Gluten Free | Sweets for your Sweetie

Gluten Free | Sweets for your Sweetie

196Holidays can be such a challenge for those following a restricted diet. Avoiding gluten, dairy and soy (present in most chocolate in the form of soy lecithin) is hard enough and now add color-dye and genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), such as high fructose corn syrup to the mix, and one can go into overdrive.  The holidays that are coated in red color dye are the most troublesome for us (Valentine’s day, Christmas). I am convinced after five years of observation that color dye is Sam’s number one behavior trigger. I joke during my presentations on “connecting the dots between food and behavior” that I will literally become air born at a party to keep color-dye out of Sam’s mouth. At Christmas time, I have to keep a dye-free, organic candy cane in my pocket at all times for those well-meaning santas. You can read more about color dye and its effect on our health at Feingold.

As I roam the candy isles pondering what treats would be safe to give Sam’s classmates for Valentine’s day, I quickly conclude I’m going to have to take matters into my own hands. All the affordable chocolate available contains soy, dairy and/or gluten. Almost all other candies contain color-dye and GMO’s. There are a few dye-free, organic candy options on the market like Surf Sweets (check out their red gummy hearts) and YummyEarth. While I am thankful for these options, I feel like we give them out every year so this time, I’m making my own candy. It worked out perfectly that Enjoy Life Foods sent me their new dark chocolate morsels to try. I have long loved Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and mega morsels for gluten, dairy and soy-free baking. I have great respect for any company that takes into consideration multi-food sensitivities. A high majority of people I encounter in my gluten-free support groups have multiple food in tolerances (for whatever reason…probably leaky gut). The sooner food manufacturers embrace this concept, the sooner their sales (and profits) will double (can you hear me out there?).

enojylifedarkchipsMy ex-mother-in-law used to make little mint chocolate candies for the weddings she catered. I had helped many times with this so I decided to melt my new Enjoy  Life dark chocolate morsels and make some chocolate hearts. You can either heat the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals or you can heat it on the stove in a double boiler. I added a little coconut oil to give sheen to the chocolate and to make it a little more liquid for the candy mold.


Once the chocolate was just perfect (make sure to stir thoroughly to dissolve all chocolate chunks), I placed the melted chocolate into these disposable candy decorating bags to make clean up a breeze. Have you ever tried to clean up hardened chocolate out of a bowl or off the counters? I hate to be non-green here but my mental sanity is worth something.


Once I filled the bag with chocolate, I snipped of the end and squeezed the chocolate into the heart-shaped molds. I tapped the candy mold on the counter to settle the chocolate into the mold and to release any air bubbles.

191Once all the heart molds were filled, I placed the candy mold into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes. After removing, I immediately pushed the hard molded chocolate hearts out onto the counter.


Perfection. I had to trim excess chocolate off a few of the hearts. You can avoid this by wiping the tray down as thoroughly as possible before freezing.


I put the gluten, dairy, soy and nut free chocolate hearts into a cellophane bag with some dye-free organic gummies (once again) and included a little note from Sam. I indicated on the note that the candy was free of all the items above so my efforts would not go unnoticed. I want to make sure that a child with a nut allergy or whatever knows they can safely consume this food. My heart goes out to every child who is segregated by food sensitivities/allergies. My goal is to provide a safe and fun food experience for everyone.



Beyond the children’s snacks…what would warm my heart for Valentine’s day? I’ve featured a few of my favorites below. Be sure to check out Natural Candy They have an amazing selection of candy free of gluten, dairy, GMO’s and color-dye. This is a company that takes food sensitivities seriously. They do thorough examination of ingredients and cross contamination procedures before a product earns one of their seals. You can do a search on your specific food restrictions to pull up the foods safe for you and/or your child. Be sure to check them out…Natural Candy

chocolateMy favorite chocolate, Alter Eco…organic, dairy, soy and gluten-free. This reminds me of the old Nestle Crunch bar (but a much healthier version). YUM

alter ecoBLOG

ingredBLOBThe Alter Eco Dark Quinoa ingredient list. Please note, cocoa butter is non-dairy.


caramel pieceblogOh my…non-dairy sea salt caramel. Buy me some of these and I will be your best friend forever…promise. These are now available at Draeger’s Market (I think I saw them there), New Leaf Community Market and Sprout’s Farmers’ Markets (in Northern California, at least).

caramel pieceblog2

IMG_1797This chocolate above is gluten and dairy-free but does contain soy. For those who can consume soy, this is a very pretty option for a gift. This brand is available at Draeger’s Market, New Leaf Community Market and Whole Foods Market.

valentineThis product was introduced this past year. It says that it contains dairy but I cannot find the dairy ingredient on the list. It is however soy-free and is organic. This was super yummy and a great alternative to a peanut butter cup (Reeses), I think. Peanut sensitive people rejoice!



val4I’m sorry for this very fuzzy picture but the package is now gone and I had to order this online so could not easily get a replacement to re-photograph. This is a nougat and caramel candy that is dairy-free. It is also gluten-free but is full of soy. If you can do soy, this product is very good and will remind you of Milky Way days.



104And last but certainly not least, my newest obsession is Black Ace gluten-free licorice. Wow, super yum. This is the first gluten-free licorice on that market that is worth eating. I kid you not. Available at the Natural Candy Available in both red and black.

024For my Valentine sweetie (look at that face…it brings tears to my eyes), he’ll receive heart-shaped gluten-free pancakes for breakfast and a movie from his biggest fan, me (I am trying to put less emphasis on sweets around here…it’s a challenge). My children will hold my heart forever.

Have a healthy and happy Valentine’s day.

Kim Rice


  1. Hi Kim. Thanks for all of your information and
    Helpful reviews. I so enjoy reading your posts.
    I double checked on the Sun Cups website and the
    List of ingredients in your picture differs then
    On their website. The dark chocolate Sun Cups
    According to the company’s website has milk powder
    In the white chocolate. I am going to call company
    Tomorrow to see what they say and if they know
    There is a discrepancy.

    • Thanks, Melissa. Let me know what they say. It’s confusing when a company does not list all the ingredients within the ingredients. :0


  2. Kim, I just saw a link for your blog from the Canyon House bakery site! I too made some yummy “peppermint patties (heart shaped of course)” with enjoy life chips. My daughter has celiac disease and parties at school are always stressful. I made chocolate boxes for 4 friends who are dairy and gluten free. Kids really deserve to have something special for the holidays that are good and safe for them to eat. I will follow your site for lots of good ideas. Happy V day! Cathy

    • Thanks, Cathy. It makes such a big difference for these kids when they have something extra special. Thanks for following my site and I hope you find lots of great info here.


  3. So many of us gluten-free folks can’t have refined sugar in any form, or honey, which has a high glycemic index; and, as you know, agave syrup and maltitol aren’t so good either. The shelves in my local health food stores are packed with gluten-free products, but I have almost despaired of finding chocolate products that use date palm sugar or are fruit-juice sweetened, which seems to be the only forms I can tolerate. For those who are in a similar boat, can you make some recommendations? Do you know which of the ones you recommended in this blog post are both gluten-free and sugar-free?

    After scouring all the aisles, the treats I found that work for me are the following, so I am happy to share them with you and your readers.

    Lulu’s handcrafted raw chocolate
    Fabe’s chocolate layer cake (out of this world; you won’t believe how delicious it is); and their chocolate cookes (somehow, the Double Chocolate don’t taste as good to me as the regular chocolate; the texture is weird)
    Sunspire Chocolate Chips (for baking or just snacking); these are “grain sweetened,” and I don’t know what that means, exactly, but they don’t seem to cause me problems.
    Some of Nana’s cookies

    thanks a lot

    • I just tried a chocolate the other day that was sweetened with stevia. I bought it at New Leaf. It was pretty good. Do Sunspire chips have dairy?

      Fabe’s are little hard to find around here. I’ve tried one of their cupcakes at Chuck E Cheese. It also has dairy so I had to be careful. It was pretty good.

      Thanks for sharing. I will look for the stevia chocolate and update you.

      Kim Rice

  4. Thanks, Kim.

    I did my Sunspire research and found out that there’s only a “trace of milk” due to shared equipment. I guess that legally, they have to say that in case someone has such a severe allergy to dairy that that could make the difference. HOWEVER, there is malted barley and corn, which raised the question about whether one can be sure it’s non-GMO corn–not likely, is my guess. And there’s also soy lecithin, which may not be good for some people.

    Thanks for looking for the stevia chocolate. We don’t have New Leaf stores where we live, but Whole Foods or Sprouts might carry whatever it is.

    Blessings to you.

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