Tuesday, September 4, 2012

[Post 2] Gluten Free Food Gifts and Party Favors Series

GF (no)Campfire Smores

Gluten Free (no) Campfire Smores
For anyone who has celiac disease or has a person in his/her life who suffers from celiac disease, cooking for oneself and others becomes a little more challenging because the health of yourself or someone you care about is on the line.

My series on "Gluten Free Food Gifts and Party Favors," however, is meant to mediate that challenge a bit by showcasing a few homemade Gluten Free food gifts or party favors that could easily be made to the delight everybody's taste buds--whether they have celiac disease or not!

The posts in the series will cover the following homemade (always the best!) Gluten Free food gifts and party favors:

  • [DONE!] Gluten Free and Vegan Pumpkin Butter see post at: Kate's GF Pumpkin Butter
  • Gluten Free (no)Campfire Smores with marshmallows, GF graham cracker crumbs, chocolate and peanut butter chips, and white chocolate drizzles
  • Gluten Free and Vegetarian Chocolate Bark with pistachio, dried cranberries, dried apricots, and white chocolate drizzle

Some Advice on Safe Gluten Free Cooking and Baking

As when doing any GF cooking, make sure all counter tops and kitchen materials have been properly cleaned to avoid cross-contamination. Even a few crumbs from your breakfast toast on the counter getting incorporated into the final product you give to a person with celiac can be very harmful to them.

You'll want to keep the issue of cross-contamination on your mind as you cook or bake--that bag of brown sugar you're dipping your measuring spoon into, have you ever dipped a measuring spoon into it when it had remnants of a wheat substance like flour on it? Often it's just safest to start with brand new bags of the basic ingredients unless you know--for sure--that you have been careful about preventing contamination.

Another thing to always keep in mind when cooking GF is that you must check your ingredients for GF labeling on the packaging. Some surprising foods are not GF (soy sauce is one example) and if you aren't conscientious about checking your packaging you could feed a friend or loved one something that will make them ill--definitely not the intention!

If you want to use a product but it has no GF label on it, you should search out additional nutritional information on the company's website and/or contact the company directly through phone or email to confirm the product is safe. Companies are very happy to answer these questions and usually do so in a reasonably short time period. 


Another option for figuring out whether a product is GF is to search online for reputable lists of GF items collected by GF eaters and GF communities and groups.  


Remember that your best bet when searching for certified GF products, for example the GF graham crackers used in the current recipe, is to go to a specialty store like Whole Foods, Central Market, or Trader Joe's. These stores tend to have more explicitly GF options available.

Gluten Free (no)Campfire Smores

This second post in the "Gluten Free Food Gifts and Party Favors" series is on making a giftable version of a traditional smore, which is basically layers of graham cracker surrounding marshmallow and chocolate.  Typically, smores are cooked over an open flame, most traditionally a campfire.   

Many of you have probably eaten smores cooked over the fire during family campouts or boy- or girl- scout outings.  I know I did!  For those of us who did indulge in this sweet treat as kids, they have a strong nostalgic hold on us. 

My Gluten Free (no)Campfire Smores honor the nostalgia that many of us adults have for smores while updating them for a GF audience and making them gift-able.   These smores require no flame--hence me naming them (no)Campfire Smores--they're made with Gluten Free graham crackers for safe GF consumption and, in the ever-popular cake-pop tradition, my (no)Campfire Gluten Free Smores come on a stick for easy eating and easy decorative packaging.  


Below is the recipe and I even give you tips about how you can package and decorate the Gluten Free smores for gifting for a birthday or holiday or for giving out as a party favor!  But, before we get to those steps, let's talk about Gluten Free Graham Crackers...


There are several brands of Gluten Free Graham Crackers on the market and you'll need to purchase a variety available to you either through advanced ordering online or in a local specialty foods or grocery store.  


Some brands of GF Graham Crackers to keep on the lookout for follow; click the brand to follow the link to further information on the makers' websites:



RECIPE: Gluten Free (no)Campfire Smores

Ingredients
Make sure to avoid
cross-contamination!

Yields 6-7 (no)Campfire Smores
  • Large Marshmallows
  • Bittersweet Baker's Chocolate (2 boxes, at least)
  • GF Graham Crackers, crumbed
  • GF Chocolate + Peanut Butter Chips
  • White Baker's Chocolate (1/2 box)
  • Skewers (for skewering marshmallows on)
  • Optional: Nuts, such as pecans

Directions

[1.] Impale 3 large marshmallows on each skewer. If skewers are very long, feel free to cut them in half with a pair of kitchen scissors to make them more managable (this is what I did).

[2.] On a plate or in a large bowl, mix the GF graham cracker crumbs and chocolate + peanut butter chips together; set aside until ready to dip your chocolate-covered marshmallows. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

[3.] In a double boiler (you can do a make-shift double boiler by filling a large pot up with a little bit of water and balancing a smaller pot inside it such that the bottom of the smaller pot *almost* touches the water level of the larger pot) add bittersweet baker's chocolate and stir constantly until melted. Note: It is *imperative* that you use baker's chocolate and not chocolate chips. Chocolate chips contain stabilizers that make them nearly impossible to melt down well.

[4.] Dip skewered marshmallows into chcolate and roll them in GF graham cracer and chocolate + peanut butter chip topping. Set on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until chocolatae has solidified.

Recommended Presentation for Gifting

What You'll Need:

  • Clear Plastic Wrap (either regular kitchen wrap or decorative)
  • Decorating Ribbon (of your choice)
  • Decorative Gift Label (large enough to write the recipe on the back)
Directions:
  • Wrap "smores" in plastic wrap and secure plastic wrap with a little bit of ribbon. 
  • Tie multiple GF Smores together along with a label with "(no)Campfire Smores" on the front and the recipe on the back with a bow made out of colorful ribbon. 
  • Optional: Place wrapped GF Smores in cute coffee cup and encourage the recipient of your GF Smores to dunk into her morning coffee!  Yum!  

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