pans.
  3. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. Place one cake in center of large platter for bunny’s head. Place other cake on cutting surface; cut two football-shaped pieces from each side of cake to use for ears. Place ears on top of bunny’s head. Place remaining piece under bunny’s head for bow tie.
  5. Reserve 3 tablespoons frosting. Frost entire cake–except insides of ears–with remaining frosting. To reserved frosting, stir in 1 drop pink food color; frost insides of ears with pink frosting.
  6. In a small food-storage plastic bag, shake 1/2 cup of the coconut with 1 drop blue food color. Carefully sprinkle blue coconut over bunny’s bow tie.
  7. Sprinkle remaining (un-dyed) coconut all over bunny’s head and edges of ears, leaving centers of ears pink.
  8. Make whiskers, eyes and mouth with jelly beans.  Use gumdrops for the nose and bow tie buttons.

Baskets filled with (gluten-free) Easter joy!

Unsure what candy is safe and what is gluten-filled?  Never fear!  Before you fill those baskets with sweets, stop by for an amazing listing of gluten-free holiday candy.  Their comprehensive directory is even broken down into two categories – jelly beans and candy.

From the Hold The Gluten family to yours, enjoy your Easter holiday!

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My-Oh-My Cherry Pie (Cheesecake)!

April is one of my favorite months of the year. The sun seems to shine a bit brighter.  Yards and gardens are waking up from their long winter naps.  Families excitedly emerge to work and play outdoors.  All is new again.  Hello Spring, welcome back!  Despite Punxsutawney Phil’s chilly prediction, the warm weather has shown up a month early.  March has definitely been more of a lamb than a lion!  In your face groundhog!

celiac coeliac cherry pie

Every year, my family travels to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  In 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gave the gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC. The annual celebration honors the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan.  This year, the world-famous National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the 100th anniversary of the gift of the cherry trees.

Viewing the cherry blossoms is absolutely breathtaking.  Light breezes blow through the tree branches and create a shower of delicate pink and white petals while our national monuments serve as a stunning backdrop.  An added bonus for visitors is that Washington, DC is a fabulously gluten-free city!  Dining options abound, from casual to elegant. Be sure to save room for a gluten-free dessert (or two!). For more information on gluten-free travel, visit Delight Gluten-Free Magazine’s interactive map of Washington, DC.

In honor of the Cherry Blossom Festival, I’ve created this delectable cherry-themed dessert. Happy spring!

Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Cherry Topping
Who needs a graham cracker crust?  Whip up a delicious Chex Cereal crust for this cherry cheesecake!

Chex Cereal Crust

2 cups of crushed Rice Chex cereal
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted salted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a food processor add all crust ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined. Press crumbs against the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.


3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese , room temperature
1 ¼ cup white sugar
3 eggs
¾ cup sour cream
½ cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Gluten-Free Bisquick
1 can (21-ounces) cherry pie filling

While crust is baking, blend cream cheese until fluffy with a mixer. Slowly incorporate sugar until thoroughly combined.  Add eggs, sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, and Gluten-Free Bisquick.  Using a spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl to ensure the batter is thoroughly combined.   Pour batter into an 8-inch springform pan. Bake in center of oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F. Place a baking sheet filled with water on the rack beneath the cheesecake to eliminate cracking and maintain moistness.  After 60 minutes, turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and let the cheesecake remain in the oven for 1 hour.  After 1 hour, refrigerate cheesecake to chill. Add cherry pie topping and serve.

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Holiday Peppermint Bark Trees, Stockings, and Gingerbread Men

peppermint bark

I’ve been racking my tinsel-filled brain trying to come up some little holiday gifts for teachers, friends, and that random aunt who only likes cats and QVC.  Since I didn’t want to give my gluten-free cookies away, the kids and I decided to make peppermint bark.  Traditional peppermint bark is made in sheets and broken up to resemble bark (clever, huh?).  However, being the crazy family that we are, we decided to go off the grid.  I have a slight addiction to Michael’s Craft Store, Joann Fabrics, and AC Moore (I’m like the Norm of Cheers but with a glue gun).  I found these cute silicone molds that we could use for our peppermint bark.  Truth be told, I’d never used silicone baking stuff before as it sort of creeped me out.  But I have to tell you, these molds worked perfectly.  The peppermint bark popped right out (and into our mouths).  One tip – you need helpers to successfully make this recipe.  I made a batch by myself (kids were bored at that point) and the chocolate hardened before I could sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top.

Happy Holidays to my Hold The Gluten family!

Holiday Peppermint Bark

1 bag of Wilton’s white chocolate melts (12 ounces)
1 bag of Wilton’s dark chocolate melts (12 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 teaspoons canola oil
crushed candy canes

Place molds on a cutting board or cookie tray (since they are rubbery, it will be tough to pick them up on their own).  Lightly mist the silicone molds with canola or olive oil spray.  Put the dark chocolate melts, 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract, and 1 teaspoon canola oil in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 45 second intervals at 50 percent.  Stir and continue microwaving until the chocolate is melted.  Evenly distribute melted dark chocolate in molds – filling approximately 1/3 of the way.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let harden for 30 minutes.  While the molds are chilling in the refrigerator, begin crushing the candy canes.  Put candy canes in a large  zip top bag and seal.  Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently break the candy canes in to small/medium pieces.  Don’t let your frustrations out on the candy canes or you’ll end up with candy cane powder.  Put crushed candy canes in a bowl and set aside.  Once the dark chocolate has chilled for 30 minutes, melt the white chocolate using the above directions and begin filling molds 1/3 of the way.  Immediately top with crushed candy cane pieces and return to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.  One chilled, remove from refrigerator and pop the bark out of the molds.  Refrigerate in a container.  Makes approximately 40 small molds or 24 large molds.

These sweet treats would be perfect in a candy gift bag, tin, or holiday themed “take out” box.


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Gluten Free Baked Apples

gluten free apples Fall has arrived!  Well, at least here in New Jersey…  I eagerly await turning the calendar to September so I can plant my mums and put out my Fall decorations.  I also really enjoy using the seat warmer in my car.  And my Snuggie (it’s a blanket with arms – totally stylish!).  The family recently went to a local farm to pick apples.  As always, we picked entirely too many!  This year I was determined to use each and every apple before they turned into a science experiment in my kitchen (been there, done that).  Feeling lazy but wanting an apple pie, I came up with a much easier but equally tasty recipe.   The hardest part for me was coring the apples by hand.  Apparently some genius created an apple corer.  Yeah, I totally need one of those!

Gluten Free Baked Apples

  • 4 medium apples (I used Gala)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • apple cider
  • butter
  • maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Core the apples (be sure not to go all the way through).  In a baking dish (or large muffin tin), pour approximately 1/2 inch of apple cider in the bottom.  In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.  For each apple: put 1 tbsp of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture in the cored out portion.  Top with 1 tablespoon of chopped pecans.  Add a pat of butter to the top and drizzle with real maple syrup.  Bake approximately 30 minutes.  Serve warm apples with vanilla ice cream.  Take the sauce from the bottom of the baking dish and drizzle on top.

You can also sprinkle 1 tbsp of gluten free granola on each apple before baking!

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Gluten Free Cake Pops!

Gluten Free Cake Pops

Birthdays are a time of celebration (and an excuse shamelessly to eat lots of cake!).   I’m beyond happy that gluten free dessert options have come such a long way!  I remember my first gluten free birthday.  Truth be told, “pre-celiac” my version of baking involved going to the bakery and buying something.  It was safer for all involved if I steered clear of the oven.  Then I went gluten free and I was basically forced to become one with my kitchen, 15 different types of gluten free flour, and a strange ingredient called Xanthan Gum.  I baked my first birthday cake and it was a disaster.  It tasted like burnt cardboard and looked like a squashed pancake.  However, in the past six years, I’ve learned to (gasp) enjoy baking!  I love creating new gluten free recipes and coming up with fun and tasty treats.  If I can do it, you can too!   Want to get creative for your next sans gluten birthday dessert?  This recipe was a huge hit with adults and kids alike.

