Baking Gluten-free Desserts

Baking Gluten-free Desserts

Publish Date September 29, 2023 3 Minute Read
Author Jessica Colón, RDN, LD

Making gluten-free desserts may seem intimidating at first, but with the right ingredients and a little practice, delicious desserts are well within reach. Check out these tips to enjoy flavorful gluten-free desserts.

What is gluten and how do I know if a food is gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein that’s found in wheat, barley, triticale, rye and their byproducts. When used in baking, gluten provides structure to baked goods.

When focusing on keeping foods gluten-free, there are a few things to look for. Inspect the packaging for a gluten-free certified label or allergen statement and review the ingredients. First, check the labels of baking supplies to verify they are gluten-free. Common baking ingredients which may be a potential hidden source of gluten include chocolate chips, baking powder or baking soda, frosting and oats. Even though these foods are naturally gluten-free, it’s always good to make sure there was not any cross-contamination during processing or added ingredients that contain gluten. For a more in-depth list of gluten-containing keywords, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation website. Shop plenty of gluten-free products for your next baking project.

Types of flours

Gluten-free all-purpose flour is a pre-blended flour mix that can be used as a one-to-one replacement for wheat flour. This blend takes away the need to incorporate multiple types of flours, starches and binders into a recipe.

Additional flours you may want to add to your pantry include oat, buckwheat, rice, coconut, quinoa and almond flour. Some recipes even call for 2 or more flours to be used. Different flour blends are typically used in different recipes. Make sure to use the proper flour blend in each gluten-free recipe. If you’re looking to convert a traditional recipe to be gluten-free, know that conversions can be tricky, and experimenting with different ratios will be a trial-and-error process.

Binders and starches

Many gluten-free recipes will need a binder or starch to contribute to the structure and texture of the baked good. These names may be unfamiliar, like xanthan gum, guar gum, arrowroot starch or psyllium husk, or you may recognize them, like cornstarch. Always read the allergen statement on these packages to make sure they don’t contain trace amounts of gluten-containing compounds.

3 Gluten-free baking tips

Tip 1: Rest the batter. The batter will need rest time to allow your baked goods to absorb more liquid and soften prior to baking. Typically, a batter can be rested for 30 minutes to get this desired effect.

Tip 2: Increase mixing time. Mixing time will increase with any gluten-free recipe because it takes longer for the structure to be established. Undermixing can lead to compromised height, structure and mouthfeel.

Tip 3: Longer baking times. Due to increased liquid in the recipe, it will need a longer bake time to prevent a gummy or mushy texture. It’s also important to preheat the oven properly before putting any desserts in to bake, and to follow the recommended baking time as stated in the recipe.

5 Gluten-free recipes to try

The best way to learn a new skill is to put it into practice. Below are five gluten-free dessert recipes to try this holiday season.

One thing to note when cooking with gluten-free flour is that the texture or consistency of the dough or mix may look and feel different than a dough made with glutinous flour, and that’s okay. Go with the flow and embrace this new and delicious experience.

If you’re looking for additional guidance on gluten-free living, schedule a Telenutrition appointment with a Registered Dietitian today.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and is not meant to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

More Gluten-free Baking Recipes to Try