Desserts

We Tried Gluten-Free Desserts at Princeton So You Don’t Have to

We Tried Gluten-Free Desserts at Princeton So You Don't Have to

Welcome to Tiger Town Treats (TTT), a Prospect series where we compare delicious snacks and sips from local businesses so you know where to go to satisfy your cravings and reward yourself after tough p-sets.

I have celiac disease which means I have to be gluten free. Although it is disappointing at times, I take comfort in the fact that there are still plenty of places in Princeton to satisfy my sweet tooth. For this episode of TTT, I’m reviewing gluten-free desserts at Princeton.

A disclaimer: while every company I visited marketed their products as “gluten-free”, I believe that most (if not all) of their products were not made in dedicated gluten-free kitchens. This means that gluten contamination remains a risk for these products. If you are gluten sensitive, I recommend you assess the situation for yourself at each of these locations. I had no symptoms after consuming any of these treats – but stay safe and treat yourself at your own risk.

Now let’s snack!

The following reviews are listed alphabetically, first by location, then by treat name.

Bread Boutique Gluten Free Almond Macaroons
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Bread shop

What: Almond macaroons

How much: $5

Tasting experience: The almond macaroons were fabulously delicate and delicious down to the last crumb. They were crispy and caramelized on the outside, with a compact, moist center. The taste (and scent) of sweet, toasted almond is absolutely intoxicating. I believe this treat is the most enlightened form an almond can take. Just one bite of this treat made me feel transported to a little Parisian cafe.

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Bread Boutique Gluten Free Coconut Macarons
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Bread shop

What: Coconut macaroon

How much: $5

Tasting experience: The coconut macaroons were really scrumptious, but fell apart almost instantly; there’s not much to hold them together. While I would never turn one down, they bore a striking resemblance to the toasted coconut chunks of Princeton’s dining room breakfasts. If I had the chance, I would probably choose to spend my hard-earned money on a financier.

Bread Boutique Gluten-Free Hazelnut Financiers
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Bread shop

What: Hazelnut Financier

How much: $5

Tasting experience: The hazelnut financier was nutty and fragrant with – as Paul Hollywood of “The Great British Bake Off” would say – “a superb crumb”. They were fluffy and had that melting sweetness that I attribute to a generous dose of butter and sugar. These financiers started out as a fancy hazelnut muffin.

Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Cake from Chez Alice
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Chez Alice

What: Flourless chocolate cake

How much: $8

Tasting experience: Paradise. Pure decadence. The ganache whipped topping was light and smooth while the cake itself had a wonderfully dense and moist body. The flourless chocolate cake was incredibly rich, so it was perfect to share with a friend or two. I loved the raspberry on top, and I think it would pair beautifully with even more fruit. But even without the added acidity, this cake was dangerously good.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Macaron from Chez Alice
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Chez Alice

What: Pumpkin macaroon

How much: $1.75

Tasting experience: The pumpkin macaroon was not the best macaroon I have ever eaten. Consistency wise, it was chewy and came out a bit stale. The cream filling was extremely sweet and rather soft, so it pulled away from the cookie as soon as I tried to take a bite. I will say the cream filling was nicely spiced. I found the overall experience somewhat similar to eating Brach’s Mellowcreme pumpkins (which I love). It was good, but not what I expected from a macaron.

Gluten Free Cupcake from House of Cupcakes
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: House of Cupcakes

What: SG chocolate cupcake

How much: $3.25

Tasting experience: Despite House of Cupcakes’ award-winning history, their legendary skills recognized by Food-Network may not extend to their gluten-free options. I found this cupcake typical of a gluten-free dessert. It crumbled easily and the texture was quite grainy. Frosting helps with these issues, but there was a little too much for my liking, and I found myself scraping off most of it.

Gluten-free cookie from Jammin’ Crepes
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Jammin Crepes

What: Gluten-free cookie

How much: $2.25

Tasting experience: Jammin’s cookie was dry, grainy and crumbly – all common issues with gluten free desserts. But what the cookie lacked in moisture, it made up for in fabulous flavor. With an oatmeal and fruity flavor profile, the gluten-free cookie gave me jazzy oatmeal cookie vibes. It was nicely spiced and the dark chocolate chunks set off the lighter flavors perfectly. I would love to crumble this cookie over a scoop of ice cream as a nice crispy, aromatic topping. Still, the next time I go to Jammin for something sweet, I might opt ​​for one of their amazing gluten-free Nutella pancakes.

