Crazy for Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate
Good-for-you indulgence without gluten and dairy
We’ve all heard about—and probably experienced—the mood-elevating properties of chocolate but increased serotonin and endorphin levels aren’t chocolate’s only benefits. Recent studies confirm that chocolate is good for your heart and overall health, as well.
Naturally occurring flavanols found in cocoa and chocolate have cell-protecting, free radical-fighting antioxidant properties. These flavanols can actually lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, reduce risk of stroke in women, and lower bad LDL cholesterol while raising good HDL cholesterol. Like a baby aspirin, cocoa can thin the blood and prevent vascular clotting. Some studies report that cocoa can help regulate blood sugar, moderately improving a cell’s sensitivity to insulin and glucose. Current studies are even showing promise in chocolate’s effect on improving memory, regulating immune responses and fighting cancer.
Sounds good, right? Well, not so fast. Many of these health characteristics are found in the less-processed chocolates and raw cacao that are often too strong and bitter to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. When chocolate makers process raw cacao into candy bars, they strip it of many of its amazing attributes. In the end, consumers typically trade health benefits for texture and taste.
Chocolate comes from cacao beans, the dried and at least partially fermented seeds of the cacao tree. Cocoa is derived by pressing semi-liquid, roasted and ground cacao kernels to remove part of the cacao butter or fat. Pure, unsweetened chocolate is comprised simply of cacao solids and cacao butter. Most consumers know chocolate as “sweet” dark or milk chocolate, which has sugar added. Milk chocolate contains dairy milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate is milk chocolate without any cacao solids. Often the creamiest chocolates contain both dairy milk and an emulsifier, like soy lecithin, and are processed longer. (Although many people allergic to soy don’t react to soy lecithin, some soy-sensitive folks choose to steer clear of it.)
For health benefits, choose chocolate with minimal processing—typically dark varieties and cocoa that hasn’t undergone Dutch processing (where cocoa is treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity). The higher the cacao percentage, the lower the fat and sugar content and the better the health attributes.
As for baking, opt for dark or “baking” chocolate whenever possible. These typically range from 35 to 75 percent cacao.
Studies differ on daily intake but eating as little as 2.3 ounces of dark chocolate per week (containing at least 30 percent cacao solids) has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke in women by 20 percent.
Try these recipes for delicious ways to enjoy chocolate, all gluten and dairy free.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chile-Chocolate Mole Sauce
SERVES 6 TO 8
Mole is Mexico’s smooth, rich and dark signature sauce. There are a million varieties but they all contain chocolate and chiles. Let your taste buds and your pantry dictate your own variation, using these proportions as a guide for this gluten-free, dairy-free recipe. Choose your favorite chiles and spice it up or down, depending on your tolerance for heat.
-Olive oil, for sautéing
½-1 red onion, diced
2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
3-4 cups (28 ounces) tomatoes, peeled (drained, if canned)
1-2 tablespoons diced green chiles, chopped, or canned Salsa Verde, mild
1-3 chipotle chile peppers in gluten-free adobo sauce, to taste, or diced chile peppers of choice
¼ cup gluten-free cornmeal
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch processed)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ear corn, cooked and cut from the cob
½ cup diced fresh tomatoes
-Shaved dark chocolate, for garnish
1. Lightly cover the bottom of a deep pot with olive oil. Heat to medium-high and sauté onions until translucent. Add 1½ cups black beans, peeled tomatoes, chiles, peppers (add only one first, then taste), cornmeal, cocoa, olive oil, cumin and cinnamon. Purée using an immersion blender or transfer to a standard blender or food processor and purée. Then return to the pot.
2. Add remaining ½ cup black beans, corn and fresh tomatoes. Taste and add more chiles, if you prefer a spicier sauce.
3. Heat sauce until fully warmed. Serve warm, garnished with shaved dark chocolate, over gluten-free pasta, spaghetti squash, rice or quinoa or atop grilled fish (if tolerated), chicken or veggies.
