Gluten-Free Classic Snacks

100 Recipes for the Brand-Name Treats You Love


By Nicole Hunn

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You can have your Tastykake(R)—and eat it, too!

Did you think going gluten-free meant giving up your favorite snack foods? Well not anymore! Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring helps you bring back the memories of those classic snacks, whether it’s a little surprise in a lunchbox or a treat at the end of the day. Make all the most popular cookies, snack cakes, and crackers you’ve been missing—from Thin Mints(R) Girl Scout Cookies(R) and Hostess(R) Twinkies(R) to Keebler(R) Club(R) Crackers and Kellogg’s(R) Pop-Tarts(R) Toaster Pastries—in your own kitchen with ease.

With 100 recipes for everything from cookies, brownies, snack cakes, and pies to buttery crackers, cheese crackers, pretzel rods, candy bars, and licorice—along with helpful tips and tricks for easy prep, extensive information on ingredients and substitutions, and basic recipes for homemade flour blends—Gluten-Free Classic Snacks will help you to bring back all the flavors and fun or the treats you remember.



The Basics

Ingredients and Substitutions


Many of the recipe ingredients in this book are the basic ones you will find in any baking book: butter, sugars, eggs, pure vanilla extract, baking soda, baking powder, salt, milk, and the like. However, some of the ingredients can benefit from additional explanations and details, and of course flour is its own particular concern for us, so we discuss that first. You’ll also find more info on special ingredients after the flour discussion.


Because this is a “special diet” baking book, I know that you may have questions about other allergens and ingredient substitutions. Please note that, unless I specifically state otherwise, I have not tested all of these recipes with the suggested substitutions. I provide these substitution suggestions based upon my extensive baking and recipe development experience. I hope they will guide you in your own experimentation if you need to make substitutions to suit your and your family’s additional dietary needs. If you can’t eat gluten, or need or want to eat gluten-free for any reason, every single recipe in this book will work for you when made as written. If you also have to avoid other ingredients among those in the recipes in this book, I offer you the information on pages 8–18, with love, in the hopes that your road will be made easier.

Gluten-Free Flour Blends and Components

In gluten-free baking, perhaps no issue is more important than what blend of individual gluten-free flours to use in a particular recipe, so we begin our ingredients discussion here. Because no individual gluten-free flour on its own has all the qualities of an all-purpose gluten-free flour, we must use a blend of component flours in recipes that call for an all-purpose flour. After extensive testing of commercially available, ready-made gluten-free flour blends, there are a couple that I can recommend for use in my recipes. I discuss those blends on page 3. If you must or simply prefer to blend your own all-purpose gluten-free flour, see pages 3–8, where I discuss all the potential component flours and elements, and provide recipes for the homemade flour blends that I have created and can recommend. In that section, I also list the other very simple flour blends that are necessary for some of the recipes in this book, such as a basic three-ingredient gum-free flour blend, a gluten-free cake flour, a whole-grain blend, and a bread flour blend that is used only for one recipe (Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzel Rods, page 205).

If you have been baking gluten-free for some time, you have likely encountered this sort of information and are already comfortable with it. If not, this discussion may seem overwhelming, but please read it through slowly and carefully, and you’ll soon find that it is mostly about providing you with options. If you want to begin simply, and in the most cost-effective way, simply purchase Better Batter Gluten Free Flour (at or in retail locations where available), and use it as your all-purpose gluten-free flour.


BETTER BATTER AND CUP4CUP: After extensive testing of many of the all-purpose gluten-free flours available on the market, I have two favorite brands: Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix and Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour. Cup4Cup really works best as a pastry flour or a cake flour, as it is quite high in starch. For absolute best results for the recipes in this book, I don’t recommend using it when an “all-purpose gluten-free flour” is called for, but if you do use it, the recipes will still turn out. The two homemade all-purpose gluten-free flour blend recipes that follow are the Mock Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (page 7), which approximates the results achieved with Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, and the Better Than Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour, which corrects what I think is the starch imbalance in the Cup4Cup flour. Either of those blends can be used successfully in any recipe in this book that calls for an all-purpose gluten-free flour.

USING CUP4CUP AS CAKE FLOUR: If you do decide to use Cup4Cup in any recipe in this book as an “all-purpose gluten-free flour,” and that recipe also calls for cornstarch, please just use more Cup4Cup, gram for gram, in place of the cornstarch. Therefore, if a recipe calls for 100 grams of all-purpose gluten-free flour and 10 grams of cornstarch, and you are using Cup4Cup as the all-purpose gluten-free flour, use 110 grams of Cup4Cup instead. Likewise, if a recipe calls for “gluten-free cake flour” and you wish to use Cup4Cup, please do not add cornstarch to the blend to create cake flour. Therefore, if a recipe calls for 100 grams of gluten-free cake flour, rather than building a gluten-free cake flour as described on page 8, just use 100 grams of Cup4Cup in place of the gluten-free cake flour.

