A Gaggle of Girls
I'm a divorced mom of 3 gluten-free daughters. We've outgrown dairy, soy, egg, and corn allergies, but still deal with a berry allergy in my youngest.
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Archive for the ‘desserts’ Category

postheadericon Nana’s Lemon Squares

Lemon squares ready to eatMy dad’s mom, my Nana, made some incredibly delicious food. Honestly, most of her best foods were desserts. Her Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls rocked, and Angel Pie is a family tradition. These Lemon Squares were another of her beloved desserts. I don’t make them often, though, as my kids aren’t big fans of them. As with my Lemon Poppyseed Muffins, that means that I share them at work or church eat them all myself.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.

I wasn’t able to make this recipe work properly when we were dairy-free. However, there are better dairy-free margarines out there now than there were the last time I tried. If I were to try to make these dairy-free/gfcf, I’d definitely use something like the Earth Balance sticks – the Fleishmann’s Unsalted failed in earlier tests. As the filling contains 4 eggs, it can’t be made egg-free.Lemon square crust



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups brown rice flour or millet flour
  • 2/3 cup white rice flour or starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Lemon square fillingLemon filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons (optional)


  • 2-3 TBS confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional – this usually contains corn)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lemon square crust bakedIn a stand mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar. Add 2 cups flour and xanthan gum, mixing until just combined. It will be more like pie crust, and rather crumbly. Press into the bottom of an ungreased glass 9×13″ pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm and golden brown on the top. Set aside to cool.

In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/3 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice (and zest, if using). Pour over the cooled, baked crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the filling has started to set into a pudding-like consistency. The bars will firm up more as they cool.

Lemon square lemonyAfter they have cooled for at least 10 minutes, dust the top with confectioner’s sugar. Slice after they have completely cooled. It’s hard to wait, but the lemon filling will ooze unless it has completely cooled. Keep lemon squares in the fridge or in a cool area of the house, as they won’t keep their shape as well if they are warm.


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postheadericon Mini Chocolate Chip Gluten-Free Cheesecakes

CheesecakesThese are delicious. My daughters all love them, and we found out accidentally when my 10 year old tried to make a batch that even if you mix everything together (rather than following the directions) they’re still delicious. They’ll look disgusting, but they’re still delicious. She was still proud to take one to lunch, as seen in this Turkey lunch. There are a couple made properly in this Snowflake Lunch.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.


Star cheesecakesIngredients:

Prebaked CheesecakesMethod:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners for 15-18 individual cheesecakes.

In a food processor, crush cookies, and mix with butter. Add a spoonful of cookie crumbs to each cupcake liner, and pat down.

In a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese and the sugar together. Add vanilla, then add eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Fold in the chocolate chips at the end.

Using a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner with mixture. Depending on how fluffy the cream cheese mixture becomes, you will fill 12-15 cupcake liners.

Star CheesecakeBake for 20-25 minutes. Most ovens will require only 20 minutes, but some ovens are slower than others. The tops should be puffy and starting to turn golden brown on the edges, but not moist.

After they cool, refrigerate. If desired, top with a molded piece of chocolate. Or not – I just happened to have made star-shaped chocolates before I made the cheesecakes.


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postheadericon Gluten-Free Hot Fudge Pie

Hot Fudge PieI’ve been reading everything Rachael at Tales of a Monkey, a Bit, and a Bean writes, and love her attitude. I’ve been wanting to make her Hot Fudge Pie. I haven’t had a good excuse to make it. Thanksgiving turned into that excuse – I have a certain child who dislikes all fruit pies, and two children who don’t like pecan. So, of course, I made apple, cherry, and hot fudge. My mom makes a divine Kahlua chocolate chip pecan pie, so I ate that, too. No pumpkin pie – none of the gluten-free folks really seem to love that. I only had to tweak a few things in this recipe to make it gf, which made it much easier.

A special hat tip to this recipe – my niece and nephews dislike anything they realize is gluten-free. Plus, 2 don’t like pie. 3/4 of them ate this and loved it, including one who doesn’t like pie. Despite there being 4 gf pies and 4 “regular” pies, we had less than half of this very rich chocolate pie left.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free,tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.



Pie filling:

  • 1/2 cup, or one stick, butter – I haven’t made this dairy-free, but a good dairy-free margarine should work here
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate (I like Baker’s)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (brown rice, white rice, or an all-purpose mix)
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


Hot Fudge PieTo make the crust, first pulverize the graham crackers in a food processor. Next, melt the butter in the microwave. In a large bowl, combine butter, cracker crumbs, and sugar. It will barely hold together.

Spray a glass 9″ pie plate with cooking spray (I like Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray). Pat the graham cracker mixture into the pie plate and refrigerate for an hour (or more).

