Food

Gluten-Free Alternatives for the Holidays

gluten free christmas cookies

Don’t be discouraged this holiday season if you’re on a gluten-free diet.

Life without gluten doesn’t mean passing on the cookie plate at Christmastime. It might have, at one time, but not anymore.

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People with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity/intolerance bake cookies using rice flour, potato flour, potato starch, corn starch, nut flours and other ingredients. And if you’re not into baking, gluten-free cookies are available in an increasing number of local stores and bakeries.

Wegmans recently introduced an assortment of gluten-free treats, now available in the bakery departments all Wegmans stores. The selection includes brownies, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes and Snickerdoodles, a classic cinnamon-sugar cookie that’s popular at the holidays. All of the items are baked and packaged in a dedicated, gluten-free facility.

The offerings are diverse — and more homemade — at area bake shops.

Deborah Fuller, owner of Deborah’s Sweet Treats, a gluten-free bakery in Baldwinsville, has been busy baking seasonal cupcakes (gingerbread, white chocolate cranberry, hot cocoa, eggnog red velvet) and an array of cookies or her bakery case and for cookie trays. Fuller, a regular vendor on Saturdays at the Central New York Regional Market, says her bakery is noted for its breads, pizza crust, English muffins and cookies.

Deborah's Sweet Treats. Photo from Facebook.

Deborah’s Sweet Treats.
Photo from Facebook.

Fuller, a lifelong baker, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease about 10 years ago. People with Celiac are hypersensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, which makes many baked goods off-limits. Fuller was disappointed with the gluten-free breads and other products found in stores and determined to come up with alternatives that taste good and look good. She baked out of her home for five years before opening Deborah’s Sweet Treats in January.

“I had a customer tell me, ‘thank you for making gluten-free fun to eat again,'” Fuller says. “I always keep that in the back of my mind.”

Deborah’s Sweet Treats is at 52 Oswego St., Baldwinsville. Fuller is offering cookie trays for Christmas in a range of choices, sizes, prices. Information: 635-2400.

Other gluten-free bake shops to have on your radar:

The Cookie Connection Gluten-Free Bake Shop, 705 Park Ave., Syracuse. “Bon Appetit Without the Wheat” is how sisters Kathy Sniezak and Betty Johnson describe their baked goods. They specialize in gluten-free breads, muffins, cakes, cupcakes and cookies. Popular this time of year are gluten-free Italian cookies ($15 per pound; eight or more varieties, like lemon, almond, raspberry, maple walnut, almond paste, chocolate balls and macaroons), as well as biscotti, chocolate-covered chocolate mint cake bites, cinnamon buns and more. Call to place an order. Information: 422-2253.

 

Yum-Yum’s Gluten-Free Bakery and Cafe. Photo from www.yumyumsglutenfree.com

Yum-Yum’s Gluten-Free Bakery and Cafe.
Photo from www.yumyumsglutenfree.com

Yum-Yum’s Gluten-Free Bakery and Cafe: Owners Erin and Mark Fallico recently moved their bakery and cafe to 601 1/2 W. Manlius St., East Syracuse. House specialties include gluten-free breads, pizza, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, pies and pie crusts. Holiday specialties include gingerbread cut-out cookies, red velvet cake balls, candy cane cupcakes and biscotti. The cafe offers homemade soups, salads and sandwiches, breakfast pizza and other items.  Information: 314-7542.

Gluten-Free Epiphany: A frequent vendor on Saturdays at the CNY Regional Market, 2100 Park St., Syracuse. Offerings include gluten-free bread, rolls, bagels, muffins, cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, pie shells and more. Information: 697-9132.

Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor in Syracuse. She blogs about food at eatfirst.typepad.com. Follow her on Twitter at @mmccormickcny, connect on Facebook or email her at mmccormicksnt@gmail.com.

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