Easy Gluten-Free Entertaining (Recipe: Black Forest Brownie Trifles)

Even if you aren’t eating gluten-free it’s easy to entertain gluten-free guests without having to buy a lot of specialty items.

Although most of the people I know who eat gluten-free truly don’t mind if there are certain items on the table that they can’t eat, it’s nice to make the extra effort and have all the food able to be enjoyed by everyone. It’s just more fun if all your guests can partake in every part of the meal – that way there are no temptations and nobody feels left out.

It doesn’t have to be stressful to cook gluten-free. With these few quick tips, you can have a great meal on the table in no time.

1. Make naturally gluten free foods

The easiest way to cook for someone who is gluten intolerant, without worrying about messing around with new ingredients, is to simply make foods that naturally don’t have any wheat. That way you don’t have to try out new recipes or figure out how to adapt a favorite.

Here a couple of ideas of foods to serve at different mealtimes.

For Breakfast

For Lunch

For Dinner

The main is easy – meat is, of course, naturally gluten free. Turkey, ham, lamb, etc. are all great options


For Dessert

2. Get Your Bake On

If you really want to bake something for everyone to enjoy, you don’t have to worry about running around town searching for different flours or things such as xanthan gum. Just buy one pre-made all-purpose mix and you’re ready to go. It will mean one purchase and no stress. Just make sure that it can be substituted straight over for flour and needs no other additives to make it work.

Martha Stewart’s number one recommendation for gluten-free flour mix is Cup4Cup from Williams-Sonoma. And based on it’s high star reviews, it sounds like a winner. It will definitely be joining my shelf soon in preparation for gluten-free guests.

Of course, there are many great options out there so use what’s available to you. Why not ask your guest for a trusted recommendation?

3. Watch out for Hidden Wheat

Gluten can show up in some pretty surprising places so it’s best to do a quick scan of your ingredient labels before starting. Condiments and sauces are the most common culprits and many of them are used for other pre-packaged foods as well, so make sure to always check the back first.

Besides the obvious words such as flour, multi-grain and whole grain, here are some other words to look out for:

  • durum
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • kamut
  • malt
  • miso
  • semolina
  • soy sauce
  • spelt
  • textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • vegetable starch
  • wheat germ

This isn’t to scare you off. You just want to make sure there are no mishaps. You can always ask the person you’re cooking for too, if you have any questions. I’m sure they would appreciate the effort and not look at it as an inconvenience.

And remember, if you cook with as many raw ingredients as possible, there should be no “oops”.

The point is – don’t be afraid of cooking gluten-free. It doesn’t have to be scary. And don’t stress, because this season is all about peace and happiness. And, the most important thing is that we savor our time together – stress free.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Black Forest Brownies

These brownies are dense, fudgey and truly delicious. Also, they're flourless, which means there are no baking mixes required to make this turn out great. I've layered the brownies with whipped cream, dark cherries and grated chocolate for a delicious ending to the day. You won't need the whole batch of brownies for this dessert, so you can store the remainder in the freezer, enjoy them on their own, or come up with your own culinary concoction.
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Course: Desserts
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 1 Trifle
Calories: 5092kcal
Author: Cheri


For Flourless Chocolate Brownies

  • 6 large eggs room temperature
  • 18 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chopped
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


Flourless Chocolate Brownies

  • Prepare a 9×13 pan by lining it with foil. Spray it with cooking spray.
  • Melt chocolate and butter slowly over low heat. Stir in vanilla. Cool mixture to room temperature.
  • Beat eggs on high for approximately 5 minutes or until tripled in volume.
  • Fold half of eggs into cooled chocolate mixture until no streaks remain, then fold in the other half.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out top.
  • Place the 9x13 pan into a larger pan (such as a roasting pan). Fill larger pan with hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the 9x13 pan.
  • Bake for 15 min on center rack at 425ºF. Turn off oven and leave pans in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Remove brownies from the water bath and place on wire rack to cool.
  • Cover and refrigerate brownies overnight before slicing.