Milk & Cookies Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Milk and cookies

What: Chocolate chip cookie

How much: $2.50

Tasting experience: This cookie was the prototype cookie you dreamed of. Beautifully simple and baked with love, this treat was sweet, hearty and comforting. Loaded with generous portions of milk chocolate, this cookie delivers perfect flavor ratios and a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth experience.

Milk & Cookies Gluten Free Monster Brownie
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Milk and cookies

What: Monster brownie

How much: $4.50

Tasting experience: This mix of cookies, brownies, chocolate chips and caramel was beyond decadent. In fact, I think that brownie was richer than the college administrators. I applaud anyone who is able to complete it in one sitting. It was a nice balance of potent flavors blended into a five inch square block. I will say it was a bit dry compared to their plain chocolate chip cookie. However, this dryness did not detract much from the tasting experience. It just felt like the brownie had been baked a day or two before, while other treats were a bit fresher.

Note: While most of these other locations only offer one or two gluten-free treats (maybe three if they’re high performers), Milk & Cookies has a plethora of fantastic GF options. All of their brownies are gluten-free, and they also have a constantly rotating menu of GF cookie flavors!

Murray Dodge Café Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Murray Dodge

What: Chocolate chip cookies

How much: Free!

Tasting experience: The chocolate chip cookies were adorably round and sturdy. They were a bit grainy (not too much, just in the “you can tell it’s gluten free” sense). They were bready and less sweet than a typical cookie, which gave them a warmer feel. My only request would be a little more chocolate (but that request probably says more about my chocoholic tendencies than the cookie flavor ratios).

Murray Dodge Café Gluten Free White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Murray Dodge

What: White chocolate chip cookies

How much: Free!

Tasting experience: The white chocolate chip cookies were phenomenal! They were sweet, soft, and crispy, but not so much that you hurt your jaw while chewing. In fact, after a satisfying crunch, they just dissolved into sugar and satisfaction in my mouth. Now, every time I pass Murray Dodge (even when I’m late to class), I just stop to see if I can grab another bite.

Sakrid Coffee Roasters Gluten Free Granola Bar
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Sakrid

What: Mighty fridge-to-table granola bar

How much: $5

Tasting experience: Sakrid’s Power Granola bar was sweet and gooey enough to distinguish between dessert and real food. The sea bass, filled with nuts, seeds, peanut butter and dates, had a marshmallow texture (and sort of a flavor too!). It fell apart easily (but not in a gluten-free way) and was quite sticky, so I would advise caution. All in all, I was very excited to find such a delicious and sweet treat that I can convince myself it’s healthy.

Small World Coffee Gluten Free Chocolate Ganache Sandwich Cookie
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Small World

What: Chocolate ganache sandwich cookie

How much: $4.95

Tasting experience: This cookie had fantastic components. The ganache was fantastic: rich and delicious. And the cookie had a biscotti texture. It was crumbly and dry. I imagine if the cookie had been on its own it would have had a wonderful crackle. Unfortunately, the combination of these two well-flavored elements led to a ganache-soaked cookie with a slightly soggy and simultaneously very crumbly candy experience. Luckily, I’ve found that this texture issue can be easily fixed by sticking the sandwich cookie in the freezer (or fridge). Fresh, it’s superb!

Small World Coffee’s gluten-free “goodie,” which Eck describes as a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and a breakfast bar
Sydney Eck / The Daily Princetonian

Where: Small World

What: The Grain exchange Gluten-free wheat-free goodies

How much: $5.75

Tasting experience: This chocolate chip adjacent square was sweet, mushy, and a great way to cut down on the bitterness of a cup of Small World coffee. The same way a muffin distinguishes between a cupcake and legitimate food, this treat provided major identity crisis energy (breakfast bar or chocolate chip cookie?). It didn’t instantly crumble to dust, but it wasn’t a globe of moisture sticking in your mouth either. Overall, I found this no-name treat a very enjoyable snacking experience.

__________

Thanks for joining me today for our little tour of GF Princeton. If you’re gluten-free, I hope you found this helpful! If not, let it inspire you to try something new, increasing the demand for gluten-free desserts in Princeton’s economy and encouraging suppliers to increase production in turn, improving the diversity and quality of products for gluten-free consumers!

Lots of love,

Treaties of Tiger Town <3

Sydney Eck is editor for The Prospect and associate editor for Features, which often covers artist profiles and food critics (founder of Tiger Town Treats). She can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @sydney.eck.