The weather is cooling and it’s the month of Halloween! All are excited for the return of sugar season but what about families who find it a challenge due to being gluten-free? As the children reach for snacks make sure you have food that is not only good for their body but tastes good as well! Fun Halloween food is still a treat for children celebrating the time of All Hallows Eve even if it is missing gluten.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a combination of wheat and rye). It acts as a “glue” in foods such as cereal, bread, and pasta, helping them hold their shape. In some individuals, consuming gluten can cause illness. According to Dr. Fasano, it is estimated that around 20 million people in the U.S. have some form of gluten intolerance – referred to medically as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) – causing symptoms such as bloating or gas, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, “brain fog,” and an itchy skin rash.
Generally speaking, around 1 in 133 people in the U.S., have celiac disease – a more serious form of gluten intolerance. In celiac disease, gluten triggers an autoimmune response that attacks the lining of the small intestine. This means the body is unable to effectively absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to anemia, delayed growth, and weight loss.
As you prepare for any type of Halloween party or neighborhood fall festival your gluten-free snacks can be a hit with the little goblins and they won’t even know they are being protected by you. It is not hard to find some fun looking snacks for your children that taste good. Here are two examples that have been a hit with ghouls young and old.
Little Ghost Sugar Cookies (Gluten Free)
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 mins Cook Time: 8 mins Total Time: 1 hour 22 mins
- 3 cups all purpose (gluten free) flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
To make cookies:
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
- In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add the flour mixture slowly and mix until smooth.
- Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll out one-half of the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s approximately ¼ inch thick.
- Cut out your cookies using a lightly floured cookie cutter (an upside down tulip works best for little ghosts).
- Transfer cookie shapes to baking sheet.
- Place the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill the dough.
10.Bake cookies for 8 until the edges are just barely browned.
11.Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting:
- In the bowl of your mixer, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice.
- Add the powdered sugar and beat on low until smooth.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container to prevent hardening.
Frozen Banana Mummies and Hairy Creature Things
Makes: 12-15 Mummies/Things Active Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 3-4 hours
- 3 large BANANAS
- 3 tablespoons gently melted, food grade COCOA BUTTER
- 3 tablespoons powdered COCONUT SUGAR)
- CANDY EYES, “safe” chocolate chips, currants or raisins
Have the kids peel and slice (butter knife it) the bananas into 1-1/2″ chunks. Skewer bananas with lollipop sticks (available at most craft stores), or use kabob skewers cut in half using wire cutters as I did. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze.
For the candy coating; in a small bowl, mix the melted cocoa butter with the powdered sugar.
Spoon a little drop of candy coating on a frozen banana and stick on an eye (or two, or three). Using a spoon, have the kids drizzle candy coating over the bananas in all directions, avoiding the eye.
An egg carton turned upside down with little holes poked in the bottom made a good stand as we worked on them. For the “Things”; We made the orange shredded coconut by mixing a few drops of yellow and a drop of red with some unsweetened shredded coconut. We opted to toast the coconut for a few minutes. Voila, colored sprinkles. To assemble the “Things”: Attach eyes with a dot of candy coating. Drizzle candy coating on to coat front, avoiding eye(s). Sprinkle with coconut. Drizzle to coat back. Sprinkle again. Drizzle to coat top. Sprinkle again. You gotta work in stages as the candy coat hardens real quick on the frozen bananas.
Cocoa Butter: If your local natural food store doesn’t carry food grade cocoa butter, here are some chips, that look fantastic (just pure cocoa butter). Whatever brand you buy, ensure that it’s food grade.
Candy Eyes: These candy eyes were purchased at Michaels. You can find them in the cake decorating aisle. They contain some artificial colors and the usual yucky stuff. You can remove them prior to eating—or choose not to sweat it. Up to you.
Want more #GlutenFree recipes? Check out our post: 3 Healthy Gluten & Dairy Free Lunches. Have fun!
Peer Health can connect you with a personalized peer community to share provider recommendations, treatment options, and define your best life. The Peer Health community is coming soon and we want you to be the first to know. Sign up for our newsletter today.
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash