Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Gluten-Free Desserts


Being gluten-free sometimes feels like you have a rich person disease. Trouble is, I don't know many rich people these days, but I know quite a few gluten intolerant folks. So what are us paupers to do? Rejoice! You don't need to sacrifice your wallet to satisfy your sweet tooth. I've compiled a gluten-free desert list for those watching their spending.

Chex Muddy Buddies

(These were my first venture out into the world of gluten-free desserts. My goodness. They are incredible. Highly addicting, so baker beware!)

9 cups Chex cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.

3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Cookies

(These are simple and delicious. Also, I've found they're better with the traditional Skippy peanut Butter rather than the organic, stir type. I guess all those hydrogenated oils add flavor.)

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

1. Mix all the ingredients in your mixer.

2. Get the dough and form into 1 tablespoon sized balls.

3. Place balls on cookies sheet.

4. Press fork into each ball to make familiar cookie shape.

5. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes, keeping your eye on the time. Let them cool to solidify further.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I borrowed this flourless chocolate cake recipe from

(And you thought going gluten-free was going to kill you. Not unless it's death by chocolate! Introducing the mother of all gluten-free desserts. Bon appetit!)

1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
18 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
6 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.

3. Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.

4. Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.

6. Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

Gluten-free Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

(These cookies are a bit more crummy than I like, but they pass the taste test with flying colors.)

This recipe is adapted from the Nestle Tollhouse website.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, (3 parts corn starch, 3 parts white rice flour, 2 parts soy flour, 1 part masa flour)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips.

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt in small bowl.

3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels.

6. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

7. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before taking off the pan.

After testing out these recipes, you'll be well on your way to getting familiar with your gluten-free ingredients. Enjoy a healthier, tastier, and budget friendly life.

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Guest's picture

These recipes are great! I have been buying the Amy's Organic Gluten Free mixes for brownies.. These recipes will save me a ton because I can make the same things just using bare minimum items at home. Thanks!

Sonja Stewart's picture

I have a fantastic brownie recipe.  But Basically you can just take any brownie and substitute the flour with the gluten free flour mix, cup for cup.  Then add about a teaspoon of xanthan gum.  Should work out great for you!

Guest's picture

I like how much easier it's become to find lovely gf treats in the grocery stores. And to be able to make cereal-based treats and mixes, like Chex mix with gf cereal. It almost feels normal, sometimes! ;)

Guest's picture

Sonja, thanks so much for your delicious goodies recipes. We've had our autistc son on a gluten-free/casein-free/sugar-free (white, brown, corn syrup free) diet for about four years. It seems that rice flour, in particular seems to impart a drier or crunchier texture to baked goods. I wonder if adding one or one and a half tablespoons of water to the creamed butter/sugar/egg mixture (as is done with some oatmeal cookie recipes, although they're not gluten-free, but have a similar brown and white sugar base), would help to approximate that special Toll House texture. I have enjoyed every one of your posts on Wisebread, and look forward to what you'll have for us next!

Guest's picture

YUM!!! I can't wait to try these out!!!