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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Cranberry Bread {Healthified and Dairy Free}

Recipe is free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, and corn

My husband has, periodically, reminisced about a chocolate cherry bread he used to love when he was a kid. He would go with his parents to Granville Island (a picturesque place by the water in Vancouver, BC popular with tourists and locals for its fish and produce market and funky shops) to get the bread.

Of course I've searched around online for both the bakery and the recipe. But the bakery has long since closed, and all the recipes I could find for chocolate cherry bread were far more cake-like than bread. They're loaded with sugar and oil or butter. 

Well I recently found myself with two bags worth of fresh cranberries (bought on sale) and I thought, "what the heck? Why not try and make a chocolate cranberry bread like the chocolate cherry one, but make it gluten free and healthy?"

So I concocted a recipe, and the first time I tried it I absentmindedly forgot to add xanthan gum. "Doh." It came out crumbly and drier than a witches teet (what an awful, visual term, eh?). I thought it would be terrible, BUT, my husband put the crumbs in a bowl and ate half of it in one go with a spoon anyway, so I knew I was on to something. So I tried it again and this is what I've come up with.

For those of you with cranberries left over from Thanksgiving, this is a great way to use them up! 

I might still tinker with this a little bit, as I think it could still be a little bit moister, but over all I really like it, and my husband keeps saying how good it is with each piece he eats.I'm happy that it's pretty healthy, and with about 1/4 of the sugar of most chocolate breads and almost none of the oil.

I've never understood why people want to take fruit, which is naturally sweet and flavourful, and cover it all with sugar. Why bother with the fruit in the first place, then? So with this lower cal version, the tart flavour of the cranberries comes through, but is tempered by the richness of the chocolate.

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf):

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup organic cocoa
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup organic brown sugar

1 egg beaten*
3/4 cup sugar-free orange juice
2 Tbsp applesauce (or olive oil or coconut oil)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 - 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup organic dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs

* I haven't tried this egg-free, and in fact next time I might even add another egg. I don't know how a flax egg substitute would work, but I suspect it wouldn't be great. Ener-G egg substitute might be a better sub.


Preheat oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan. 

1. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together dry ingredients, from sorghum flour down to brown sugar.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients, from egg to vanilla extract.

3. Mix dry ingredients in to wet until combined and smooth. Fold in cranberries and chocolate chips/nibs.

4. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let loaf cool 5 minutes in pan, then tap out onto a cooling rack and let cool to improve texture.

And enjoy!

I'm still experimenting with my bags of cranberries, and plan to share another recipe or two in the next week.

What do you do with leftover cranberries?

This post was shared on the following great blog parties: Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Healthy Happy Green Party, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesday, Healing with Food Friday, Fight Back Fridays,    


  1. This sounds and looks really delicious...I will have to share it with my gf friends!! Cranberries are so good for you and to put them in bread with chocolate is awesome!

    1. Thanks, Nancy! I really like the chocolate and cranberry combo :)

  2. Love all your organic ingredients. Cranberries are such a healthy food loaded with antioxidants. This recipes sounds delicious will save and share. Visiting from Healthy, Happy Green & Natural Blog Hop.

  3. do you think this would work with cranberry juice instead of OJ? Or is that cranberry overload?? It looks delish!

    1. Hi Katie, I think it would be fine with cranberry juice. If it's unsweetened plain cranberry juice it might just be a bit more tart - I think the sweetness of the oj helps balance the cranberries.

  4. I love the flavor of cranberries in anything baked or blended. Best of all, my sweets-obsessed husband will adore cranbery chocoloate bread and he won't even know that it is actually good for him. Thank you so much for sharing this valuable post with us on the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Hop! We sincerely appreciate it!

  5. Excellent recipe, healthy and sounds delicious. thanks so much for sharing

  6. What would the recipe be with just a gf baking flour instead of the sorghum and the starch? Or don't you feel it would work?

    1. Hi there, sorry, do you mean like a store bought GF flour mix? Gluten free baking usually requires a blend of flours, starch, and xanthan or guar gum to achieve a texture similar to plain wheat flour, since the gluten is what helps bind baked goods. You can't just substitute any flour for wheat flour, unfortunately (my life would be so much easier if we could, though!!)

      I don't use ready-made GF flour mixes, I just make my own as I go (hence the sorghum and the starch), so I can't really say what another blend would do. If you were to use one, I would say check the ingredients to see if it already has xanthan gum and/or baking powder. If it does, you could probably just eliminate them from the recipe and use 1.5 cups of the blend instead of the sorghum and starch. Hope that helps :)

    2. Thanks! I use a gf flour blend from a gf bakery in Arizona. It is wonderful! Has all the ingredients you mentioned. I will give it a whirl :)

    3. I'd be curious to hear how it worked out for you!

  7. I will let you know! I'm making it today :) Fingers crossed!!

  8. So no rising time for this loaf? I hope to make it tomorrow. :)

    1. No, no rising time required. There's no yeast and it doesn't turn out a super high bread, it's just a nice small little loaf :) I hope you enjoy it!

  9. This is delicious! I will prepare this evening for my partner. Thank you very much 


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