To make the pie filling, preheat oven to 350F. Melt butter and chocolate in a glass, microwavable bowl, stirring after every minute in the microwave so you don’t overheat the ingredients. (You can also use a double boiler if you prefer) 

Whisk sugar into the butter/chocolate mixture, then whisk in the flour, salt, and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, beat eggs. Whisk the eggs into the chocolate mixture.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the graham cracker crust. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. When a toothpick is inserted into the center of the pie, it will still be moist when it’s done cooking.

Allow to cool, then serve with homemade whipped cream. Watch out – this is very rich – cut thin slices!


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postheadericon Rainbow Meringues or Unicorn Poop

Unicorn Poop meringue

This recipe is based on Martha Stewart’s Meringue Swirls, mixed with my grandmother’s Snowdrops recipe. Our current oven is the only oven I’ve ever had that made Snowdrops fail. My middle daughter has a subscription to Martha Stewart Living, and tried to make her swirls. It was a mixed bag – she loved the colors, but disliked the orange zest. She also disliked the lack of chocolate, and though there should be more color. After some starts and stops, these rainbow meringues, called Unicorn Poop in our house, were born.

As with all meringues, we recommend making these on clear, dry days. Making meringues on humid days will lead to sticky meringues, and nobody likes that.

G2 chef

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.


  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 3/4 white sugar
  • pinch salt (about 1/16 tsp)
  • pinch Cream of Tartar (about 1/16 tsp)
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (Enjoylife is allergy-friendly)
  • gel food coloring (you can use a full rainbow, or vary colors based on the holidays or favorite colors)
  • Optional – sparkly sugar to sprinkle on top of the Unicorn Poop

Unicorn poop cookie sheetMethod:

Preheat oven to 200F. Line two cookie sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.

Using the metal bowl from your stand mixer, use a regular wire to whisk together egg whites and sugar. Using a paring knife, then split the half of the vanilla bean in half long-ways and scrape the seeds out and into the bowl. They will look like a lot of little black dots.

Pour about 2 inches of water into a medium pot, and put that over medium heat. Put your metal stand mixer bowl on top of the pot of hot water (as if using it as a double boiler) and whisk together for a couple minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to get warm.

Piping meringues

Return the stand mixer bowl to the stand mixer, and use the whisk attachment to begin beating the eggs. Add the salt and Cream of Tartar to the egg mixture. Continue to beat for about 5 minutes, until it’s glossy and forms a stiff peak (a good test is when you lift the top of the stand mixer – if the meringue holds it’s shape, it’s at the right consistency).

Use a silicone spoonula to fold in the mini chocolate chips.

Prep a gallon sized zip top bag to make the meringues. Using a small paint brush dipped in the food coloring, paint stripes up the sides of the bag. Next, scoop the meringue mixture into the zip-top bag, and seal the top. Clip the end off one corner of the bag, and pipe small swirls onto the lined cookie sheet. Leave an inch and a half or so between each swirl. If using, sprinkle the sparkly sugar on top of the swirls now, before going into the oven.

Bake at 200F for an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half. Start checking at an hour and 15, and see if the meringue is hard. If not, leave it in for a little longer. Due to oven differences and humidity levels, sometimes the meringues won’t be hard at an hour and a half, in which case, keep it in a little longer until they are.

Store in an airtight container for a week or two, if they last that long.

This recipe is linked to Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday #5


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postheadericon Gluten-Free Joe Froggers

Joe Froggers 2Joe Froggers are a traditional ginger molasses cookie from my hometown of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Joe Froggers were made, originally, by Lucretia, the wife of “Black Joe” and served along with rum out of their tavern. Originally, these cookies were made with rum as well as molasses.

To quote Marblehead.org:

“A Joe Frogger is a ginger cookie that dates back to Colonial times. Joe Froggers have been cherished by generations of residents of Marblehead, Massachusetts. The cookies were originally baked by a man known as Old Black Joe Brown and an Aunt Crese, who maintained a tavern on Gingerbread Hill. Because the cookies would keep for long periods of time , fishermen would take barrels of Joe Froggers along with them on their journeys.”

I have just turned one of the traditional recipes into a gluten-free cookie. It’s already dairy-free and egg-free, so it’s a delicious, allergy-safe cookie. As you bake it, you can make them crisp or soft. I love them soft, but others prefer them crisp.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.


  • 3/4 cup shortening (or butter or dairy-free margarine that has been softened)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour (or amaranth, or millet)
  • 1/2 cups pea or bean flour (you could also use 1/2 cup more of the brown rice flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice flour or starch (tapioca, potato, arrowroot, etc)
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1 TBS xanthan gum or guar gum
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2/3 cups water

Method:Joe Froggers 1

Using a stand mixer, cream the shortening and butter. Once it’s creamed, mix in the molasses.

