Celebrating a Gluten-Free Easter Celiac-Style

This was our first time celebrating Easter since our celiac diagnoses, so I revved up for the challenge of finding gluten-free alternatives for our Easter traditions.  I’m excited to fill you in on our discoveries from gluten-free egg hunts to our fan-favorite gluten-free resurrection rolls.

just-dyed and still-wet Easter eggs on a paper towel

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Resurrection Rolls

 

gluten-free resurrection roll, broken open to show empty center lined with cinnamon and melted marshmallow
Opened Resurrection Roll: Jesus’ “body” (marshmallow) is gone

CJ, my five-year-old likes to keep me on my toes, so he asked for resurrection rolls… a super easy (if you eat gluten since crescent rolls are the basis for the recipe) and a yummy way to illustrate the burial and resurrection of Jesus. These were a huge hit last year with my kiddos, and I guess they left an impression on CJ. I searched the internet and my pantry and mashed together a few recipes to make the recipe at the bottom of this post. I should warn you, this is like getting a recipe from your Grandma… a little of this, a little of that, as much as you want…. no cookbook in my future. I have solid quantities for the stuff that counts, but I was a bit swish-sway with salt and sugar. None of that mattered to me as much as watching my kiddos enjoy making (and eating) their resurrection rolls on Easter morning. Tip: because of the extra time added to this gluten-free version, resurrection rolls may be a better dessert, if you are pressed for time getting out the door on Easter Sunday morning.

 
bottle label that reads "glogg alkoholfri, non-alcoholic fruit flavored cocktail, 25.4 oz, IkeaEaster Dinner
While we usually happily entertain friends and family for the holidays, I was still recovering from throwing a huge party the week before and got buy-in from the family to celebrate Easter quietly with just the four of us. Our Easter dinner was simple: a Kirkland ham from Costco (labeled gluten-free), this recipe for Simple Au Gratin Potatoes (made simpler with a few substitutes: gluten-free flour instead of regular flour,  Ore Ida’s hash browns which are labeled gluten-free, and the addition of 5 oz of goat cheese because I love it and had it the fridge), steamed asparagus with a balsamic glaze, and cranberry sauce (I use the recipe on the bag and substitute Glogg Alkoholfri from Ikea for the water).
Dyeing Eggs

 

I was unsure if the boxed egg-dyeing kits would be safe. Since I had already hunted down food coloring from Duff Goldman (which the website says is gluten-free), it seemed like a safer bet to make our own dyes. I filled cups with approximately 1 cup of warm water and a squirt of Duff color gels. The kids mixed the gel and warm water with toothpicks, and then I added a tablespoon of vinegar. The eggs dyed quickly and the colors were amazingly vibrant. Tip: have Oxyclean on standby… my kiddos emerged uncolored, but my white table was not so lucky. Fortunately, Oxyclean made it good as new, or at least as good as a used table in a home with littles.

Easter Egg Hunts
We had several egg hunts, from community to family, and each required a different strategy.

  1. The community hunt was covered in a previous blog post about the Easter Eggstravaganza and involved me going through Miss E’s eggs to verify the gluten-free status of her treats.
  2. I volunteered to hide eggs for her preschool egg hunt and just made sure all of the gluten-free eggs ended up on one side of the hunting grounds, where I steered Miss E during the hunt. Volunteering at school for special days is probably going to be our norm through elementary school, as it seems to be the best way to keep her safe and allow her to join in on the fun.
  3. Our family hunt on Easter Sunday consisted solely of Resurrection Eggs… gluten and food free.
  4. I organized a hunt for our regular playgroup, which required sharing lists of safe items for Miss E. You can check out my post on the playgroup Easter egg hunt for gluten-free ideas to fill your eggs.

Easter Baskets

In our home, Easter baskets are far from Facebook-worthy. Our kiddos usually get a few non-candy items. This year, they each received superhero underwear, an Easter book, and gluten-free gum recommended by the dentist to chew after eating sweets when you can’t brush. Yes, no super-mom award for me… but they haven’t seen their friends’ baskets, so they are thrilled with theirs. If you are looking for a more robust basket, here’s a candy list from the Celiac Disease Foundation.
 
As promised, here’s the resurrection roll recipe…
 

Recipe: Resurrection Rolls

Note: I no longer make the dough from scratch. Schar Gluten-Free Puff Pastry Dough is easy to work with and tastes fabulous. I am leaving the full recipe here, though, in case you cannot get your hands on the puff pastry or prefer to make it from scratch for money-saving or dietary purposes.

 

Ingredients for dough:
1/2 stick butter at room temperature
3/4 cup greek yogurt
1 egg
1 cup gf flour (I used Trader Joe’s)
1 tsp xanthan gum
pinch of salt (I turned my salt grinder 2 or 3 times)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 TBS sugar
Mix butter and yogurt in a hand or stand mixer. Add egg and dry ingredients. Mix at least 2 minutes (adds air/volume to gluten-free dough). Chill for 2 hours (I made the dough at night to have ready for assembly on Easter morning.)

Ingredients for assembling the rolls with the kiddos:
Dough
Marshmallows (I used Kraft)
Butter, melted (approx 1-2 TBS)
Cinnamon and sugar (mixed together, about 1-2 TBS)
A bit of gluten-free flour to dust your work surface


Preheat oven to 350. Divide dough into 8 balls and flatten on floured work surface. Allow the children to assemble the rolls as you walk through a sample, explaining as you go.
Take a marshmallow, which represents the body of Jesus.
Dip the marshmallow in butter and roll it in cinnamon sugar, which represents preparing his body for burial with oils and spices).
Place the marshmallow in the dough and wrap carefully, sealing all seams so the marshmallow does not melt out during baking (represents wrapping Jesus body in linens).
Place the resurrection rolls in the oven (represents the tomb) and close the door (represents the stone).
Bake 25-30 minutes, then cool for 5 minutes.
When the child breaks open a roll, it will be empty. Jesus is risen!

 

If you make these resurrection rolls, let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear if you have improvements to the recipe!

 

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