TIP The smaller the chile, often the hotter it is. Seeds and membranes contain the most heat, so remove these to cut the fiery intensity of hotter varieties.
Each serving contains 190 calories, 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 287mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 11g fiber, 7g protein.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Black Bean Noodles
SERVES 4 TO 6
Chocolate makes a healthy, flavorful base for this gorgeous pasta and balances the heat of a spicy mole sauce. If replacing the eggs with arrowroot, you may have to add more water (1 tablespoon at a time) to get the dough to hold together.
½ cup canned black beans, rinsed, drained
3 eggs or 3 tablespoons arrowroot
2¾ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
2 teaspoons xanthan gum (add only if flour blend does not include gum)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
5-6 tablespoons cold water
1. In a large bowl, mash the black beans with a fork. Add the eggs (or arrowroot)and mix together well.
2. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum and cocoa. Slowly work the dry ingredients into the bean-egg mixture with a fork, adding water as necessary to keep the dough together but not sticky or wet. (This mixing may also be done in a large food processor.)
3. Form the dough into a disk shape and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.
4. If serving right away, set a large pot of water to boil. To make spaghetti, follow the directions specific to your pasta attachment or roller. For KitchenAid Pasta Press, pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough, rewrapping the formed dough to keep it from drying out. Using the Spaghetti Plate, push pieces through the hopper on extrusion setting for the rate you choose (#8 to #10). Use a wire dough cutter to cut pasta at desired length.
5. Separate freshly extruded pasta and cook immediately in rapidly boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes or until al dente. Drain in a colander and serve topped with Chile-Chocolate Mole Sauce.
6. To serve later, dry fresh pasta in a single layer on a towel across a flat surface or on a pasta rack overnight. Then store in an airtight container or zip-top bags for later use. Boil dried pasta for 6 to 7 minutes or until al dente.
Each serving contains 262 calories, 3g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 106mg cholesterol, 114mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 7g protein.
For Chocolate Black Bean Ravioli, dust work surface with gluten-free flour and roll out dough very thin, using additional flour, as necessary, to prevent the dough from sticking. Cut into long strips and then cut each strip again into equal-size squares. Place a dollop of desired filling in the middle of every other square. Dab edges with wet fingers and place an empty square on top. Press two squares together to seal. Drop into boiling water. Cook until ravioli float, approximately 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Serve warm, topped with Chile-Chocolate Mole Sauce.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake
SERVES 8 TO 10
This light, flavorful cake is subtly sweet and it’s sure to be a hit. The dairy-free glaze is a delicious alternative to traditional frosting.
2½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour of choice
1¼ teaspoons xanthan gum (add only if flour blend does not include gum)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch processed)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ cup butter or dairy-free butter substitute
1⅔ cups granulated cane sugar or coconut palm sugar
3 eggs (or 3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer + 1 tablespoon arrowroot mixed with 3 table- spoons warm water)*
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey, agave nectar or raw coconut nectar
1 tablespoon orange juice or apple cider
2½ cups coarsely shredded, unpeeled zucchini
½ cup milk or dairy-free vanilla soy, coconut or almond milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1½ tablespoons milk or dairy-free vanilla soy, coconut or almond milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10-inch tube pan and dust with flour.
2. Whisk together flour blend, xanthan gum (if blend does not contain it), cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth and light. Add eggs one at a time (or egg replacement mixture), beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla, honey, orange juice and zucchini.
4. Alternately add mixed dry ingredients and milk to zucchini mixture, stirring to combine.
5. Place batter in prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes (check at 45 minutes) or until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
6. To make glaze, mix together all glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cake after it has fully cooled.
Each serving contains 470 calories, 17g total fat, 10g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 101mg cholesterol, 511mg sodium, 79g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 5g protein.
*TIP Cake will take longer to bake if eggs are replaced with Ener-G Egg Replacer and arrowroot. Test for doneness after 45 minutes. If not done, cover loosely with foil and bake another 15 to 20 minutes or until done.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cherry Chocolate Biscotti
MAKES 24 BISCOTTI
For the healthiest option, use dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao.
