Gluten-free baking

Last week I attended another class at the Whole Foods Culinary Center: Gluten-free baking for beginners!

Gluten free baking

I don’t have any gluten allergies, but I love to bake and I’m always interested in learning new recipes and techniques. The goodies that we baked in class were not only gluten-free, they were also vegan and packed with nutrition. Instead of focusing on what had to be left out (wheat flour), we focused on adding nutrition in. I learned so much about the health benefits of superfoods like raw cacao, chia seeds, teff flour, coconut oil, etc. The class also caused me to re-evaluate some aspects of my diet. The instructor made a very good point: since white sugar doesn’t contain any nutrients, your body has to use up its energy reserves just to process and digest it. While I’ll still eat sugar occasionally (everything in moderation!), I’m going to try and transition to maple syrup and agave as my sweeteners of choice.

Our first recipe of the evening was Jam Thumbprint Cookies. Applesauce replaced the egg, almond milk served as a milk substitute, and we used a nutritious mix of millet and coconut flours. Millet is an “ancient grain” that is rich in B-vitamins and magnesium. Chia seeds gave these cookies crunch and packed in omega-3’s – yum!

jam thumbprint cookies

gluten free baking

Next up: Gluten-Free Brownies! These moist, fudge-y brownies contained teff flour (super high in iron!), coconut flour (rich in protein and fiber), and raw cacao which has the highest antioxidant content of any food on the planet.


Purely Elizabeth has given me permission to post the brownie recipe on the blog – try it, it’s divine!

Gluten-free brownies with raw cacao


  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup teff flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 Tbs instant coffee
  • 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup earth balance vegan butter
  • 1 Tbs vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix to combine.
  • Pour into a 8″ x 8″ pan.
  • Place in the oven for 25 minutes or unril a toothpick comes out clean!

Teff brownie

Our third recipe was a Blueberry-Banana Bread. The bread had a nice banana flavor, but I found the texture to be a little too gritty.

Blueberry Banana Bread

Blueberry Banana Bread

Next on the list: Blueberry Crumble. I knew this recipe was going to be good even before we added the crumble topping. We started off by macerating frozen blueberries in agave syrup, lemon juice, and cinnamon – this would make a refreshing dessert all on its own!

Blueberry crumble

Mmm, topped with a little coconut bliss ice cream. Perfecto.

Blueberry Crumble

We had a little extra time at the end of class, so we made some “bonus recipes”.

Frozen Bananas with Vegan “Magic Shell”


  • Bananas
  • Wooden Skewers
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 3 TbsΒ raw cacao (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)


  • Place skewers in the bananas
  • In a large bowl mix together the agave nectar, raw cacao, and coconut oil
  • Dip the bananas in the chocolate mixture and then place on a parchment lined plate
  • Freeze bananas until chocolate “shell” hardens

Magic shell

Our final fun recipe was a Coconut-Lime Pudding. It tasted like a margarita!


  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 2 pinches of salt


  • Blend all ingredients in a food processor until combined
  • Portion out pudding into 4 small bowls or ramekins
  • Refrigerate pudding for at least 1 hour

Coconut Lime Pudding

Coconut Lime Pudding

Dani, Ani, and Megan

An evening full of friends and baking? Just my kind of night! I can’t wait to re-create the brownie recipe….

What’s your favorite type of baked goodie?

  • I love a good brownie, and that recipe looks awesome! More and mroe I think I can’t tolerate gluten well, so I really should get some teff and try that out.
    Is the 1/2 cup coconut oil a typo or real? That just seems like A LOT, even for 4

  • Lauren

    I am a chia seed addict! I put them in everything πŸ™‚

  • Evan – heh, that’s not a typo. the recipe really does call for 1/2 cup of coconut oil! however, i think this recipe can serve a lot more than 4. i would say 6-8, at least.

  • Oh gosh, that all sounds so amazing!
    I love banana bread (or peanut butter banana bread), or a good old raw brownie, or muffins πŸ™‚ Cookies hate me and never seem to cook right sadly πŸ™

  • I so wish we had a Whole Foods so I could take cooking classes! Gainesville is seriously lacking!

  • Mmm, I love baked goods…especially pie!

  • My ultimate favorite has to be angel food cake. I just eat it by the pieces it’s so light, fluffy and delish

  • The cookies look really good. I have found gluten free products to be a little crumbly (even from Babycakes NYC) as well. Did you find that the blueberry-banana bread was able to rise at all? Is this even possible in gluten-free baking??

  • j

    Even though I’m not allergic I avoid gluten as much as possible because wheat is an inflammatory food (bad news for runners!)

  • Sarah

    I’m running my first half marathon next Sunday and am debating on a taper/active resting schedule, I need some runner’s kitchen help! Do you have any advice…the past few days have been
    Saturday: Easy 4.25 miles
    Sunday: 15K race
    Monday: Cross-train, 60 Minute eliptical
    Tuesday: 4 miles speed intervals
    I’ve been running about 28-35 miles a week over the past several months…do you rest the day before a big race?

  • I’ve never heard of teff flour. Interesting.

    That coconut lime pudding sounds delicious! I’d love to take a class like this. It sounds like so much fun!

  • Awe.some. Gluten-free/vegan baking need not be a poor substitute for conventional! Seems like you got some examples of that. I’m obsessed with avocado pudding right now too so I am thinking i need to try that lime version. πŸ™‚

  • That coconut lime pudding looks innnncredible!

  • How cool! I have been waiting for this recap. It all looks amazing…the cookies won my heart over! πŸ™‚

    My favorite baked goodie is probably a cookie. I am definitely a cookie monster at heart! πŸ™‚

  • I am dying for that blueberry crumble recipe! Everything looks so good – hard to believe it’s all gluten free. I thought about trying to go gluten free and it’s so hard. I’ve been working to reduce slowly – these recipe ideas and replacement ingredients are great!

  • I think I’ve got to try gluten-free baking, at least as an experiment. I’m just afraid that I’ll buy rice flour or something, hate it, and then be stuck with a $6 bag of flour. But who knows…be a risk taker! I’d probably stick with something super-chocolatey.

  • I would love to try gluten free baking! Looks like it was fun.

    & I”m always a fan of any baked good with chocolate or pumpkin in it πŸ™‚

  • I love the idea of individual crumbles – how perfect.

    I adore any kind of crumble and fruit pie. I could almost weep when I’m given a good slice of cherry pie. πŸ™‚

  • Caroline – the banana bread DID rise. We used xanthum gum which helped.

    Sarah – I posted my pre 1/2 marathon running plan on my training page ( I usually take a rest day either 2 days before or 1 day before the race.

  • This was a dizzyingly delicious array of baked goods. As much as I love good old fashioned baked treats (with butter and eggs), I appreciate and enjoy the healthier alternatives as much as possible. Those jam thumbprint cookies look outstanding!

    My favorite baked good is a tie between brownies and cupcakes.

  • Coconut lime pudding?! Yummm! That sounds out of this world!

    I haven’t used coconut flour, but I LOOOOOVE almond flour. I just wish it weren’t so spendy. I didn’t know that teff had all that iron — that’s good to know for anemic patients!

  • so many goodies! those thumb print cookies are super cute and i bet super tasty!

  • Joe

    If you ever put avacado in a blender and tell me it’s pudding so I eat it, there’s gonna be trouble.

  • yummy!

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  • Dani Sturtz

    Nice post Megan. I especially like the pictures!

  • my mom and dad had been on a gluten free diet ever since they were kids~:;

  • gluten free foods are very helpful specially for those people that have very bad allergies to it ‘

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