Gluten-Free diets have been hugely popular for the past several years. Is this a trend or is it here to stay? It's hard to say just yet, but the demand for gluten-free everything seems to be growing. We were ready for the gluten-free rush, thanks to our customers who have been asking for it for years. Eugenians are usually ahead of the curve for restricted diets. We're talking raw, vegan, locavores and fruitarians. We live in a city where, long before mainstream caught on, it has been verboten to eat corn syrup, GMO's and anything from China. So when everyone started asking for gluten-free, we were happy to say yes. We are not a 100% gluten-free facility since we do use wheat in our kitchen, but when we warn people about possible cross contamination, we're usually assured with "Oh, it's not a real allergy, just a diet choice or an intolerance". We recommend that severely allergic people avoid our desserts.
Now for the truth: Not all gluten-free desserts are created equal. The best options are the ones that are made without any kind of flour. Anything made with a proprietary gluten-free flour mix is just not as moist and tender as the same item made with wheat flour. Gluten-free cake is usually denser and more granular in texture. Now, we're not saying that if you're on a gluten-free diet, you won't be thrilled with our options. I went off gluten for 6 months (just to torture myself) and I have to say, those gluten-free desserts were pretty tasty.
Here are 10 of our favorite gluten-free desserts that we make:
Chocolate Truffle Torte is a rich, dense, chocolate flourless cake layer topped with chocolate mousse and another topping of your choice. We love the espresso whipped cream or caramel and pecans if you want to go beyond decadent. Sometimes we have these available by the slice in the case but if you have to, it's worth buying a whole one and keeping slices in the freezer for those days when you really need it.
September 7th is a cake made famous by the dessert cookbook author Maida Heatter. She made this cake for her daughter's birthday and the rest is history. It's a delightfully light, yet rich chocolate sponge cake filled with whipped cream and finished with a mocha whipped cream. You can eat several slices of this cake and never get full. Our Christmas Bûche de Nöel is the same recipe but with chocolate buttercream for the frosting. Welcome Yule!
Crème Brûlée is a marriage of 4 simple ingredients: cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla. We caramelize our sugar on top several times a day to ensure that delightful "crack" when you pop it with your spoon and reveal the smooth and velvety custard underneath. Who needs gluten with this dessert around?
Meringues and Marshmallows are the perfect thing to put in your mouth when you want to finish sweet but there's no room left in your tummy. Meringues are a puff of sweet air with a light crunch. We flavor ours with all kinds of fun flavors like lychee, watermelon and mexican chocolate. 6 flavors are in stock everyday. Marshmallows are the same idea but give you something to chew on. This is not the corn syrup laden treat in a plastic bag. Ours are made with cane sugar, brown rice syrup, real vanilla and fruit purees. Fill up a bag for a guilt- and gluten-free dessert.
Coconut Macaroons. No, we are not talking about the French Macaron. Though we adore these, we don't think they're popular enough here to be able to keep them fresh which is the only way to eat one. You're going to have to go to Paris for macarons (specifically Laduree for afternoon tea). Ahhh. But if you can't pop over to Paris for a macaron, our macaroons are a good substitute. They have a chewy and moist center with a crunchy toasted coconut exterior. Special order them chocolate dipped if you want to take them to the next level!
Chocolate Souffle Torte is a perfect individually sized dessert. It's a rich yet light chocolate souffle filled with either a buttery caramel or a dark chocolate ganache. Warmed up with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, it will make you forget about that crunchy baguette that you can't have.
Our gluten-free Pies and Tarts are great even for gluten eaters! Gluten can be your enemy with pie crusts and can lead to a tough crust. Gluten-free flour, on the other hand, lends itself to a light and crispy crust. We have an egg-, dairy- and gluten-free pie that we feature every month. Some of our favorites are the Quince Hazelnut Tart, Blueberry Lemon Custard Pie, Coconut Black Bottom Pie, and Cherry Almond Pie. For the month of December, we'll be making a Jewelberry Pie with cranberries, strawberries and raspberries.
Bacon Caramel Corn is a guilty pleasure for everyone. The blend of smoky, salty and sweet is an addictive combination. Don't trust us? Try to not eat a whole bag in one sitting.
Quiche We know it's not a dessert, but for those of you who don't like sweets (GASP!), we have a daily vegetarian quiche that is made with the very same gluten-free crust we touted above.
It may feel like cutting gluten from your life is a difficult decision. Hopefully, we've given you some ideas to sweeten the prospect. Our Chocolates are made in house using the E. Guittard Artisan line of chocolate. We have a selection of 20 different chocolates, and they are almost always gluten-free. If you have a friend who is new to the gluten-free world and is depressed, give them a box of our chocolates for a ray of hope.
Other gluten-free honorable mentions are:
Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats
Most of our cakes and cheesecakes can be made gluten-free
Cheddar Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy or a sausage patty
Chocolate dipped Strawberries
Our egg-, dairy- and gluten-free cupcake of the month
L'opera (dessert of the month for January)