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I need a great forkless dessert...maybe dairy-free?

I'm going to a gals-only potluck and the instructions are to bring something that doesn't require utensils...a wine and noshing sort of thing. We can bring sweet or savory and the last time we did this, it was heavy on the savory so I want to bring something sweet and decadent.

My thoughts are cookies, bar cookies or cupcakes...and I'm a chocoholic so I lean towards that though I'm open to a non-chocolate recipe too. However...there's one person who can't have dairy. So if I can find a recipe to accommodate her, I would love that - she usually just skips dessert but it would be nice for her not to have to.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Amaretto laced brownies. Just let amaretto be your liquid. If your friend cannot have chocolate, you can always make blonde brownies. The amaretto adds an amazing flavor.

    1. I have a recipe for chocolate truffle cookies that gets raves every time I make it - the dough is nearly flourless, so they cook up into these moist little candy-like bites of heaven. There is a ton of butter in it, though, and I don't know how well it would work with shortening, so it's not dairy-free. I can still post if you're interested though!

      Little fruit tarts would be nice and dairy-free if you make the crust with shortening...

      9 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima

        Yes please! I eat low carb, so flourless or close always gets my attention. As done anything involving chocolate and the word "truffles." :-)

        To the OP; another possibility is bite sized tartlets made in a mini muffin pan or with premade filo shells from the freezer section.

        1. re: mcf

          I will post as soon as I get home! mcf, I am a low-carber as well - these are definitely NOT low-carb as written, but you could probably sub unsweetened chocolate plus AS for the vast amounts of bittersweet that are called for and make them reasonably LC!

          1. re: biondanonima

            I don't use unsweetened, but I do use 85% dark, and a bit of xylitol mixed with liquid sucralose to cut the AS taste. Can't wait.

            To the OP: miniature cheesecakes are easy, too. Put a ginger snap in the bottom of each buttered or non stick cup of a muffin tin of any size, pour in cheesecake filling. Drizzle some melted bittersweet chocolate on top, or plop on some blueberies or a strawberry.

            1. re: biondanonima

              Oh please do post! Though I may not make it for this, would love to have that recipe!

              1. re: 16crab

                Here you go: Chocolate Truffle Cookies

                4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
                12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped semisweet/bittersweet chocolate), divided
                1/3 c. butter
                3 eggs
                1 c. sugar
                1 1/2 t. vanilla
                1/2 c. flour
                2 T. cocoa powder
                1/4 t. baking powder
                1/4 t. salt

                Melt unsweetened chocolate, butter and 1 c. of chocolate chips, mix well to combine and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Beat the sugar and eggs together until the sugar is dissolved; add vanilla and melted chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder and beat into liquid mixture (this can be done by hand or with the mixer - dough should be fairly stiff). Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Chill dough for at least 3 hours. Roll cold dough into 1 inch balls. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and lightly set (do not overbake - they are better when they're fudgy!). Allow to cool on pan 3-4 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

                I think coconut flour or almond meal would make a good LC sub for the flour in this recipe. These aren't too sweet as written, but I think you could cut the amount of sugar by maybe 1/3 if you like a REALLY dark chocolate flavor. mcf, if you come up with a good LC version, please post your method!!!!

                1. re: biondanonima

                  I would substitute white carbalose flour. Thanks!

                  1. re: mcf

                    mcf, what exactly is carbalose flour? I've never seen it or heard of it!

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I don't see it on that page, but I have a bag (from netrition.com) of white carbalose flour without the bake mix additives. http://www26.netrition.com/tova_carba...

                        You have to make adjustments to liquids or it can dry stuff out; going by batter texture helps.

        2. You can have skewers of fresh pineapple/mango/strawberries and then have a fondue set ready for those bad boys to dip in some warm melting chocolate goodness..

          1 Reply
          1. re: Beach Chick

            That's sorta what I was thinking... grill some pineapple, melon, or stone fruits and skewer it up. You could throw in a savory twist, too, by adding some crisped bacon or pancetta in between the fruits. Or, speaking of bacon, you could do chocolate-dipped bacon or potato chips... that would get people talking, I think.

          2. Chocolate-covered grapes. You'll want to keep them chilled if possible. They're awesome - you think it'll be a heavy truffle, but it bursts in your mouth with freshness. They're so addictive and fun! http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

            1. I also thought of chocolate-dipped fruit, as well as strawberries and fresh whipped cream. My other thoughts I had were bite-sized carmel corn balls, baklava, or small ice cream sandwiches (made in between homemade cookies of course). Bite-sized fruit tarts or cupcakes also come to mind.

              1. it's really sweet of you to consider the one person who can't have dairy. how about macarons with a dairy-free ganache or fruit filling? or vegan whoopie pies?

                2 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Great calls.

                  But am I missing something? Aren't brownies vegan (w out egg) & dairy free? I'd do brownie bites.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    brownies were already suggested - i was trying to offer other ideas. and yes, they're dairy free if made with oil or shortening instead of butter, and cocoa powder or dairy-free chocolate. dairy-free whoopie pie filling just happens to be vegan, but for the OP's purposes the cake part can contain eggs.