In a medium sized bowl, combine flour through ginger. Whisk it together so it’s well combined.

Alternate adding flour mixture and water into the creamed sugar in the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically as you add to the mixture.

Pat the mixture into a ball, cover in plastic wrap, and chill for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350F and either grease cookie sheets or use Silpat, parchment paper, or Reynold’s Release foil.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop out balls of dough and place on cookie sheet. Leave 1/2-1 inch of room between cookies, as these spread. Sprinkle a little sugar onto each cookie, and pat it down so it’s  flattened a bit.

Bake at 350F for 8-12 minutes. Some people like their Joe Froggers hard, and some like them soft and chewy. The longer they cook, the harder they will be. I like them soft, so as soon as they are slightly browned on the edges, I take them out of the oven.

Let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to cooling racks. Joe Froggers are delicate at first, but become very sturdy once they have cooled.


postheadericon Gluten-Free 3 Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies

baked cookiesThis recipe is based off one in the June/July 2012 issue of Taste of Home. I’ve tweaked it to make it gluten-free, and tweaked it to work best for our family.

My kids have served these to a lot of people (including selling them at a lemonade stand), and they’ve been happily devoured. No one ever seems to notice they’re gluten-free, allergy-friendly, or special in any way other than being delicious. I knew this recipe was our go-to recipe when my oldest asked me to make a double batch for her camp. She and my middle daughter were the only ones there who were gf, and these were devoured. My middle daughter even complained that she couldn’t have seconds because everyone ate them so fast!

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe. It could be made egg-free, but I have not yet tested it with egg replacer.


  • 1 cup butter, softened (shortening or dairy-free margarine also works)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed3 chip cookie dough
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs (you can likely use egg replacer to make them egg-free, as I’ve had success replacing up to 2 eggs in recipes, but I haven’t yet tried it)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cups gluten-free flour (brown rice, millet, amaranth, or a mix works well)
  • 1 cup starch (white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, etc)
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (not kosher, a finely ground salt)
  • 2/3 cup large chocolate chips/chunks (if you can have dairy, we like Hershey Melts)
  • 2/3 cup regular chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips (Enjoylife are dairy, soy, gluten, and allergy-free)


Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and the two sugars until it becomes light and almost fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine flours through salt. Whisk together to make sure it is well combined.

Add the flour mixture to the creamed sugar until combined. Add the three types of chocolate chips, stir until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably more than 2.

3 chip cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 400F and either grease cookie sheets or use Silpatparchment paper, or Reynold’s

Release foil.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough, then drop scoops onto prepared cookie sheets and pat down a bit. Leave at least an inch between cookies to accommodate spread. I can usually get 8 cookies per sheet. Don’t try to put too many on one sheet, or you’ll end up with one giant cookie. This recipe tends to make 30 large cookies.

Bake at 400F for 10-12 minutes, until just turning golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to the cooling racks. Enjoy immediately, or pack in a lunch.

postheadericon Angel Pie

Angel pie sliceAngel Pie was my default birthday “cake” growing up. My much-beloved Nana R (my dad’s mom) made this for every birthday and holiday. She said a lot of recipes were “tricky” (which meant she didn’t want to try them), but this recipe always felt tricky to me until I got her exact recipe. Now my middle daughter makes it a lot, and so do I. It’s so wonderful to have these food-based memories of my grandmother I can share with my daughters! The main trick is not to make Angel Pie when there’s high humidity – that makes meringues sticky.

This is a delicious gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, and vegetarian recipe.

Piping meringueIngredients:


  • 4 room temperature egg whites (use the yolks for sugar cookies)
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • (optional) gel food coloring


  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TBS granulated sugar
  • unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate for grating


Pie girl

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease a glass pie plate (ideally deep dish) and dust with a bit of rice flour. I really like Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray for greasing, but any spray or a bit of butter or coconut oil works well, too.

Beat egg whites, ideally with a stand mixer, but a hand mixer can also work, though it will take longer. After the mixture becomes opaque, slowly add the granulated sugar , then the confectioner’s sugar, all while beating constantly. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Mixture must be beaten and glossy. Spread onto the pie plate.

(Optional – Take a gallon-sized zip-top bag and tilt so only one bottom corner is facing down. Using gel food coloring, make lines at 3-4 places within the bag radiating out from that bottom corner. Put the egg mixture into the bag after the stiff peaks have formed and seal the top of the bag. Cut that corner off the zip-top bag and pipe the meringue into the pie plate. You will see a pretty swirl of colors)

Bake at 300F for 1 hour. The meringue should become lightly browned and be hard when touched.

Angel pie colors

Allow the meringue to cool completely to room temperature.

Once the meringue has cooled, make the topping. Whip the heavy cream in your stand mixer (or hand mixer). As it’s whipping, add vanilla and sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream onto the meringue.


angel pieUsing a microplane grater, grate chocolate over the top of the pie. A heavy dusting of chocolate is preferred.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight, before serving. This is a deliciously light dessert, one you will always have space for, even after a big meal! Yum!

This post is linked to Fun Food Friday at Eats Amazing.

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday


postheadericon Fudgy Frosting

Harry Potter lunchThis is now one of my two go-to frostings. If a cupcake is going to have chocolate frosting, it’ll have this fudgy frosting. If it’s going to have a vanilla frosting, it’ll be buttercream. My dear chocoholics love this, and find chocolate buttercream less satisfying.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, top 8 allergen free, and vegan/vegetarian recipe.


  • 1 cup chocolate chips (Enjoylife are dairy, soy, gluten, nut, peanut, and mostly allergen-free, almost all chocolate chips are gluten-free)
  • 2 TBS butter or dairy-free margarine
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 TBS milk or milk substitute (soy, rice, coconut, etc)


Kitten lunchIn a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate and butter/margarine. When it’s melted, whisk in the milk and confectioner’s sugar. The result should be a thick, fudgy frosting. If it’s too thin, add a tablespoon or two of confectioner’s sugar. If it’s a little too thick, add a teaspoon or two of milk.

Frost any cupcake with this frosting – chocoholics will approve! You can also add a simple fondant decoration to go along with a lunchbox theme.


postheadericon Decadent Chocolate Cake

This is an amazing chocolate cake recipe, with a deep chocolate flavor. These are some of the best cupcakes/cakes I’ve ever had. This has become my go-to cake recipe, and as a bonus, when I’ve served these to people without allergies, they gobbled them up without realizing they were “special”. This is a great example of serving great food, not just food that’s good for people with Celiac and/or allergies.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, corn free, and vegetarian recipe.


Mackenzie's Birthday Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour, or another flour like sorghum or millet
  • 1/4 cup pea or bean flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour, or a starch such as arrowroot or tapioca
  • 1 cup good quality baking cocoa – we like Rodelle Dark Baking Cocoa and Frontier Organic Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum
  • 1 1/2 sticks margarine (Fleishmann’s unsalted is dairy free) or butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (dairy, rice, soy) plus 1 1/2 tsp vinegar to mimic buttermilk
Ready for the oven

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

This makes 2 dozen cupcakes or 2 9″ round cakes. Lightly grease the bottom of the baking pans, then dust with a little cocoa powder, or line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Whisk the three flours together. Add cocoa, xanthan gum, baking powder, and baking soda to the flours and whisk together in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, with your mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add the brown sugar and the granulated sugar. Whip this mixture until fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time to the creamed mixture, then add the vanilla.

Turn the mixer to low and alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk.

Decadent chocolate cupcakes

Pour into the prepared pans – if making cupcakes, use an ice cream scoop to measure an equal amount of batter into each cupcake liner. For cakes, bake for 25-30 minutes; for cupcakes 12-15 minutes, until the cake/cup cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool, then serve as is or frost with a “butter”cream or faux-cream cheese frosting. Yum!

postheadericon Banana mini-chocolate chip muffins

We have had a very good, dependable, easy banana muffin recipe, but sometimes you want a little something different. This new recipe makes incredibly easy and delicious muffins, and we’re really enjoying them! The girls are eating them for breakfast, snacks, and dessert, so they don’t last long.

This is a delicious gfcf, gluten free, family-friendly recipe! It can also be (if you double check ingredients!) a wheat free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, tree nut free, peanut free, fish free, shellfish free, vegetarian, vegan, and top 8 allergen free recipe.

Inside a banana muffin


  • 1 1/4 cup GF flour (I like 1c brown rice, 1/4c pea flour)
  • 1/2 cup starch (arrowroot starch, white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum
  • if not gluten-free, just use 1 3/4 cups flour and omit xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 brown, very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup dairy/soy/rice milk mixed with 1/4 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs (or equivalent egg replacer)
  • 1 cup mini-chocolate chips (we like the Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
    , which are gluten/dairy/soy/nut free)
Before they are devoured -

Preheat oven to 350*F. Spray or grease muffin pan or insert paper muffin cups.

Whisk flour through salt together in a medium bowl. In your mixer’s bowl, beat bananas through eggs. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the banana mixture, until it’s completely combined. Add the mini-chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Add 1 ice cream scoop of batter into each muffin cup and bake at 350*F for 18-20 minutes.

This recipe makes 18-20 muffins. But don’t expect them to last very long! Ours rarely last a day!

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