Fun, Festive And Gluten-free By Nicola Bridges

Fun, Festive And Gluten-free By Nicola Bridges

Having gluten-free family members and friends can cause a tasty-treats conundrum during the holidays. The number of people eliminating gluten from their diet has tripled since 2009, according to a 2017 Forbes report. Some 3.1 million people in the United States follow a gluten-free diet, many of whom do so due to celiac autoimmune disease. But more than 72% are classified as PWAGs, "people without celiac avoiding gluten." Don't fret, though, because the number of delicious gluten-free eats has just about tripled, too! We sampled gluten-free goodies -- from cookies and cupcakes, to bonbons, crumbles and nuts -- to bring you our favorite sweet treats. Each recipe is great for entertaining, a delightful party favor or a gourmet gift.

Monica's Gourmet Cookies, started in 1991, makes classic chocolate chip cookies with all-purpose gluten-free flour. These rich, mouthwatering treats are "soft and chewy, the way it should be!" One dozen costs $34.25.

The vegan, plant-based brand CompletEats offers individually wrapped superfood cookies in a variety of flavors including Cherry Almond and limited edition Peppermint Cacao Chip. They pair perfectly with eggnog and other festive drinks and make great superfood stocking stuffers. A 12-pack costs $26.99.

Baked by Melissa's signature bite-size treats now include OMGF Cupcakes -- "Oh, my gluten-free!" in six flavors: Triple Chocolate Crunch (made with quinoa chocolate brittle), Caramel (filled with gooey dulce de leche), Red Velvet, Cinnamon, Birthday Cake and Tie-Dye. You can buy these beauties a few at a time or in bulk, making them perfect for holiday parties. Boxes range from 25 at $42 to 100 for $168.

You don't have to be a pro in the kitchen to serve an awesomely delicious chocolate cake. Fake your own festive baking with the Whisk Takers Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake Baking Kit for "gourmet dummies." This rich, nutty chocolate cake is "delivered to your door with pre-measured ingredients and step-by-step instructions." It goes wonderfully with a dollop of rum cream and a glass (or two!) of eggnog. The kit also makes a great do-it-yourself gift. It costs $22.99 to $24.99.

Who doesn't love crumb cake? The Clarkson Avenue Crumb Cake Co. classic Brooklyn-style crumb cake is delicious with Kahlua, Bailey's, a whiskey-spiked coffee or a hot toddy on a cold day. And a little goes a long way: It's dense, delicious and oh-so-crumby. One cake is $30.

Dark chocolate is the healthiest chocolate, especially when it contains 75% or more. Compartes gluten-free, vegan, organic, paleo, refined sugar-free dark chocolate bars come in decadent flavors including Detox (turmeric, ginger, lemon) and Healing (matcha green tea, raspberry, reishi). They're great stocking stuffers to help GF chocoholics soothe themselves during the stress of the holidays. Each bar costs $9.95.

We're nuts for the subtly sweet, crunchy, cocoa-coated Chocolate Almonds made by Sante, a woman-owned family business in Silicon Valley. They're great as snacks, served with drinks, chopped in a savory stuffing, as a green bean casserole garnish or on a holiday cranberry-orange salad. A 5-ounce gusset bag costs $5.

There's nothing like a cup of hot chocolate to lift your spirit on a dark, chilly winter evening. The pure richness of the creamy MarieBelle's White Chocolate & Vanilla Hot Chocolate is a flavor sensation that warms you to your toes with every sip. One tin costs $15.

The Bixby & Co. Winter Bonbon Collection is full of spectacular holiday flavors. Each of these rich bonbons made in Maine are the height of chocolate decadence to serve as after-dinner delights. Sizes range from a six-piece box for $16 to a 12-piece for $32.

SubarzSweets cookies combine the crunch of mandelbread and biscotti with sweet cookie flavors. The texture of these cookie barz tantalizes the taste buds, making it hard to just eat one. Our festive pick? White Chocolate Raspberry. Buy three bars for $8 or a two-dozen sampler box for $45.

It's said one of the main ingredients in Italian cooking is love -- amore -- and the irresistible handmade Italian cookies from Cookies Con Amore prove it. They come in a variety of shapes and flavors and literally melt in your mouth. A 1-pound assortment box costs $19.

Take it from us: Gluten-free does not mean bland, boring and un-festive. Offer -- and indulge in -- any of these memorable treats that are sure to please many crowds and complete any celebration.