Celebrating special occasions with family and friends should be stress-free. But when you want to bring a homemade treat to share with a crowd, there may be some concerns to consider. Topping the list is cross contamination of food, which could be harmful to a partygoer with a gluten allergy.
While you can choose ingredients and baking mixes that are certified gluten-free, that doesn’t automatically make kitchens safe to bake for people afflicted by celiac disease. Luckily, all you need is a little bit of know-how and a careful hand to clear your kitchen of cross contamination.
1. Follow the breadcrumbs.
Food crumbs can hide just about anywhere in your kitchen. Think about the crevasses in your mixer, nooks in a dishcloth or even in porous pots and pans. To remedy this, don’t use shared appliances that can house crumbs (hello, toaster!), give all tools, pots, and pans a good scrub, avoid anything that can absorb food (like a cast iron skillet) and use new or freshly cleaned sponges and towels.
2. Don’t double dip.
If you’re a regular baker, you might frequently measure gluten-containing ingredients with the same spoons that measure those that are naturally gluten-free. For example, baking soda is safe – but not when the same spoons were in the wheat-based flour, first. Be sure to open up a new container of ingredients. Or, if they’re privy to your plan, ask your celiac loved one to borrow their stash.
3. Investigate ingredients.
Some ingredients, such as sunflower seeds or cocoa powder, are naturally gluten-free. However, they may be produced on the same lines as wheat. Check for “may contain” statements. If in doubt, go without. And you can always call the company, first, to ask about their production equipment. More often than not, they’ll divulge their manufacturing details with regards to cross contamination.
4. Stick with simple.
Your celiac celebrator will appreciate any effort you make to provide a carefully made gluten-free treat. Elaborate cakes are not required, though you can make a mean cake with Enjoy Life Foods All-Purpose Flour Mix – free from the top eight allergens, including gluten!
Now that you know how to create a safe space for preparing a gluten-free treat, here are some tasty, gluten-free* ideas of what to make:
Fruit plate: This is the simplest plan of all, because it only requires a clean cutting board and knife.
Chocolate chip snack squares: Filled to the brim with flavor, no one will know there’s a serving of zucchini sneaked inside.
Triple-layered dessert bars: Sandwiched between a chocolate crust and chocolate frosting is an allergen-friendly sunflower seed center.
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies: No raisins in this oatmeal cookie. Instead, a pinch of salt brings out the sweetness of chocolate chips.
*Note: Though these recipes are all made with gluten-free ingredients, you will still need to double-check the ingredients to verify they were made in a certified gluten-free facility.