                2. Churros w. melted chocolate on the side, for the dairy free person!

                    1. I have to make "Soft Apple Cakes" tomorrow, one of Dorie Greenspan's recipes. If you like I can post the recipe for you, let me know; they're small cakes made in muffin cups with chunks of apple and rum soaked raisins.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lilgi

                        Apologies here, (eggs and butter lilgi?)
                        note to self: no chatting after a glass of wine and a very long day ;)

                      2. So many wonderful ideas. I would love to do the churros - there's plenty of dairy free chocolates for dipping so she could have that too. But I have to bake the night before as I'm working the day of and then will be going straight from work - a 30-60 minute drive depending on traffic. Don't know if churros would be good the next day. The grilled fruits are out for the same reason...

                        I've never made macarons before but would love to try. The non-dairy person is French too, so that would be nice. But can you do just straight-up chocolate in the middle? I would have thought a ganache would be the way to go.

                        I've found lots of great bar cookie recipes - but it pains me to sub margarine or shortening for butter. Goes against my fundamental baking beliefs!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: 16crab

                          re: macarons, that's why i suggested a dairy-free ganache. just sub coconut milk (or soy milk) for the dairy.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Yes, you did say that...chalk another one up to sleep deprivation!

                        2. another fun thought... make dairy-free marshmallows, bring dairy-free chocolate sauce and graham crackers and let people make S'Mores :) or is this too messy... no fork necessary..

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Emme

                            I'm actually leaning towards a s'mores bar - after much research, this one perhaps, subbing margarine for the butter and using a dark chocolate http://bakingbites.com/2007/08/smore-...
                            I saw a s'mores kit in the grocery store, and after a chuckle over why anyone would need a kit, thought this would be a fun, summery dessert. Have no idea if there's going to be a BBQ (I think not) for making actual s'mores. Plus if I'm baking for others I like to do a double batch and have the hubby and kids as the taste testers before the fact, and hubby won't touch gelatin. Oddly, marshmallow creme is gelatin- and dairy-free. So that's what I'm leaning towards at the moment. If anyone has made a s'mores bar, weigh in on advice. I'm thinking you can't really go wrong with this combo of ingredients.

                          2. The current popsicle and jello threads might interest you. One of the jellos, Sea Glass cubes, is very beautiful and firm enough to be served on a platter and eaten out of hand. It calls for sweetened condensed milk but a poster suggested coconut cream as a substitute.

                            1. These Oatmeal Pecan cookies are really good, and no one would ever guess they are vegan! Here is the recipe. You can use chocolate chips, or not. I liked them both ways.

                              1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
                              1 ¼ cup rolled oats (old fashioned, not quick)
                              3/4 teaspoon baking powder
                              1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                              Scant ½ teaspoon salt
                              1 teaspoon cinnamon
                              1/4 cup chopped pecans (or substitute macadamias or walnuts), toasted
                              1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
                              ½ cup brown sugar
                              1/4 cup maple syrup
                              2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
                              1 teaspoon vanilla
                              1/4 cup organic canola oil
                              ¼ cup dark chocolate chips, optional

                              Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together the flax and water, and heat in a microwave for 1 minute, or simmer for a minute on the stove. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and nuts in a bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together flax mixture, brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, and oil. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in the optional chocolate chips. Drop by the tablespoon on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the cookie sheet while still warm and place on a rack or a plate to cool.

                              1. Cream puffs! They're not that hard to make (although a little time-consuming) and they're so festive.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: piccola

                                  dairy-free cream puffs are a little trickier than the standard, though.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    True. I never use cream as the filling, so it didn't occur to me.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        All sorts of weird stuff. Sometimes whipped peanut butter sweetened with honey, sometimes tofu chocolate "mousse," sometimes canned pumpkin purée mixed with maple syrup and cinnamon. Basically, anything that works as cake frosting or filling works in a cream puff.

                                        1. re: piccola

                                          works for me! now if you could please make the puffs gluten-free, i'll take mine filled with PB & ganache ;)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            That's tricky, isn't it? I'm a little terrified of g-f baking.

                                            1. re: piccola

                                              the prospect is more terrifying than the reality, particularly for someone like you who already possesses solid baking skills. the right blend of rice flour & tapioca or potato starch makes a shockingly good GF pâte à choux...but GF *and* dairy-free is a pain in the ass ;)

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Combining any two food restrictions just ups the difficulty level by a thousand, IMO. But now I'm curious about g-f baking... Gonna do a search on the home cooking board.

                                  2. re: piccola

                                    So you don't use butter in your pate a choux?

                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      No, I'm not very authentic that way. I've been using coconut oil for almost all my baking these days.

                                  3. There's a great, dairy-free, very chocolaty cookie recipe I love that Chowhound poster Danna shared: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6519...