1¼ cups granulated cane or coconut palm sugar
½ cup butter or dairy-free butter substitute, room temperature
2 large eggs (or 2 tablespoons arrowroot mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water)
¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¾ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, more for dusting
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (add only if flour blend does not include gum)
¼ cup gluten-free oat flour or almond meal
½ cup gluten-free cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
½ cup chopped dark choco- late, optional
-Cinnamon-sugar topping, optional
3 ounces premium dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs (or arrowroot mixture) and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Stir in the flour, xanthan gum (if blend does not contain it), oat flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Fold in dried cherries and chopped chocolate, if desired, to integrate. Dough should be somewhat sticky but should pull away from the sides of the bowl. If necessary, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, to get the dough to come together.
3. Divide the dough into 4 sections. Scoop each section individually into your floured hands to prevent it from sticking. Form a log with each ball of dough approximately ¾ inches high by 2 inches wide (logs will spread when baking, so leave space between them). Place 2 logs on each baking sheet. Pat the tops down gently so they’re slightly less rounded. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, if desired.
4. Place in preheated oven and bake 25 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Remove to cool on wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice at a slight angle to form ½-inch thick slices. Place each slice, cut-side down, on parchment-lined baking sheets.
5. Return biscotti to hot oven and bake 10 more minutes. Flip and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove to fully cool on wire racks. Biscotti will harden as they cool. Once cooled, they are no longer brittle and can be dipped in the melted chocolate.
6. Place 3 ounces of chopped chocolate in a small, heavy saucepan. Heat over low flame for 5 minutes or until melted. Stir often to prevent burning. Dip one face of cooled biscotti in chocolate, allowing excess chocolate to drip back into pan. Return biscotti, chocolate-dipped sides up, to baking sheets. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or let stand 1 hour until chocolate has set. Store in air-tight containers once fully cooled.
Each biscotti contains 168 calories, 6g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 28mg cholesterol, 94mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2g protein.
TIP When replacing eggs, beat the arrowroot and water together and add to creamed butter and sugar. Then proceed with recipe.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Raspberry Pie
You have to try this gluten-free, dairy-free recipe to believe it. Mesquite flour boosts the chocolate aroma in the crust and adds protein and micronutrients. The smooth chocolate-raspberry filling tastes like its full of decadent cream but it’s dairy free.
2 tablespoons mesquite flour or buckwheat flour
7/8 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
½ teaspoon xanthan gum (add only if flour blend does not include gum)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
3 tablespoons granulated cane sugar or coconut palm sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup dairy-free butter alternative
1 egg yolk or 3 tablespoons egg- free mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ice water
12 ounces bitter-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1½ cups dairy-free whipping cream
2 tablespoons dairy-free butter alternative
¼ cup Chambord Raspberry Liqueur
1 pint fresh or frozen raspberries, rinsed
1. To make the pie crust, combine the flours, xanthan gum (if blend does not contain it), cocoa, sugar and salt in the bowl of a large food processor. Cut in butter alternative by pulsing mixture until crumbly. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolk and ice water together. With the processor running, pour liquid mixture in via the feed tube to bind the pastry dough together. Once mixed and clumped together in a ball, remove the dough from the food processor and work into a flattened disc. Wrap with foil or plastic wrap and chill until cold.
2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9- or 10-inch pie pan (or 9x13-inch pan if doubling the recipe).
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. It will be sticky so use a rubber spatula or oiled hands to press the dough into the bottom and lower sides of prepared pie pan.
4. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before filling.
5. To make the filling, place chocolate in the bowl of a large food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
6. In a medium saucepan, gradually heat dairy-free cream and butter alternative just until boiling. Stir and remove from heat. Turn the food processor back on while pouring hot cream mixture through the feed tube into chopped chocolate, processing until smooth. Add the Chambord and process until mixed through.
7. Spread the berries over the cooled, cooked crust to cover the surface. Pour the chocolate mixture over top of the berries. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, until set. Cut into small pieces and serve chilled on its own or topped with dairy-free whipped cream.