Black Forest Brownie Trifles

  • In one large trifle bowl or individual glasses layer brownies, cream, cherries and chocolate. Serve immediately.


Calories: 5092kcal | Carbohydrates: 271g | Protein: 76g | Fat: 412g | Saturated Fat: 240g | Cholesterol: 1784mg | Sodium: 2156mg | Potassium: 3417mg | Fiber: 41g | Sugar: 190g | Vitamin A: 7765IU | Calcium: 561mg | Iron: 38.2mg


Do you eat gluten-free or ever cook for someone who does? Do you have any tips to share?

All Photos by Cheri Neufeld

About Cheri

Cheri is a mother of two and a Canadian expat living in Norway. With a passion for quick and simple food, Cheri shares recipes, tips and tricks on her food blog, KitchenSimplicity.com.

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  1. I’ve been gluten-free for a few years, but this is the first Christmas where the kids have been gluten-free, too, and planning has been tough! My stance during normal times is to stick with foods that are naturally gluten-free and avoid substitutes like GF flour, but for big holiday gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas I throw that out the window and make sure I’m the one bringing the desserts to the big gatherings so my kids don’t revolt! (And don’t have bellyaches Christmas evening–that’s no way to celebrate.)

    These brownies look fantastic (and easy!) I have 1 child who can’t tolerate butter or any dairy–any ideas for a substitute?

    • Since we’re avoiding dairy, gluten and soy, I’ll offer my two cents. Earth Balance has a dairy-free margerine that works well in baking ( they even have one without soy), and I’ve used canned coconut milk to make whipped cream before. I’ve also seen a cashew-based whipping cream at the health food store. As for the chocolate, you can either use Enjoy Life chocolate chips, or just pick a different chocolate brownie recipe that uses cocoa rather than chocolate. It’s not too hard to find substitutions these days, although it can be quite expensive.

  2. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says

    I can also speak very highly of the King Arthur Flour Gluten Free mixes. I made a cobbler (http://www.bluebonnetsandbrownies.com/2010/11/15/apple-and-pear-cobbler-gluten-free-recipe/) with great success. Love the tips here too. It’s actually quite easy to cook gluten free, once you know what to look out for. Baking gluten-free is a little more difficult, but only if you want to move beyond the mixes (and there’s really no need to do that for the occasional gluten free baker).

  3. The flourless chocolarte brownies were awesome!

    I did want to add that San-Ji and La Choy make gluten free soy sauce/tamari. San-Ji makes a line of Asian sauces that are GF.

    For Anne, Spectrum makes a dairy free butter substitute and Enjoy Life makes Allergy-free chocolates

  4. I sort of blogged about this today! I’ve recently been told to avoid gluten–amongst many other foods–by my allergist. I bought a box mix of 123 Gluten Free cake and made it and it was wonderful. I prefer to cook from scratch but baked goods are more complicated than other items so I didn’t want to chance it. I will be making this cake again and taking it to Christmas!

  5. Gluten-free mixes work well for me also because I do best on a low-sugar diet which means I bake dessert infrequently, and they travel well – easy to tuck into a suitcase. I write a travel blog where I write on the best gluten-free chocolate brownie mixes: http://travelsketchwrite.com/2011/12/06/best-gluten-free-chocolate-brownies/
    Happy Holidays!

  6. I personally am not gluten-free, and I have family coming in town for the holidays who are gluten-free. I’ve been resisting it, and now I’m not quite sure why. This post has inspired me, and now I’m even looking forward to making all of these delicious recipes! Thanks for this post 🙂

  7. Love these tips, especially about making naturally gluten-free foods. These trifles look delicious!

  8. useful post . the trifle looks scrumptious….happy holidays 🙂

  9. Oh that looks fantastic. I am going to share this with my friend Jennifer, she’ll love it!

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