Note: I must also caution against buying any component flours from Asian food stores, as they are often contaminated with gluten-containing grains both before reaching the store and in the store itself and may contain other additives.


GENERAL GUIDELINES: When creating your own homemade, gluten-free flour blend, you will need a simple digital kitchen scale (discussed in “Kitchen Tools and Equipment,” page 20), as volume measurements are notoriously inaccurate. As discussed earlier, there is no single gluten-free flour that can serve on its own as an all-purpose gluten-free flour. In gluten-free baking, recipes developed for use with an all-purpose flour require a blend of flours to achieve the proper result. Either my Mock Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour or my Better Than Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour recipe will work well in any recipe in this book that calls for an “all-purpose gluten-free flour.”

For additional information on homemade gluten-free flour blends, please see this page on my website:

XANTHAN GUM: When a recipe calls for an “all-purpose gluten-free flour,” the flour blend will already contain a specific amount of xanthan gum. (In gluten-free baking, xanthan gum helps to give batter and dough elasticity and thickness.) When a recipe calls specifically for the Basic Gum-Free Gluten-Free Flour blend, however, you’ll be adding xanthan gum separately—an amount lower than would be in an all-purpose blend. Only the specific amount of xanthan gum indicated as a separate ingredient in such a recipe is appropriate. Use of an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend that already contains more xanthan gum will lead to a poor result.

MAKING MULTIPLES: All the flour blend recipes that follow can be multiplied by as many factors as you like. I typically make at least 10 cups at a time by just multiplying every ingredient by 10, placing all the ingredients in a large, airtight, lidded container, and whisking well. For an online calculator that does the math for you, please see the Flour Blends page on my website:

Each blend is as shelf-stable as each component flour is individually. Please remember that to build an all-purpose gluten-free flour successfully, you must use a digital kitchen scale (see page 20).

RICE FLOURS: When you’re building a gluten-free flour blend, you must use superfine rice flours, as all other rice flours will have a gritty texture. You may not detect the grittiness of other rice flours, as some people don’t, but almost everyone else will, and they will not enjoy your baked goods. They will then likely think poorly of gluten-free baked goods in general. We can’t have that! The only source I know of for truly superfine rice flours is Authentic Foods. Authentic Foods superfine brown rice flour and superfine white rice flour are sold online at and and also in some select brick-and-mortar stores.

POTATO FLOUR: Potato flour is made from whole potatoes that are dried and then ground into flour. It is very useful in gluten-free baking as it helps to hold baked goods together. I do not have a preference for one brand of potato flour over another. I have purchased it from, Authentic Foods, and Bob’s Red Mill, all with similar results.

POTATO STARCH: Potato starch is made from dehydrated potatoes that have been peeled. It adds lightness to baked goods. It is a very different ingredient from potato flour. I do not have a preference for one brand of potato starch over another. I have purchased it from, Authentic Foods, and Bob’s Red Mill, all with similar results.

TAPIOCA STARCH/FLOUR: Tapioca starch is the same thing as tapioca flour. It is very useful as it provides elasticity to gluten-free baked goods. I recommend purchasing it from either or Authentic Foods, companies that make a consistent-quality product. Bob’s Red Mill brand tapioca starch/flour is of very inconsistent quality, as are many other brands.

PURE POWDERED FRUIT PECTIN: The powdered pectin you use must be only pure pectin, which contains no other additives (such as glucose and other sugars). I buy pectin directly from Pomona Pectin ( The pectin comes with a calcium packet; note that for the Mock Better Batter flour blend, you use only the pectin itself, not the calcium packet.

SWEET WHITE SORGHUM FLOUR: This flour is high in protein and imparts a heavier, more wheat-like texture to gluten-free baked goods. I do not have a preference for one brand of sweet white sorghum flour over another. I have purchased it from, Authentic Foods, and Bob’s Red Mill, all with similar results.

TEFF FLOUR: Teff flour is ground from whole-grain teff (a cereal grain unrelated to wheat). It is high in protein and fiber and imparts a slightly nutty taste to gluten-free baked goods. I do not have a preference for one brand of teff flour over another. I have purchased it from and Bob’s Red Mill with similar results.

GLUTEN-FREE BREAD FLOUR: In my bread flour blend on page 8, I buy NOW Foods unflavored whey protein isolate (which is nearly all protein—you must use isolate, not whey powder) online. For information on where to buy Expandex modified tapioca starch (including information on how to use Ultratex 3 in place of Expandex in the bread flour), please see this page on my blog, as the best place to find it often changes:

The Homemade Flour Blends

Remember, when building a homemade flour blend, you will achieve significantly better results when you use a simple digital kitchen scale (see page 20). I can’t stress that fact enough!

1 cup (140 g) Mock Better Batter Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour

42 grams (about ¼ cup) superfine white rice flour (30%)

42 grams (about ¼ cup) superfine brown rice flour (30%)

21 grams (about 2⅓ tablespoons) tapioca starch/flour (15%)

21 grams (about 2⅓ teaspoons) potato starch (15%)

7 grams (about 1¾ teaspoons) potato flour (5%)

4 grams (about 2 teaspoons) xanthan gum (3%)

3 grams (about 1½ teaspoons) pure powdered fruit pectin (2%)

1 cup (140 g) Better Than Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour

42 grams (about ¼ cup) superfine white rice flour (30%)

25 grams (about 8⅓ teaspoons) cornstarch (18%)

24 grams (about 2½ tablespoons) superfine brown rice flour (17%)

21 grams (about 2⅓ tablespoons) tapioca starch/flour (15%)

21 grams (about 3⅓ tablespoons, before grinding) nonfat dry milk, ground into a finer powder (15%)

4 grams (about 1 teaspoon) potato starch (3%)

3 grams (about 1½ teaspoons) xanthan gum (2%)

1 cup (140 g) Basic Gum-Free Gluten-Free Flour

93 grams (about 9⅓ tablespoons) superfine white rice flour (66%)

32 grams (about 3½ tablespoons) potato starch (23%)

15 grams (about 5 teaspoons) tapioca starch/flour (11%)

1 cup (140 g) Gluten-Free Cake Flour

115 grams (about 13 tablespoons) Mock Better Batter Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (or Better Batter itself) (82%)

25 grams (about 8⅓ teaspoons) cornstarch (18%)

1 cup (140 g) Whole-Grain Gluten-Free Flour

105 grams (about 11½ tablespoons) sweet white sorghum flour (75%)

35 grams (about ¼ cup) teff flour (25%)

1 cup (140 g) Gluten-Free Bread Flour

100 grams (about 11½ tablespoons) Mock Better Batter Gluten Free Flour All Purpose (or Better Batter itself) (71%)

25 grams (about 5 tablespoons) unflavored whey protein isolate (18%)

15 grams (about 5 teaspoons) Expandex modified tapioca starch (11%)

Additional Ingredients and Substitutions

ALMOND FLOUR: The finely ground almond flour from Honeyville or is my preferred almond flour. Other brands are much coarser, so they perform differently in baking and tend to lead to a gritty result. If you can’t have almonds, you can try substituting cashew flour or ground, raw shelled sunflower seeds in place of almond flour. If you grind the other flours yourself, they will be coarser than finely ground almond flour, so expect somewhat different results.

BUTTERMILK: The term buttermilk can be used to refer to the sweet liquid that is left over when cream is churned into butter. There is also “cultured” buttermilk, which is soured milk with added cultures. When you buy buttermilk in the store, it typically contains additives, such as gums and starch, which are used as thickeners. When a recipe in this book calls for buttermilk, it works best with the buttermilk that you buy at the grocery store (the kind with additives in it) because it is thicker and has a wonderful sour taste. You can also purchase and keep on hand Saco brand cultured buttermilk blend, which is a dried, powdered buttermilk. Follow the instructions on the package for how to reconstitute it. If you don’t have buttermilk, though, you can “sour” nondairy or dairy milk with an acid, such as lemon juice or a mild vinegar (in a ratio of 1 cup of milk to 1 tablespoon of acid). The result won’t be as thick or have quite the same flavor, but it will work in recipes that call for buttermilk.

CANOLA OIL: A few recipes in this book call for a small amount of canola oil. It is used because it is a neutral oil. Any other neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil, vegetable oil, or peanut oil, can be substituted in its place.

CERTIFIED GLUTEN-FREE OATS: Oats are not a gluten-containing grain, but unless they are “certified gluten-free,” they are almost always contaminated with gluten either from being grown on or adjacent to wheat fields or stored in wheat silos. I buy certified gluten-free oats at a very reasonable price at my local Trader Joe’s. The difference in varieties of oats is one of grind. From most coarse to most fine, the lineup is: oat groats, steel-cut oats, old-fashioned rolled oats, quick-cooking or instant oats, and oat flour. I don’t buy all the different types. I buy one type (old-fashioned rolled oats) and pulse it in the food processor a few times for quick-cooking oats or until fine for oat flour. You can, of course, purchase the different grinds ready-made. I have never had success substituting for oats (in any grind) with any other sort of grain in my recipes, but over the years some readers have reported some success with either quinoa flakes or even gluten-free cornflake cereal.

CHOCOLATE: My favorite brand of high-quality gluten-free dark chocolate is Scharffen Berger, and I find that the best price is typically at If you would like to do things the easiest way of all, purchase already-tempered chocolates of every type (milk, dark, and white, for dipping or molding) from (see Resources, page 295). If you cannot have chocolate, I would recommend skipping the recipes in this book that have chocolate included in the baked good and simply eliminating the chocolate glazes and other coverings and fillings from recipes that have those.

COCOA POWDER: The recipes in the book that call for “unsweetened cocoa powder” do not specify natural cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder. There is definitely a difference between the two in baking. Natural cocoa powder is naturally acidic and typically requires the addition of an alkaline ingredient, such as baking soda, to balance out the acidity. Dutch-processed cocoa powder is cocoa that is already alkalized to balance its acidity. It generally has a deeper, richer chocolate flavor, and I generally prefer it. But in the interest of accessibility (and cost savings), I developed and tested the recipes to accommodate either type of cocoa powder. Hershey’s Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder is a relatively economical blend of both natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powders and works in all the recipes in this book that call for unsweetened cocoa powder. My preferred brand of Dutch-processed cocoa powder is Rodelle. It is reliably gluten-free and I buy it at for a relatively reasonable price. There is no substitute for cocoa powder in the recipes in this book.

CORNSTARCH: Cake flour, be it gluten-free or not, is a blend of about 80 percent all-purpose flour and about 20 percent cornstarch. It makes for a lighter baked good. Some of the recipes in this book call for “gluten-free cake flour” and others call for a certain amount of “all-purpose gluten-free flour” and another amount of “cornstarch.” Please follow the recipe instructions and ingredients as written for the intended results. When a larger or smaller percentage of cornstarch is necessary, the ingredients are broken out separately. Some recipes with chocolate chips or other add-ins call for tossing the chips or other add-ins in cornstarch before adding them. This keeps the chips, or other add-ins, from sinking to the bottom of the baked good. If you can’t have corn, you can try using another starch, such as potato starch or arrowroot starch, in its place in a 1:1 ratio, by weight.

EGGS: All eggs used in the recipes in this book are measured as 50 grams total (weighed out of the shell), the standard weight for large eggs. If you are using non-standard-size eggs, go by weight. If your eggs are smaller than 50 grams per egg, out of the shell, for best results beat together more than one whole egg and measure out 50 grams. I haven’t tested any of these recipes with egg replacers. However, whenever I do work with an egg replacer, I have the most success by a mile with 1 chia “egg” (1 tablespoon of chia flour plus 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water), as that is the most neutral-flavored egg replacement that actually adds structure instead of just moisture. Applesauce only adds moisture, and eggs provide much more than moisture. Egg replacement, generally, will be more effective in recipes that call for a very small amount of eggs, and it will always require experimentation. For filling recipes that call for egg whites, I’m afraid that there is no substitute. Try one of the other fillings if you can’t have eggs.

FLAVORING OILS: For the licorice recipes in Chapter 6, LorAnn flavoring oils are essential to achieving the intended cherry or anise flavor. LorAnn’s flavoring oils are gluten-free, concentrated, and very true to the expected flavors.

GELATIN: Some of the filling recipes (see Chapter 3) and the marshmallows for the Mallomars recipe (page 65) call for powdered gelatin. I use Great Lakes unflavored gelatin, but Knox gelatin (commonly sold in 2¼-ounce packets at most grocery stores) also works perfectly well. Typically, powdered gelatin is soluble in hot water. Great Lakes also makes a cold-soluble gelatin, which does not need to be heated. It is ideal for the Stabilized Whipped Cream for Snack Cakes (page 170), as it can be used at a cool temperature, which dissolves much more easily in cold whipped cream. It is a rather specialized ingredient, however, and can be expensive. If you can use it, do so! If not, heat-soluble gelatin will work just fine. I have never worked with agar agar, which is sometimes used as a vegan substitute for powdered gelatin, but if you have experience with agar agar, give it a try!

Hostess Apple Fruit Pies, page 135

GEL FOOD COLORINGS: For the licorice recipes in Chapter 6, gel food coloring is essential to achieving the proper intense red or black color. Liquid food coloring will not color deeply enough and will unbalance the recipe by adding too much liquid. However, if you do not like to use food coloring in anything, simply leave out the color. It does not affect the authenticity of taste.

HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM: For a non-dairy substitute for heavy whipping cream, try using the solid portion of full-fat canned coconut milk (refrigerate the can for 24 hours so the solid separates).

HONEY: There are many different flavors of honey, some much deeper and more pronounced than others. My favorite honey is wildflower, which has a relatively mild flavor. However, any honey you like can be used when it is called for in these recipes. Honey may sometimes be substituted for light corn syrup and/or Lyle’s golden syrup, but it burns more easily than either of those syrups, and has a significantly more intense and recognizable flavor. So expect different results!

KOSHER SALT: I bake with kosher salt. It is considerably less concentrated than table salt, which has a significantly finer grain. It can be replaced 1:1 with lightly flaked sea salt. I find that a slightly coarse salt, such as kosher salt or lightly flaked sea salt, is much easier to use in cooking and baking than table salt, which is all too easy to accidentally overmeasure. If you would like to try substituting table salt for kosher salt in the recipes in this book, try using no more than half the volume of salt that the recipe calls for. Do not use regular sea salt, which has overly coarse grains that would not fully dissolve in your baked goods.

LIGHT CORN SYRUP: This is not the same as high-fructose corn syrup! Karo is the national brand that I have always used, and it is an “invert sugar,” which just means that it is a mixture of two sugars (glucose and fructose) and is less likely to crystallize. It is used in candy making to prevent sugar crystals from forming. It is also used to give shine to confections and coatings, and to add sweetener without adding taste. If you can’t have light corn syrup or can’t find it where you live, you can replace it in the recipes in this book with Lyle’s golden syrup (discussion follows) or with a rich simple syrup (see page 14). Pure glucose syrup (available at many kitchen supply stores) can also be used in place of light corn syrup.

LYLE’S GOLDEN SYRUP: Lyle’s is a British sugar syrup that can be found these days in most major grocery stores in the United States. It has a distinctive, slightly toasted flavor that is quite subtle but very nice. In the recipes in this book that call for Lyle’s golden syrup, if no substitute is listed in the recipe itself, you can try substituting an equal amount of Grade B maple syrup, reduced by about half in a small saucepan over low heat, or light corn syrup.

MERINGUE POWDER: Meringue powder is very useful in stabilizing buttercream frosting so that it dries stiff enough that Lofthouse Sugar Cookies (page 100) frosted with it can be stacked on top of one another without crushing the exposed frosting. LorAnn Oils brand meringue powder is gluten-free, and I have found it on and in larger craft and baking supply stores, both brick-and-mortar and online. Wilton states that its meringue powder has no gluten ingredients, but it cannot guarantee that the product is actually gluten-free. If you don’t want to use meringue powder when it is called for in a frosting recipe or in Royal Icing (page 172), try using powdered egg whites. They tend to clump, though.

MILK: Whenever a recipe calls for milk, any kind can be used successfully, except for nonfat milk. I typically use 2% or whole dairy milk, but when I am using a nondairy milk, I much prefer unsweetened almond milk. It is richer than other types of nondairy milk, such as rice milk, and tends to be the most flavor-neutral. Whatever nondairy milk you choose, it should not be nonfat and it should be unsweetened. I have not tested the recipes in this book with nondairy milk, but it is typically one of the easiest substitutes to make in baking.

MOLASSES: Molasses is a by-product of the sugar-refining process. A few kinds of molasses are produced, but the only one called for in the recipes in this book is unsulfured molasses (the other types of molasses should not be used in its place). Most molasses sold in the United States is unsulfured, so you are likely already buying it when you buy molasses. In fact, brown sugar is simply granulated sugar with some molasses mixed into it. In place of molasses, you can try using dark corn syrup in a 1:1 ratio.



  • San Francisco Book Review, 7/1/15
    “Dozens of mouth-watering full-color photos that will send readers running for the kitchen. This is a winner.”

    GFF Magazine, summer issue
    “No childhood favorites are off-limits with Gluten-Free Classic Snacks by author/blogger Nicole Hunn of Gluten-free on a Shoestring. Expect recipe riffs on Twinkies, Thin Mints, Nutter Butters, Pop Tarts and more in her ode to edible Americana.”

On Sale
Apr 7, 2015
Page Count
240 pages

Nicole Hunn

About the Author

Nicole Hunn is the author of the Gluten-Free on a Shoestring series and blog, which has been featured in the New York Times and MSN Money. Her work has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, Parents magazine, Parade magazine, and She lives in Westchester County, New York.

Learn more about this author