Each serving contains 452 calories, 27g total fat, 15g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 21mg cholesterol, 175mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate, 9g fiber, 6g protein.
Gluten-Free Comfort Food Chili
A must-have staple that warms the stomach and the soul, chili is also a very forgiving dish. If you don’t have one of these ingredients, improvise! Taste-test as you add ingredients to be sure you like the direction the gluten-free chili is taking. For thicker consistency, simmer longer uncovered over low heat. Add more liquid if you like thinner chili. This recipe will feed your family for days. Spoon it over cornbread, rice or quinoa or enjoy it on its own.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, diced
14 ounces firm tofu, chicken or ground beef, diced
4 ounces green chiles, diced
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 pint gluten-free beer or vegetable stock
30 ounces diced tomatoes
15 ounces tomato sauce
30-32 ounces light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
30-32 ounces dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounces black beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounces Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
11 ounces white “shoepeg” corn or 1-2 ears cooked and cut off the cob
2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons lime juice
Cheddar cheese or dairy-free cheddar-flavor cheese, shredded, optional
½ cup raw sunflower seeds or peanuts, optional
1. In a stock pot or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add diced tofu or meat and sauté just until cooked through. Then add chiles and chili powder. Stir in gluten-free beer, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Reduce flame down to low.
2. Stir in the beans and corn. Add oregano, cocoa, cumin and lime juice, stirring to combine. Continue cooking until the liquid has cooked down to the consistency you prefer. Cover pot if the mixture is getting thick.
3. Serve warm, topped with shredded cheese and sunflower seeds, if desired.
Each serving contains 365 calories, 5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 60g carbohydrate, 20g fiber, 21g protein.
Jules Shepard (julesglutenfree.com) is author of several special-diet books, including Free for All Cooking (Da Capo Press), and is creator of Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Raspberry Heart Tarts
MAKES Five 4-to 5-INCH TARTS
Food editor Beth Hillson uses Jules Shepard’s Chocolate Raspberry Pie filling to make these luscious tarts, ideal for Valentine’s Day. Prepare the crust for the tarts first, as the filling hardens quickly.
1 Pie Crust recipe
-Ingredients for Chocolate Raspberry Pie filling
5 4-to 5-inch tart pans
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil five 4- or 5-inch heart-shaped tart pans.
2. Prepare Pie Crust dough. Divide dough into 5 equal pieces. Between sheets of plastic wrap, roll one piece into a 6-inch circle. Flip the crust over onto the tart pan and gently press it into the pan, trimming the edges so dough is flush with the top. Repair any tears by pressing bits of leftover dough into the pan. Prick the bottom of the crust. Repeat with remaining dough pieces and pans.
3. Set the tart pans on two baking sheets and bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes or until edges of crust are slightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely.
4. While tarts are cooling, prepare the filling. Place chocolate in the bowl of a large food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
5. In a medium saucepan, gradually heat dairy-free cream and butter alternative just until boiling. Stir and remove from heat.
6. Turn the food processor back on while pouring hot cream mixture through the feed tube into chopped chocolate, processing until smooth. Add Chambord Raspberry Liqueur and process until mixed through.
7. Pour chocolate mixture into cooled crusts to within ¼-inch of the top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until partially set. Outline each tart with fresh raspberries.
8. Refrigerate tarts at least 2 hours or until chocolate mixture is solid. Decorate each tart with a dollop of whipped topping, if desired. Serve chilled.
MAKES FIVE 4- TO 5-INCH SHELLS
This gluten-free, dairy-free crust can also be used to make two 8- or 9-inch pies or one double-crust pie.
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
2 teaspoons sugar
1¼ teaspoons xanthan gum*
½ teaspoon salt*
½ teaspoon baking powder
11 tablespoons organic shortening, divided
6 tablespoons ice water
1. Sift flour blend with remaining dry ingredients.
2. Cut in half the shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Repeat with remaining shortening.
3. Sprinkle water over the mixture and mix to combine, pressing dough into a ball as you work.