Recipe for gluten-free apple raisin squares

betty ming liu Food 19 Comments

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:

Comments 19

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. Betty,

    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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. Post

    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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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?

  9. 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!

  10. 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,


  11. 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.

  12. 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!

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