At first glance it seems all desserts worthy of indulgence are coated in, laced with, and built from gluten. Many of us feel lost when considering gluten-free treats because we’re so accustomed to baking with wheat flour. From gingerbread cookies and fruit tarts, to yule logs and chocolate peppermint brownies – are there any gluten-free options available? Take heart, dear reader, there are plenty of gluten-free dessert options…like these chocolate chunks from Chef Nicole Spiridakis’ newest cookbook, Flourless. Stuffed with pistachios, cranberries and walnuts, these perfect holiday treats are free of wheat, and full of melt-in-your-mouth, silky, heavenly bliss.

It’s difficult to resist semisweet chocolate melted and poured over chopped nuts and dried cranberries. A little chewy from the fruit and a bit crunchy from the nuts, these chocolate chunks are one of Nicole’s most favorite homemade candies to date. Similar to the other recipes of Flourless, Nicole finds the balance between decadent and dietary. Her recipes bypass complicated alternate flour mixes and hard-to-find “gums,” making it easy for anyone to whip up a gluten-free dessert. With creamy puddings infused with warm spices, cloudlike meringue cookies, dark chocolate brownies, and fruit crisps and crumbles, Flourless turns dietary restrictions into something scrumptious! Throw this recipe into your arsenal for a dessert all your holiday guests will enjoy, whether they’re gluten-free or not.

Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts
makes about 40 one-inch cubes


2/3 cup shelled pistachios, salted or unsalted
2/3 cup walnuts
1¼ lb good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped


Heat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Lightly brush the foil with vegetable oil then set aside. Spread the pistachios and walnuts out on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast the nuts until they are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the nuts cool completely, then turn out onto a cutting board and coarsely chop.

In the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth.

When the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the chopped fruit and nuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a rubber spatula. Place the pan in the refrigerator and chill until the chocolate is firm, but not rock hard, about 1 hour (if it gets rock hard, the chocolate will shatter when cut).

Let the chocolate warm up very slightly at room temperature before cutting, if necessary. Using the foil overhang, lift the chilled chocolate mixture from the pan and place it on a cutting board.

Remove the foil and cut the chocolate into 1-inch pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Text copyright © 2014 by Nicole Spiridakis. Photographs copyright © 2014 by John Lee.

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