Recipe for gluten-free apple raisin squares

November 10, 2011 · 19 comments

in Loving food

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With the right gluten-free recipe, you can have your cake and eat it too. That’s how I felt when I threw together these fast and simple apple raisin squares. It’s a relief to be wheat-free in a delicious way. And since they contain quinoa, eggs and almond flour, they also offer a decent protein hit.  

The quality ingredients create a moist, nutrient-dense quick bread. But be forewarned, if you prefer things sweet, this sugar-free recipe will taste pretty bland. Then again, if you’re on a sugar-free regimen like I am, these squares will make you feel like you’re able to participate in the concept of “cake” and “dessert.”

Since I am NOT a fussy cook, I put the apples through the food processor with the peel still on. Why not? It provides such lovely fiber. If you have any extra grated apples, just spread them in a thin layer over the top of the batter before baking. They’ll dry into little shreds that texturally resemble coconut flakes.

By the way, there’s not a speck of refined sugar in these squares. Who needs it?  The apples, maple syrup, plumped-up raisins and ground almonds do such a good job at providing natural sweetness. And if you’re never used almond flour before, you’re in for a wonderful experience. It brings a gentle sweetness and decadent density to any recipe.

As for the olive oil — I experimented with butter and canola oil too. But in the end, the olive oil won for its ability to add a depth that just isn’t possible with anything else.

I suppose these squares could be served for dessert. But I like them in the morning with a nice, cozy cup of tea. The best part of making this breakfast treat is that it only takes 10 minutes to throw the ingredients together.

The trick to this making this recipe is timing. If the batter sits around, the freshly grated apples turn watery. Next thing you know, you’ll be looking at a pan of mush; it just won’t bake right.

So make this quick bread quickly. Assemble all the dry ingredients, toss in the wet ingredients and then, go grate the apples. They will give a lot of juice that has to be squeezed out. The juice is delicious! Sip on it while your quick bread is baking. :)

In case you’re wondering, yes, I really did make up this recipe. I must’ve made it at least two dozen times. The results of my experiments went to my then-bf in hopes of getting him to stop relying on the empty calories of bagels and wheat muffins. I made them for him every week. No regrets.

Gluten-Free Apple Raisin Quick Bread

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 ½ cups almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins
Wet ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup olive oil
Additional ingredients:
  • 2 cups grated apples, including apple peel (approximately 2 to 3 medium apples)
  • 1 baking pan
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing
  • 1 toothpick
  • 1 grater or food processor with grater attachment blade


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a baking pan with a little olive oil.
  3. Add dry ingredients to a large bowl. Mix well.
  4. Combine all wet ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  6. Grate the apples. They will give a lot of juice.
  7. Grab handfuls of the grated apple and gently squeeze out the juice until what you’re holding doesn’t feel drippy-soggy.
  8. Add to the rest of the batter. Stir lightly until just combined. Do not mix too much or else the apples will make everything mushy.
  9. Right away, pour into the baking pan and spread the batter out evenly.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
  11. Insert toothpick into the middle of the pan. If it comes out clean, your quick bread is done!

Soooo, that’s the recipe. Right now, it’s the fall apple season here in New York state. The harvest at the farmers market is unbelievably varied and luscious. I’m using all types of apples for making these squares; they all work.

And here’s what else I do with apples:

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Danielle November 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

I love how moist it came out! It’s sweet, however, a little bland for me and I’m not too keen on the raisins. The ingredients are interesting though.

2 Hana Song November 10, 2011 at 9:35 am

Thank you so much for baking for our class, Betty! Love that we can be your guinea pigs. I just wish I hadn’t already stuffed my face with extra-sweet coffee, hazelnut cream-filled wafers and a breakfast bar right before trying your gluten-free apple raisin squares. Sugar overload.

3 Chris November 10, 2011 at 9:36 am

These were delicious, Betty. I would have never guessed there was no flour. Quinoa and almond flour, who would’ve thought you could make bread with these ingredients? The texture was nice and dense. Reminded me of pumpkin bread!

4 Jimmy November 10, 2011 at 9:36 am


I can attest that the cakes are simply delicious!! Thanks for the post.


P.S. That painting of the apple looks terrific!!! It looks so real, it’s making my mouth water.

5 Ellen Frankman November 10, 2011 at 9:38 am

Betty, these were delicious! So moist and not overly sweet. My mom is also gluten- and dairy-free and the lack of options for breakfast is always an issue for her. I’ve already emailed her the recipe!

6 Lauren November 10, 2011 at 9:39 am

As someone who just became gluten-free, I love these squares Betty! Bad gluten-free products have a dry and crumbly texture. These squares have the moisture I miss most from baked goods, plus a yummy fall flavor to boot! Plus, they are healthy. A lot of gluten-free products pack in extra fat or sugar to compensate for the lack of wheat. Can’t wait to try these on my own, they would be a great breakfast treat!

7 Betty November 10, 2011 at 9:40 am

soooo, it’s 9:37 a.m. we’re sitting here in our undergraduate nyu “food writing” class for journalism majors. i’m dealing with a bunch of seniors. they tend to be very smart, opinionated and bossy. they’ve also just sampled the squares and are here to share what they think.

of course, i am using this moment to get more comments on my blog — haha. but i also want my students to practice the art of blurbing via comments. it’s a good skill.

8 Nicole Torres November 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

While I don’t think I could tackle making these myself (I’m not a baker and 50 minutes seems like a long time), the apple square I tried was such a treat. I finished it in almost two bites. It was crumbly and moist and light — I’d imagine it would be great with tea. It was a nice energy boost to start our early morning class, probably from the high protein content. If only I had the patience and capability to make them… Yum!

9 Kayla November 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

These squares are surprisingly delicious, nice and sweet but a little bit strange texturally. I would recommend them. Your kids will eat them. Nice work, Betty! What are you feeding us next week?

10 Nancy Ryerson November 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

Hey Betty! I love apples, quinoa and baked goods that have some kind of higher purpose (vegan, gluten-free, sold by Girl Scouts, etc.) because I can eat them without feeling guilty. And these were really good! For me, it wasn’t sweet enough for dessert but it would definitely make a perfect breakfast bread, especially since it has some nutritional value. I thought the bread was very tender, if that makes sense, and light. I liked the combination of apple and raisin, too. Thanks for breakfast!

11 Courteney November 10, 2011 at 9:43 am

Hi Betty,

Thanks for feeding us in class again! I’m pretty surprised that you made this recipe up on your own — not that I doubt your abilities or anything, but it must’ve taken a lot of work, so kudos to you :) I really loved your apple raisin bread’s crumbly, but still chewy texture, and it tasted pretty good for not having any refined sugar and being gluten-free. Thanks for sharing, and I wouldn’t mind taste-tasting one of your recipes again!

Until another riveting (and delicious) class next week,


12 Wendy Wong November 10, 2011 at 9:44 am

Thanks for baking these, Betty! This is my first meal of the day, and my first time eating gluten-free anything. I like how moist it is, and it’s just sweet enough (and I’m not even a big raisin fan). Definitely a perk of taking a food writing class.

13 Jamie Lee November 10, 2011 at 9:48 am

I have a fear of fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free stuff — if something’s missing, how can the food still taste good? Thanks to my growling stomach this morning, I decided to give it a bite. And wow. I would’ve never known it was gluten-free. It tastes like a mix between an oatmeal cookie and an apple pie. Betty, I can see that you’ve made this 20 times to get the right recipe!

14 Charlotte November 10, 2011 at 9:58 am

Sounds yummy! I want to try to make them. My mom, grandmother, and I must eat g/f!

15 Laura Madden November 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Wow, this sounds delicious, and they’re getting such rave reviews! Can’t wait to try making them. Now, where to find almond flower in Brazil….

16 Rose T. Ellis November 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm

‘Will definitely be trying these!
I love how you’ve started incorporating your paintings into your blog posts.

17 Betty November 10, 2011 at 7:15 pm

thank you all for the feedback! and thanks to my students for indulging me. i actually think their taste-testing makes this post meaningful. they have a fair range of reactions. btw, since their names on their comments are all in orange, you can click on their names and follow them on twitter! they are a rambunctious bunch & we’re having a good time together.

jimmy, i always enjoyed making these squares for you.

charlotte, let me know if you like them.

laura, i use bob’s red mill brand almond flour. it’s sold here in the states at whole foods and a lot of the better health food stores. but you can also order it online from

rose, thanks for the feedback on the paintings. i feel more whole when i write and post artwork too. :)

18 Brian February 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

low-crab, gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free & dairy-free….My response is WHY?
From what I have discovered in my research there is a lot of GENETICS involved in this. Asians have a different genetic make-up than say someone such as Moi.
Coeliac disease is a disease which is related to intolerance to gluten. It shows up in the sixth chromosome specifically (DQ2.5 and DQ8). The prevalence of CD genotypes in the modern population is not completely understood. Given the characteristics of the disease and its apparent strong heritability, it would normally be expected that the genotypes would undergo negative selection and to be absent in societies where agriculture has been practiced the longest. The same situation is also true of Lactose intolerance which (compare with a similar condition, Lactose intolerance, which has been negatively selected so strongly that its prevalence went from ~100% in ancestral populations to less than 5% in some European countries.)
So it would seem that neither gluten or cheese would be healthy if your gene pool comes from Asia. However, my gene pool is from Scotland and Scandinavian, areas where over time through negative selection this trait no longer exits.
Another trait that I have inherited is a mutation called CCR5 Delta 32. CCR5 Delta32 ( or CCR5-Δ32) CCR5-Δ32 is a deletion mutation of a gene that has a specific impact on the function of T cells.[citation needed] At least one copy of CCR5-Δ32 is found in about 10% of people of Northern Europe and in those of Northern European descent. It has been hypothesized that this allele was favored by natural selection during the Black Death. This coalescence date is contradicted by purported evidence of CCR5-Δ32 in Bronze Age samples, at levels comparable to the modern European population.[8] Smallpox may be another candidate for the high level of the mutation in the European population…While CCR5 has multiple variants in its coding region, the deletion of a 32-bp segment results in a nonfunctional receptor, thus preventing HIV R5 entry; two copies of this allele provide strong protection against HIV infection. This allele is found in 5–14% of Europeans but is rare in Africans and Asians.
A very interesting relationship exists between Malaria and sickle-cell anemia. sickle-cell would die out over a period of time (that can be calculated easy). However, it hasn’t in Africa because the carriers for the disease have a slightly better survival rate when exposed to malaria.
I will have to try your recipe… I hope you don’t kick me off for beign a smarty pants

19 betty ming liu February 18, 2012 at 8:25 pm

that’s okay, smarty pant are welcome to comment! if you try the recipe, would be in hearing what you think. and this is the answer to your question related to “why:”

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