These days everyone’s got a gluten-free friend or two. But let’s rewind to a couple of years ago when the whole “I’m willingly going to omit the most delicious food group from my diet” trend was completely foreign to me. I was at a baseball game. Of course I frequented the concession stand and of course I returned to my seat with a beer and a soft, salty pretzel. My friend, who was giving the whole gluten-free thing a whirl due to reoccurring digestive issues, shot me a death stare when she spotted the refined carbs. She then grabbed the pretzel and inhaled the intoxicating aroma only warm yeasty bread emits. Finally, the poor girl emitted a deep guttural moan before shoving it back at me. At the time I thought she was insane; it’s just a partially stale, overly salty piece of bread. Now as a mostly gluten-free convert, I understand her anguish all too well.
Let’s face it: dairy, gluten, and refined sugars are lurking in all of our favorite comfort foods. There’s nothing quite like a warm chocolate chip cookie or a piece of apple pie to satisfy your sweet tooth, or sweet teeth in my case. Would I recommend shunning these delicious treats from heaven from your diet completely and forever? No, not unless your health requires strict adherence to a certain way of eating. My gluten-free M.O. involves occasionally splurging on the treats I used to love (but that now sadly give me a belly ache) and finding substitutes the rest of the time.
Anyone who’s ever thought about going gluten-free knows there are a ba-gillion Pinterest boards dedicated to using all kinds of weird, expensive ingredients to simulate the pillow-y mouth feel of risen flour. Can you make gluten-free pancakes, brownies, and sandwich bread? Yeah, you can, but it’s gonna cost a fortune and it’s not going to hit the spot like the real thing.
I recommend getting creative with real ingredients, you know, the one’s readily available, inexpensive, and tasty. The chocolate pudding I’m about to drop on you is a delicious sweet treat, super easy to prepare, and doesn’t contain tapioca flour. I brought these gems to our first summer grill out of the season, and no one knew they were A) healthy, B) packed with nutrients and energy, and C) dairy and refined sugar free. The dark chocolate and bourbon made the pudding rich and complex and the avocado base made it smooth and luscious. The best part is you don’t need a fancy occasion to throw some avocados into a blender and whip up a little something to treat yoself.
½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
½ can full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons bourbon
Remove flesh from avocados and slice into 1-inch pieces. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and homogenous.
Divide pudding into four small serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with toppings of your choice. I used coconut whipped cream.