November 10, 2011

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: