Baking Through 2020: The Top 3 Gluten Free Desserts I Made This Year

2020 was a hectic year and many of us turned to new hobbies to cope with the seemingly never ending perils that 2020 threw at us. I, for instance, turned to baking. There is something so poetic about turning raw, inedible ingredients into something warm, delicious and loved. Now, as the year is coming to a close, I would love to share my favorite gluten-free dessert recipes that I fell in love with this year. Each of these recipes brought me such comfort in the toughest year of my life and I would love to share an ounce of that comfort with you all.

  1. 1. Banana Bread: The Classic Dessert of the COVID-19 Era

    picture of zucchini banana bread

    During the initial months of the outbreak, there seemed to be three phases. Phase one included panic buying and empty grocery store shelves; phase two included an excessive amount of Zoom parties, get togethers and happy hours; phase three (and my personal favorite phase) was the banana bread baking phase. If you didn't make banana bread in the last 12 months, did you really live through 2020? Interestingly enough, according to a recent study that researched the most popular Google searches, April saw over 2.7 million searches for banana bread recipes… and I most definitely contributed to that statistic. However, out of all the banana breads I made this year (and yes, I made a lot), my favorite is by far this gluten-free zucchini chocolate chip banana bread recipe I found from Rachl Mansfield. Not only is it absolutely delicious, with the inclusion of zucchini and flax meal, this bread is filled with essential nutrients including fiber and potassium. Most importantly, it is so easy! 

     

    Ingredients: 

    1 cup mashed banana

    1 cup shredded zucchini (make sure to squeeze out any extra moisture) 

    3 eggs

    2 cups almond flour

    1/2 cup ground flaxseed 

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

     

    Instructions:

    Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a loaf pan with oil or line it with parchment paper

    In one bowl, mix together the banana, zucchini and eggs

    In another bowl, mix together the almond flour, flax seed, baking powder and cinnamon. When mixed, pour it into the wet ingredients and mix until you reach a creamy consistency. 

    Add the batter to the pan and bake for 40-50 minutes.

  2. 2. Matcha Oatmeal Cookies: A Spring and Summer Refreshing Favorite

    Me holding cookies

    During the summer, iced matcha lattes are my go-to drink, so when I found a matcha recipe in cookie form, you bet I had them almost every night this summer. I literally cannot think of a more epic combination of flavors. I found this recipe off the HBO show, Selena + Chef, and easily made it gluten-free by subbing the regular flour for all-purpose gluten-free flour and made it healthier by subbing the white sugar for coconut sugar. Many of my friends don't enjoy the taste of matcha (weird, right?) so we subbed the matcha powder for cocoa powder and it turned out so good! I definitely recommend trying this recipe when you are missing warm, summer days.

     

    Ingredients:

    3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    2 teaspoons matcha powder 

    1/4 teaspoon sea salt

    1/3 cup coconut oil

    1/2 cup sugar (can sub for coconut sugar)

    1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

    1 large ripe banana, mashed 

    1 1/2 cups rolled oats

    1 cup dark chocolate chips

     

    Instructions:

    Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

    Whisk the flour, baking soda, matcha powder, and salt together. 

    In another bowl, mix the coconut oil with the sugar until you reach a creamy consistency.

    Into that bowl, add in the egg and vanilla. Once the egg is fully mixed in, add the mashed banana and a ¼ cup of water. Mix well.

    Add in the dry ingredients. Mix slowly and then add the oats and chocolate chips.

    When fully mixed, use a spoon or icecream scooper to create ball-like shapes of cookies on the baking pan.

    Bake for 10 minutes and enjoy!  

  3. 3. Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies: My Holiday Favorite

    Picture of peppermint chocolate cookies

    There is something about baking aromatic goods while its absolutely freezing outside (yes, I think 65 degrees is freezing) that brings me such joy. My apartment has smelled like candy canes and gingerbreads for the past few weeks. I have always been a huge fan of thin mint cookies and this gluten-free double chocolate peppermint cookies are the best winter alternative as we wait for Girl Scout season to start again. These are amazing straight out of the oven and also absolutely delicious chilled. I will definitely be eating these cookies on repeat for the next few weeks. 

    Ingredients:

    2 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour 

    1 teaspoon sea salt

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/2 cup coconut oil

    1 cup sugar

    2 eggs, beaten 

    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    2 teaspoons peppermint extract

    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

    1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

     

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Mix together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

    In another bowl, mix together the coconut oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, peppermint extract and cocoa. 

    Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture and stir until fully mixed. 

    Form the cookie shapes on the parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. 

This year was not easy, and who knows what next year will bring? I wish for everyone to find comfort through a hobby like I did through baking this year. Try these recipes out: I promise you will not be disappointed! Let the aroma and the comfort of baked goods bring you joy as 2020 comes to a close and we enter another year of unknowns.