Tag Archives: holiday desserts

Gluten-Free Holiday: Chocolate Dipped Dates with Spiced Nuts

This is the final week of Gluten-Free Holiday, and we’re ending it as we should end any holiday event – with dessert! Special holiday treats are often the highlight this time of year – many people love to make holiday goodies, cakes, cookies, pies, and candies. This gives those of us on a special diet some wonderful dessert ideas that meet our needs, or the needs of our loved ones. It’s always wonderful to make a special treat that a loved one that usually goes without can eat!

But before I get to my recipe for chocolate-dipped dates with spiced nuts (which you should TOTALLY check out!), let me share with you the fun giveaways for this week! Amy over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free is hosting this week, and has some wonderful giveaways – two books that you could win before anyone else gets them!

Amy is giving away 3 copies of Stephanie O’Dea’s More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. The release date for this book is December 28th. (If you wish, pre-order it now and get the special pre-sale price!)

Amy is also giving away 3 autographed copies of her new book, Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free. The release date for this book is mid-January. Same story with this one – pre-order and save! (I am pre-ordering RIGHT NOW!)

Definitely head on over to Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free and share your favorite gluten-free dessert and check out these giveaways! Also check out her cranberry swirl cheesecake – it looks sinful!

Now, to my gluten-free holiday dessert. This is a little treat that is easy to make beforehand and set out at any holiday party or dinner as part of a dessert tray, or even all by itself! I found the recipe in Bon Appetit’s magazine and modified it just barely. The recipe was naturally gluten-free already (a plus!). When you bite into these, they taste so rich and complex – their flavor far exceeds the effort, and compared to a lot of desserts, they’re really not all that unhealthy. Definitely traits I look for when choosing what treats to make!

Chocolate-Dipped Dates with Spiced Nuts, adapted from Bon Appetit

54 roasted, salted almonds, divided

3 t freshly grated orange peel, divided

2 t honey

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t allspice

18 medjool dates, pitted

1 c dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)

Toss 36 almonds, half of the orange peel, honey, cinnamon, and allspice in a small bowl.

Cut a slit down each of the dates and stuff with 2 spice-coated almonds. Close the date as much as possible.

Line a small baking sheet with foil. Heat a small saucepan with about 2 inches of water to a simmer and place a stainless steel bowl over the water (make sure your bowl is large enough to sit on top of the saucepan, or else use a double boiler). Place the chocolate chips in the bowl and stir occasionally until melted through. Grasp one end of each date, dip into chocolate, shaking off excess, and place on the foil. Repeat with each date. Then with the remaining almonds, press one on top of each of the chocolate-covered dates. Sprinkle with remaining orange peel and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until set.

Makes 18 dates.

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Filed under Appetizers, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Grown-Up Hot Chocolate

That powdered cocoa mix in your pantry? Leave it for the kiddos. It’s time for some decadence. It’s time for some richness.

It’s time for grown-up hot chocolate.

This stuff isn’t a big, huge, steaming mug of mildly flavored chocolate milk. And it’s not low-calorie. This is rich, thick, intensely-chocolatey, oh-I-wish-I-could-lick-the-coffee-cup hot chocolate. You don’t need much – this is why the serving size is on the small side. But let me tell you, this is the after-dinner treat you must make this winter. It’s that good.

The theme for this week’s Holiday Food Fest is Holiday Cocktails, Mocktails and Appetizers, hosted by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free. I am not much of a cocktail person (I prefer the occasional glass or two of merlot or cabernet, a gluten-free beer, or if I’m feeling “fancy”, a glass of cognac), so my experience in the cocktail-making arena is rather limited. I know margaritas and mojitos, but that’s about it. (Since the temperatures are hovering around the freezing mark right now, neither of those drinks sound remotely appetizing!) I needed to venture outside of my comfort zone a bit. And then I thought – hot chocolate. Who doesn’t like hot chocolate? I had a bar of Valrhona in the fridge just begging to be used. Suddenly, I knew an over-the-top hot chocolate was just the thing.

But even I underestimated the silky, creamy, lushness of this treat. I opted to dip a spoon into mine, rather than sipping directly from the cup, just so I could savor every minute drop. I can envision this being the perfect treat to enjoy on Christmas Eve, relaxing, after the stockings are stuffed and all is quiet in the house.

Adapted from Ghirardelli

4 oz high-quality dark chocolate (I used Valrhona 68%)

1 1/2 c 2% milk

1/2 c heavy cream

2 T amaretto (almond liqueur – I used Disaronno)

1 t vanilla extract

1 c whipped cream

In a saucepan over low heat, bring chocolate, milk, and cream to a simmer, whisking constantly. Simmer 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; whisk in liqueur and vanilla.

Pour into four small tea or coffee cups. Top each serving with whipped cream.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Desserts, Gluten-Free, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Banana Souffle for Holiday Food Fest

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Liz at Hoosier Homemade is hosting Fall Desserts this week for Holiday Food Fest. Be sure to check out her blog and link up your favorite fall dessert! She’s giving away a Pampered Chef Pie & Tart Cookbook and a cool candle.

My submission for Holiday Food Fest this week are these banana souffles. While they aren’t typical “holiday” desserts, they are so rich in flavor, so comforting, that they would surely be a delightful end to any special dinner throughout the holiday season. They also take very little time to prepare, so they’re a doable dessert to throw together at the last minute. The best part is – they are much lower in calories and fat (and are of course, gluten-free!) than most desserts, since they only use egg whites, and rely a great deal on the natural sweetness of the bananas. (I haven’t tried to completely omit the sugar, but I imagine it would be possible to replace it with a lesser amount of agave nectar. If you do so, let me know how they turn out!)

Stay tuned, for next week, I will be hosting Fall Dishes for Holiday Food Fest! Be sure and check back, because there will be another chance at a giveaway!

 

Banana Souffle

2 ripe bananas

3 T water

1/3 c plus 1 T sugar

1/2 t cornstarch

pinch of cinnamon

4 egg whites

pinch of salt

Butter and sugar 4 4-ounce ramekins. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the bananas, and puree in a food processor until smooth. In a small saucepan, bring water and the 1/3 cup of sugar to a boil. Simmer 4 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Add banana puree, cornstarch, and cinnamon to sugar syrup, and stir until incorporated. Set aside to cool completely. (this is important – if you rush it and the mixture is still hot, it won’t fold into the egg whites correctly.) In a stainless steel bowl, beat egg whites and salt until foamy. Add remaining tablespoon of sugar and beat to soft peaks. Fold cooled banana puree into egg white mixture. Pour into ramekins and place ramekins on a baking sheet.

Place baking sheet in oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until puffed up and browned. Don’t open the oven to peek! If you must look (and I always want to!), use your oven light and peer through the window. If you don’t have one, trust your timer. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian