Easy dinner recipes: Three sweet gluten-free dessert ideas

Carrot cake, cookies and more recipe ideas for gluten-free Wednesday

It's gluten-free Wednesday. Keep it sweet with carrot cake, rice pudding and wedding cookie ideas.

Carrot cake with ginger frosting: You'll never miss the gluten in this rich and flavorful carrot cake from Gluten-Free Girl, a.k.a. Shauna James Ahern.

Ground rice pudding: This creamy pudding is flavored with aromatic orange flower water and almond oil and comes together in only 35 minutes.

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Wedding cookies: One bite of this perfectly crumbly classic and you'd never guess it's gluten-free. Go ahead and plan to bake two batches -- they go that quickly. You can find the recipe below.

GLUTEN-FREE WEDDING CAKES

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes, plus cooling time for the cookies | Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies

Note: Adapted from Lida Frankel. Xanthan gum is available at health food stores, select well-stocked markets, and cooking and baking supply stores. To make gluten-free flour, combine 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup sweet rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch and 1/3 cup tapioca flour or starch (this makes about 2 cups flour, more than is needed for the recipe; the gluten-free flour will keep, tightly covered in a cool, dry place, up to 1 month).

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for rolling

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup raw, unsalted pecans or walnuts, finely chopped

1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour (see note above)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla and nuts to combine.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, xantham gum and salt. Add this to the butter mixture and beat just until incorporated and a dough is formed.

4. Scoop about 1 teaspoon of dough and roll into a small ball. Place the dough on a prepared cookie sheet, and repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake the cookies until set and a light golden-brown on the bottom, 30 to 35 minutes. Set the cookies aside to rest for 5 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar to coat completely. Once they are cooled, roll the cookies again in sugar to cover.

6. The cookies are best made one day in advance.

Each of 42 cookies: 82 calories; 1 gram protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 6 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 12 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 26 mg sodium.

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