My family has issues.
No, I mean, food issues. With one person non-dairy, another gluten free, and a third low sugar, I joke around that my baking consists of oil and sand. I’ve largely gotten used to substituting coconut oil and cashew milk for butter and milk, and using different flours to make my recipes gluten free. The low sugar thing has thrown me for a loop though. Some ingredients just need sugar. Have you ever had something with unsweetened cocoa powder and very little sweetness? It’s not much of a dessert.
I’ve found that by lowering the actual sugar content and utilizing maple syrup and sweet mix ins like dried fruit, I can bring the sugar down a little without the flavor suffering. And if I can’t dramatically bring down the sugar level, I bump up the protein so it metabolizes better.
Earlier this week myself, the man and Little Miss went to visit my parents and my grandfather, and I wanted to bring a little something along for dessert. I grabbed a couple of prickly pears and persimmons at the supermarket, knowing they’re both favorites, and then set out to find a recipe that was fast and simple, wouldn’t require dirtying the whole kitchen, didn’t require gluten or dairy, and wasn’t super sweet.
Did I forget to mention that grandpa can’t have coconut? I’m always at a loss when I can’t use coconut oil. So I weighed my alternatives. Applesauce would have worked, had I remembered to buy it. But hey, I did still have some apples from when we went picking! I settled on a basic quick bread recipe, with modifications to make it gluten free, dairy free, and a little lower in sugar and higher in protein.
It should be noted that the name “quick bread” is a bit misleading. It doesn’t bake that fast, and it’s more of a cake than a bread – think about the consistency of zucchini or banana bread and you’ve just about got it. It’s not light and fluffy and crusty, it’s moist, dense and cakey.
This cake is sweet, but not too sweet, with a nice little kick from chocolate chips and cranberries with lovely, moist apple chunks – this is a liquidy batter by the way, so don’t be surprised if your heavier dried fruits sink to the bottom and your lighter chocolate chips stay up top! The apple and spices are warm and homey, and the cranberries are tart, giving it a nice contrast. I’m a big fan of apples all year round, but especially in the fall when everything is PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN, I think it’s nice to let apples shine.
If you’re not a fanatic about Penzey’s Spices like I am, and don’t happen to have Cake Spice on hand, just add a little more cinnamon and if you have, a dash of nutmeg, clove, anise, allspice and ginger.
Yes, it’s gluten free, it’s dairy free, it’s coconut free, and it has a little extra protein to balance things out. I think a little less sugar and it could make a very decent morning treat as well as a dessert.
One last note before the recipe. You can buy oat flour, or you can make it. My husband’s Ninja blender came with individual serving smoothie cups which are perfect for quickly grinding some organic rolled oats into flour. Other blenders or food processors should do the trick as well.
Spiced Autumn Quick Bread
- 1/2 cup gluten free flour
- 1/2 cup oat flour (or ground rolled oats)
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 tbsp ground flax/chia seed mix (optional)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp Cake Spice
- 1 apple, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cashew milk (or your preferred milk substitute)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I like grapeseed or sunflower)
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/4-1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and lightly oil a loaf pan (I like to line mine with parchment paper for easy removal).
- In a large bowl, stir together the gluten free flour, oat flour and almond meal, then mix in the baking powder, cinnamon, Cake Spice, brown sugar and chopped apple.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, vanilla, cashew milk and maple syrup, then pour over the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.