The search for a good gluten-free dessert is a long-game challenge—and a daunting one at that. After all, it takes an especially accomplished baker to master a flourless dessert that actually tastes good, and finding them can be few and far in between. So if your love of sweets has been squashed by slices of underwhelming, too-dense gluten-free cake, we feel your pain.
But hopefully, after reading this, your search for a delicious gluten-free dessert will finally be over: We asked six local foodies to dish on their favorite, no-fail, gluten-free dessert spots in the city. Now all you’ve got to do is read up, wipe your drool and put eating these desserts on your to-do list. Bon appétit!
“Kiffles are a Hungarian dessert, similar to Jewish-style rugelach, but lighter—almost flaky. It can be tough to get that kind of texture from gluten-free flour, but the Happy Mixer nails it with their buttery fruit-filled kiffles. I’m partial to the raspberry ones, but they’re all sinful. I don’t want to know how many calories each one is, but whatever it is, it’s totally worth the splurge.”
“The best gluten-free dessert I’ve ever had in Philly is the Magic Bar from the Sweet Freedom Bakery, Philadelphia’s first and only completely gluten-free, vegan and allergy-friendly bakery. Chocolate, coconut and sea salt are my favorite sweet and savory combination. Plus, I prefer healthy desserts, and all of the ingredients in the Magic Bars—brown rice flour, chocolate chips, coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut, vanilla and sea salt—are very clean. Having the availability of a gluten-free bakery in the heart of Philly is such a great convenience for people like me who suffer from celiac disease. The ability to safely satisfy a gluten-free sweet tooth and eat baked goods without fear is not something that we take lightly!”
“Although she works flour-laden wonders for the morning danish lineup at High Street on Market, this caramelized flan at the Rittenhouse bistro is the best sweet dish I’ve ever tried from pastry chef Samantha Kincaid. An almond crumble and candied violets add crunch and texture to the silky smooth pudding of goat’s milk, and just-picked johnny jump ups and redbuds stud the maple syrup topping like colorful jewels. Kincaid confirmed that the dessert was free of gluten so I could share with my very celiac-sensitive mother-in-law without worry.”
“I love this dessert because the yogurt is rBGH-free (an artificial hormone often injected into cows), has probiotics, and is more tart than sweet. And with the chocolate shavings, it has a nice, smooth and crunchy texture. Also, if I’m craving it, it means it’s finally warm outside! They also have other gluten-free syrups and toppings—my husband loves the sweet almond with meringues, which is also gluten-free—but I always stick with my classic. And apparently, they now deliver! Which I wish I did not know.”
“These soft chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies are filled with vanilla icing and, in the fall, they have a pumpkin cookie option. They are a sweet, satisfying, delightful dessert that remind me of Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies that I used to eat when I was kid—what a treat for those on a gluten-free diet.”
“Sazon has a few other delectable chocolatey offerings, including a churro with chocolate sauce that I took home to my partner. But I’m a sucker for a sweet, creamy, caramelly flan. I love that Sazon is so savvy about taking care of its customers with celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and it’s a great place to spend time with friends, eating interesting foods—not always the case when you have to eat gluten-free.”
Also in this series:
The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Philly: Vegan Edition
Like what you’re reading? Experience Be Well Philly live at Be Well Philly Boot Camp fitness fest on June 7th!