Food & Home


4 Gluten- and Dairy-Free Desserts That Taste Better Than the Real Thing

Photography by Aliza Sokolow

4 Gluten- and Dairy-Free Desserts That Taste Better Than the Real Thing

Coco Kislinger is the talented young chef behind Coco Bakes, a wildly popular gluten- and dairy-free baking company based out of Santa Monica. Coco developed a love of baking at a very young age, but after returning home from culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, she found her body could no longer process any of the gluten and dairy-based confections she’d just spent months learning to make. Rather than give up, she started experimenting with alternative flours, fats, and sweeteners and developed a whole new type of baking—one her body could actually digest.

While we indulge in Coco’s cookies, cakes, and breads all year long (the #goopgang is totally addicted), they’re especially fantastic during the holidays—when gluten, dairy, and sugar bombs lurk at every corner—so we asked her to share her four current-favorite recipes, everything from blondies with chocolate frosting to molasses cookies. All are simple to make with ingredients available at most grocery stores, but if you don’t have the time (or the inclination) to cook, order Coco’s fabulous baked goods on her site.

Sweet Fix

  • Molasses Cookies

    Molasses Cookies

    Insanely good and packed with holiday spice (we especially like the addition of black pepper), these molasses cookies are a new office favorite. They also happen to be the perfect ice cream sandwich cookie, if you’re so inclined. The dough needs to be made at least 12 hours in advance but can sit in the fridge for up to 3 days.


  • Spiced Vanilla Pudding

    Spiced Vanilla Pudding

    These little vanilla puddings, thickened with tapioca pearls, are subtly flavored with holiday spices and just the right amount of sweet. Coco recommends using homemade almond milk, but a good store-bought version will work very well in a pinch. Although they’re easy to put together, the almond/tapioca mixture needs to infuse overnight in the fridge so be sure to plan ahead.


  • Sweet Potato Bread

    Sweet Potato Bread

    Impossibly tender and just the right amount sweet, this quick bread makes the perfect finale to any holiday meal. It’s also excellent for breakfast the next day.


  • Blondies with Chocolate Frosting

    Blondies with Chocolate Frosting

    These decadent blondies with chocolate frosting will make everyone (even the gluten and butter-loving ones) at your table swoon. We highly recommend making a double batch of the frosting and sandwiching it between two molasses cookies.