Canteen Elf Holiday Gift Guide

Little Phoebe, The Canteen Holiday Elf

Phoebe, the GF Canteen Elf presents the presents

Now and again everyone needs a nudge toward some gift ideas. I know I do. All year long I find things that I am sure others will enjoy and when it comes time to shop for the holidays my mind goes blank. So I look for inspiration from other people’s lists. Think books, gift cards, a little charity and chocolate.

A Few Favorite Baking Books

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread  – All of Nicole’s books should be on everyone’s gluten-free bookshelf. But this bread book is probably one of those that might spend more time in the kitchen than on a shelf. I have made lots of recipes from both her blog and books and have never ever been disappointed. In fact, Nilla Wafers is the cookie that made me smitten and from there the rest is history. I’ve never told anyone that I made the recipe about half a dozen times in a row because someone (me) kept eating them.  But this bread book is going to change the face of gluten-free scratch baked bread. That’s a promise. The book is best for anyone who loves homemade bread and is willing to put the spatula to work to learn some techniques that will turn out bread that will remind you of the stuff we used to get from the artisan bakeries. Lucky for us we have Nicole to give us our daily bread. What? You need more? There’s pizza crust, bagels, naan, crusty breads, soft breads, and more.  Click here to buy the best ever gluten-free bread book gift for yourself or someone you really like.

Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays: 60 Recipes for Traditional Festive Treats –  Jeanne Sauvage is the author of a blog called The Art of Gluten-Free Baking. And she makes it an art by making sure her readers understand the underpinnings of why a recipe works the way it does. In my early gluten-free baking days, I learned a lot from Jeanne. I was happy when her book came out because I love a holiday baking book. There was no doubt that every recipe in the book would be a winner and something you could bake without a single worry about how it would come out. And the best part? The results are truly delicious. I always wanted to know how to make those special holiday cookies, like Pizzelles and Springerles. It’s a beautifully photographed book, too and makes a fantastic gift to anyone on your gift list who is gluten-free and enjoys holiday baking. Click here to buy this fabulous holiday baking book.

Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle – This book, by Food Network Cupcake War multi-champion, Kyra Bussanich is like having the opportunity to step into her bakery and have yourself a very tasty treat right in your own kitchen. For those of us not living in Portland, Oregon, this is our way of pretending we visited Kyra’s Bakeshop. And if you are ever in Portland, make that one of your destinations because every single item is swoon-worthy. Kyra didn’t win Cupcake Wars just because she’s the sweetest person on the planet. No sir. She won because she bakes like a warrior on a mission to make the very tastiest cupcake in the universe. And if you can’t muster up the energy to bake from scratch, Kyra also offers some of her most popular cupcakes in box-mixes which are awesome (I’ve tried them). Oh, and they ship. If you want bakery cupcakes, or other treats, give them a call and visit Krya’s Bakeshop webpage. In the meantime, get this book for someone on your list and make a new best friend. Click here to get the book, and here to visit Kyra’s Bake Shop and buy some goodies or cake mixes.

Fun Kitchen Stuff

Product DetailsEveryone needs a shiny kitchen scale. Heck – all my recipes are better done when using weights because that’s how I develop them. The volume measures are there but because of the finicky way GF flours are milled and packaged, nothing ever looks the same cup to cup. But weighing takes most of the guess-work out of the game. Also, it’s just kind of nerdy fun to toss things in a bowl and see what they weigh (yes – I spend way too much time in the kitchen). But the best part of using a scale once you are used to it is that there is so much less stuff to clean up. You’ve probably noticed (I hope) that many of our recipes and more frequent ones try to use one bowl for everything and at the most two bowls. I’m trying to save you kitchen clean up. Everyone wants a cookie but no one wants to wash 18 different dishes to get there. So get the scale, already. Or give it to someone you really care about. And get them a very cool color. Click here for a cool Escali scale.

 The Gift Cards

For your favorite baking friend (even if it’s yourself) why not get them a gift card to a shop in a place they might not ordinarily frequent? There’s the ever fun but overpriced Williams Sonoma, Sur la Table, and even Amazon.  How about a place like King Arthur where you can find some really fun stuff or even a restaurant supply place where you can find everything from parchment paper to tiny offset spatulas for a song? Here’s a list of some of our favorite places.

Williams Sonoma

Sur La Table

King Arthur Flour




 Helping Others Eat

Or do something similar to what we are doing this year. Instead of sending cards or buying gifts for most people on our usual list of suspects we are donating to Feeding America which funds our local food bank and more. With so many federal and local cut-backs, and people still not back to work, it is a dismal holiday season if you don’t even have food to eat. It’s amazing what a few dollars does to make a difference.

Feeding America


Goodies that might be sort of Chocolate

Got someone on your list who loves chocolate (raising hand)?  You might consider getting them a stash for eating and baking from these places. And winter is a perfect time to ship – no warm weather shipping rates and your stuff should arrive in perfect shape.

Chocoley is the place to get Bada Bing enrobing chocolate. The stuff is what I used to coat the peppermint bark cookies and ring dings. It is almost flawless and totally gluten-free. Chocoley sometimes has a sale, but not often. However they do have the best customer service in the universe.

Chocosphere is where you go to get awesome chocolate from everywhere on the planet. I have a lot of trouble keeping the order to something under what might be a mortgage payment because they have so much stuff. It’s a great place to buy volume chocolate chips or just special chocolate.

No one would be unhappy getting a treat from Mr. Chocolate. To say that Jacques Torres is a really nice guy is an understatement. His chocolate is worth going out of your way to find.

Also, if anyone on your list is a crazy chocolate person, then Tcho chocolate is what you want. It is unmatched. Really. We have been eating little squares so slowly it is almost painful, but we want to make them last.

And you know what else goes with chocolate? Nosh. Nosh on This. Might ring a bell or two, right? I am gifting the book to some of my favorite people this season. Think mallomars, brownies, chocolate cookies, cakes, and my favorite, sachertorte where chocolate-chocolate might be an understatement.

Merry holidays!




  1. Love the elf!

  2. Peter Robe says:

    As of Nov 9, Kyra Bussanich is now a THREE-time winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars! And still the only gluten-free winner ever.

    Her book, “Sweet Cravings”, has great, delicious, creative treats, many of them really easy to make (thank goodness for me).

    And I found a fun, short video intro to her book at

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi, Peter. It is a great book – I absolutely agree. And the video is a nice book and bake shop intro. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hey! Thanks, friend, for the lovely words about my book. Not for nothing, but Nosh on This should have gotten a cover photo in the gift guide! And I’m so happy for those great sources for quality gluten free chocolate. It can be astonishingly hard to find!

    xo Nicole