How to Find the Perfect Gluten-Free Dessert

Going gluten-free can be complicated for the person avoiding gluten and for the person who wants to buy a dessert for a friend on a gluten-free diet. So, how can you find the perfect gluten-free dessert to bring to a party or to give to a friend?

When looking for a gluten-free dessert, there are some obvious basics to avoid: off-limit foods include many pastas, crackers, cookies, and cakes, but there are also some foods to avoid that you might not consider an issue at first. Soy sauce, licorice ropes, ice cream, and more can contain gluten and make someone with Celiac disease very sick.

If you’re new to looking for treats and desserts that your friends with gluten-free diets will enjoy, consider the following tips.

1. Make Sure it is Certified Gluten-Free

The gluten-free diet is more complicated than just avoiding bread. Things that don’t have “bread” or flour in them can still contain gluten. If you’re looking for gluten-free chocolate desserts, it may not be enough just to look for something made without flour. You need to pay attention to every detail. Read through the ingredients and look for FDA certifications.

You can buy gluten-free brownies or cookies that are Certified Gluten-Free; just look at the product description, which should show that exact terminology. If it doesn’t say “gluten-free,” don’t assume that it is gluten-free. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that foods contain less than 20 ppm of gluten to be marked “gluten-free.”

2. Prioritize Quality and Flavor

Just because it’s gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s good. There may be many options available that are gluten-free, giving your friend a highly-processed and mass-produced candy bar isn’t the best idea. Who wants to eat cheap Halloween candy when there are chocolate desserts available with the high-quality, delicious ingredients?

Look for the best ingredients. If this is for a party or a gift, look for variety and quality, even beautiful packaging can go a long way. When it comes to eating chocolate, it’s often a treat. This means that meeting minimum requirements will result in minimum satisfaction. Paying attention to the quality of your gluten-free chocolate dessert shows an attitude of care that means a lot to a friend, especially one with a restricted diet.

3. Don’t Mix with Other Desserts

Although you may be tempted to open that amazing package of gluten-free brownies and display them on a beautiful plate with the other desserts at your party, don’t. Having gluten-free desserts near other desserts can cause cross-contamination. Some people won’t eat the dessert because of the risk. So, it may be less pretty, but keep the dessert in the package—even let your friend be the first to break the seal.

4. Don’t Make it a Big Deal

Do not shout across the room to your friend that you have his "special" treats set aside. This can make someone feel like they’re not part of the group, the black sheep. Set the package aside with a clear label, and let your friend know discreetly, but don’t shout it from the rooftops or call attention to his diet.

5. It Doesn’t Have to Be a Surprise

It doesn’t have to be a surprise, and in your friend’s case, she will appreciate knowing there will be something there that she can eat. Many people with a gluten-free diet are used to bringing their own food or desserts with them so that they can be sure that they have something to enjoy. Some don’t trust that the desserts there will have been prepared without cross-contamination. Peace of mind is one of the best gifts you can give a friend with Celiac disease or on a gluten-free diet! Let her know you have something for her, tell her where you bought the dessert and that it says Certified Gluten-Free on the package, and even let her know that you will not open the box until she arrives.

6. Have Fun

If you follow these tips, chances are you and your friends will have fun enjoying chocolate together. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing you have something that’s not just safe to eat, but super delicious too. Don’t stress about your choices; the point is to have fun. If in doubt, send a link to your friend and let them pick something that works for him or her.