By Amber Williams
There’s a common misconception among the uniformed that gluten free equals bland, that health has to come at the sacrifice of flavor. But most any seasoned chef or baker can prove that belief as one of ignorance. In this case, the proof is in the pudding — or rather the chocolate, the drizzle and the a la mode.
“Baking gluten free is definitely more challenging, and it’s more expensive,” admitted Sweet Rewards Gluten-Free Bakery owner Michelle Holtz. “But it’s so much more rewarding, too.”
Chocolate- and sweets-lovers don’t have to miss out on the delights of desserts just because of a health condition, Holtz says. “You can make baked desserts taste just as good gluten free as you can with traditional recipes, if you know what you’re doing.”
The trick is in the flour, says David Tasler, owner of The Club Car Restaurant and Lounge, a Clive staple famed for its extensive gluten-free menu. He says brown rice flour is the gluten-free ingredient that makes GF baking possible. But what about the most important part of the brownie, the chocolate?
According to www.celiacdisease.com, pure, unsweetened chocolate, made by liquefying roasted cacao beans and containing nothing but those roasted beans, should be completely gluten free. But pure, unsweetened chocolate also doesn’t taste very good.
“It’s the combination of chocolate and cocoa butter (like pure chocolate, a product of the cacao beans), sugar, milk (in some cases) and other ingredients that make chocolate such a taste sensation. And those other ingredients are where any gluten-related problems are introduced,” wrote Jane Anderson, the website’s “About” author. “But we do have some options, both for plain chocolate bars and for confections with interesting ingredients (such as bacon) mixed in. Regardless of whether you prefer the darkest of dark chocolates, or extra-creamy milk chocolate, you should find something to like that’s gluten free.”
As for the ice cream, the biggest concern is cross-contamination. Most of the traditional flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, and even some of the exotics, are available gluten free. Experts, however, warn against using cones and obvious gluten-containing flavors and toppings. Who needs a cone, anyway? Ready the spoon, and enjoy. RELISH