gluten free cake pops


Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Pops Recipe

1 box of Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1 stick of butter
3 eggs
1 cup water

8 ounce cream cheese (softened)
¼ cup of butter (softened)
1 cup confectioners sugar
½ tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Additional Items:
2 packages of lollipop sticks (from local craft store)
Parchment paper
2 packages (four cups) white or dark chocolate chips
Sprinkles, non-pareils, sugar beads, or shaped sprinkles

I followed the directions on the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix box.  Let the cake cool completely.  Now for the fun part, plop cake into a large bowl and begin breaking it up with your fingers.   In a separate bowl, cream together one 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese, ¼ cup softened butter, 1 cup of confectioners sugar, 1 teaspoon of milk, & 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.   Once the mixture is fully creamed and smooth (if necessary, add a bit more milk), transfer the mixture into the bowl of crumbled cake.  Using your hands, combine the cake and icing.  Transfer cake/icing mix to refrigerator for 15 minutes.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Roll mixture into 1 – 2 inch balls and place on cookie sheet.  Once all balls are formed, insert a lollipop stick into each cake ball.  Pop the cookie sheet into the freezer for 15 minutes.  While cake pops are freezing, begin melting your chocolate in a double boiler (or microwave) in a deep bowl.  Begin dipping each cake ball completely into the chocolate.   Get creative and sprinkle on whatever toppings you’d like!  Place lollipop back on parchment paper and allow chocolate to harden.  FYI, these can be frozen for a future celebration!  Makes approximately 40 cake pops.

gluten free cake crumbsgluten free white chocolate

gluten free decorated cake pops

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake!

Cake or ice cream?  Tiara or party hat?  Big bash or intimate celebration?  We all like a birthday (or other festivity) with options.  Not only can we gluten free peeps have our cake, but thanks to Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix we have other tasty choices!  I was super excited when I (insert modesty here) ingeniously decided to use Betty Crocker’s GF Cookie Mix to create a ginormous and scrumptious cookie cake!  I’m sure you’ve all seen cookie cakes in your local grocery store.  However, those cakes are loaded with gluten (boo hiss).  So I easily made my own gluten free cookie cake and it ended up costing less than the price of a store bought cake!  That’s a big ol’ win/win in my book.

Here’s how to make your very own gluten free cookie cake:  follow the directions on the Betty Crocker gluten free cookie mix box.  When cookie mix is a soft crumbly dough, transfer it to a 10 inch pie pan.  Evenly press the cookie dough around the base of the pie pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes (cookie will be light golden brown).  Let cool completely before decorating.  To decorate this cookie the size of sputnik, I used Betty Crocker Easy Flow Decorating Icing (it comes with four tips for different style options).

Before you blow out the candles, don’t forget to make a wish!

Disclaimer: please don’t judge me on my cake decorating “skills” cause I have none!


gluten free cookie cake


gluten free cookie cake


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Hello Summer! Gluten Free Snow Cones

gluten free snow cones


It was totally because of the needs (whining) of my children that I bought these Back To Basics Syrup for snow cones, slushies, and ice pops.  Ok, I admit it, I also was feeling a bit nostalgic for my Snoopy Snow Cone Machine.  Snow cones are an awesome way to celebrate Summer.  What’s more exciting than grinding up ice, pouring some sugar-filled liquid on it, and eating it?  Can I get a “yum”?   However, as I was making snow cones yesterday for the kids, my daughter shouted out, “Hey Mom, these are gluten free!”  There it was, printed on the back of the bottle “CONTAINS NO GLUTEN“.  Whenever I see a gluten free label on anything (heck, it could be my living room couch) I get excited!  So I had to share my tasty summer treat with my fellow gluten free peeps.



gluten free snow cones


gluten free snow cones


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Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Icing

Gluten Free Chocolat Orange Cupcakes

These cupcakes are beyond good!  If you are craving a moist, chocolaty, decadent but easy dessert, look no further than this recipe.  I made these cupcakes for Thanksgiving and my entire gluten-eating family raved about them!  The addition of buttermilk and sour cream helps make the cupcake moist beyond belief.  The hint of orange brings another flavor level to your basic chocolate cupcake.  Be forewarned, these cupcakes are so darn good you probably won’t want to share!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

1 box Betty Crocker GF Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 cup buttermilk
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
3 eggs
1 cup orange juice
1 cup sour cream
1 4-ounce packet of instant chocolate pudding mix
orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat cake mix, buttermilk, butter, eggs, orange juice, sour cream, chocolate pudding mix, and orange zest in a large bowl on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.   Pour into prepared cupcake pan (filling 2/3 way).   Bake for 18 – 23 minutes (until wooden toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean).  Cool completely before frosting.  Makes approximately two dozen cupcakes.

Orange Cream Cheese Icing

1 16-ounce can Betty Crocker cream cheese icing
1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
orange zest

Using an electric mixer, blend icing, cream cheese, orange juice, orange extract, and orange zest until thoroughly combined.

Gluten Free Cupcakes

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A Gluten Free Thanksgiving IS Possible!

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, Thanksgiving was a holiday that came with much trepidation.  Truth be told, Aunt Edna’s gelatin mold was indeed a bit scary, but my big fear was how to survive Thanksgiving gluten-free.  Our dinner table was traditionally laden with gluten-filled fare such as stuffing, rolls, gravy, and pies.  As a “newbie”, I envisioned myself munching on a piece of cardboard in the corner (most likely at the kid’s table).  Fear not!  Thanksgiving (and any other holiday) can be deliciously gluten-free.  A little research, planning, and flexibility will help you to have a Thanksgiving that rivals years past.

Bird is the Word: Did you know that some brands of turkey contain gluten as an additive?  To make sure you select a gluten free turkey, always check the ingredient list.  Gluten free turkey brands include Empire Kosher, Honeysuckle White, Jennie-O, Perdue, Sheltons, & Shadybrook Farms.

Break Some Gluten Free Bread: Serve up a batch of gluten free biscuits in no time by using Betty Crocker Gluten Free Bisquick Mix.

Get Stuffed: Check out my post for some savory Gluten Free Stuffing.  Want to try something different?  How about a rice-based stuffing?

Hop on the Gravy Train: Sure, “traditional” gravy is made from a flour base.  However, you can make a mouthwatering gluten free country-style gravy with Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Bisquick Mix as a base.  Or check out these gluten free gravy mixes:  Road’s End Organic Savory Herb Gravy, OrgraN Vegetarian Gravy, Maxwell’s Kitchen Brown Gravy.

Don’t Forget the Sides: Homemade cranberry sauce, fruit salad, candied yams, and mashed potatoes all make fabulous sides.

Time for Dessert! The possibilities are endless.  Since pumpkin is so often featured as the star of the show at Thanksgiving, pumpkin ice cream would be a delicious gluten free option.  A decadent (but easy) option is my Pumpkin Cheesecake with Rice Chex crust:

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Be sure to have cream cheese & eggs at room temperature.

Gluten Free Crust:

1/2 cup pecans
2 cups Rice Chex Gluten Free Cereal
8 gluten free Ginger Snap cookies
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup butter (melted)
In a food processor grind pecans, cookies, & Rice Chex cereal until crushed & crumbly in texture (resembling ground almond meal). Add brown & white sugar and butter. Mix thoroughly. Press crumbs against the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Cheesecake Filling:

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/8 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 whole egg
4 egg yolks
3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine pumpkin, 3/4 cup of white sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, mace, and 3 egg yolks. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Set pumpkin mixture aside.

Using a mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly incorporate 3/8 cup (=1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) of white sugar, 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk, whipping cream, cornstarch, orange and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add pumpkin mixture and combine thoroughly. Add batter to springform pan. Bake in center of oven for 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees. I placed a pan filled with water on the rack beneath the cheesecake to eliminate cracking and maintain moistness. Remove cheesecake from oven and cool for at least 1/2 hour before removing from pan.  Refrigerate prior to serving.

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