Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Muffins (vegan, nut-free, xanthan-free)

Happy Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere. As we were heading out to the beach today with the kids, my 6 year old said to me, "mama, that's weird, I thought today was supposed to be the darkest day of the year, but it's the sunniest!" Yes indeed, today was a beautiful day to spend at the beach playing on the warm, sunny rocks and exploring the trails. Also a good day to come home and bake gingerbread muffins to warm us up along with mugs full of hot spice tea!

These muffins use pureed prunes and chia seeds to bind them together and hold moisture. They are made almost entirely of teff flour. I buy 25 pound paper bags of it from Azure Standard for around $40 with free shipping. That comes out to about $1.60 a pound, which is far less than what you pay for those little packages in the health food store, plus the packaging is biodegradable. I buy organic, unsulphured prunes in bulk from my local food co-op.

Gingerbread Muffins

These moist and slightly sweet muffins would be perfect to serve on Christmas morning or for a holiday family brunch. Serve them with chai tea, spice tea, or hot mulled cider as an afternoon snack. They are also good served with a dollop of creamy almond butter.

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups teff flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup prunes
1 cup very hot water
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside. Place the prunes, hot water, and ground chia into a blender and let soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Then puree and add the applesauce, oil, maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla. puree again until very smooth. Pour into dry ingredients and whisk together until combined.

Spoon batter into muffin pan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp. Source:

Organic prunes

More Holiday Baking:
Gingerbread Hazelnut Cookies
Flourless Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal Cut-Out Cookies
Sugar-Free Sugar Cookies

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Thanks for the recipe! Can the chia seeds be substituted? My daughter is allergic to nuts and seeds! Thanks so much....I really enjoy your site!

  2. Oh this recipe looks delightful! We'll certainly add this to our weekend menu! I was really having a hard time thinking of holiday-ish snacks to keep around.

    Only 3 more weeks (give or take) until wee one #2 arrives! We're busy stocking the freezer with yummy baked goods so we have a good supply for when I am unable to cook/bake as much. Your home-birth VBAC is very inspiring--we're hoping for the same here.

    I have people lined up to cook for us and have told them that nearly everything on your blog (sans eggs for D.) is great for us and that picking any recipe they like would be fine. I suspect you'll gain a few new fans since everyone seems to love my cooking, which mostly comes from your book and blog.

    Speaking of books... :-) We're eagerly awaiting book number 2! Any hints as to when it might be available?

    Happy Holidays to you and your family Ali!

  3. Oh Ali, These are a perfect gift for my father! Thank you, I was wondering what to give him and now I know. Please do tell: How do you store your teff flour? Can it live on the shelf or does it need to find a hole in the freezer somewhere? Thank you.

  4. Teff flour doesn't agree with me, so I'll probably substitute buckwheat & millet or quinoa & millet.

    I have used ground chia seed meal before with good results, and I'd like to discontinue using xanthan gum, so thank you very much for this recipe!

  5. I can eat these! Thank you for making these nut free and vegan. I can't eat many nuts, and have a sensitivity to coconut, so the recent GF baking trend of almond and coconut flours hasn't been great for me.
    I haven't had gingerbread in years, can't wait to try this. I think prunes are the perfect pair with molasses.

  6. What a powerhouse of ingredients! I love he use of teff and prunes. Nice job Ali!!

  7. We made the muffins today. They turned out great! Fantastic texture and great molasses flavor. I was wondering if you chopped up the prunes before you measured the cup or if you just stuffed the prunes into the cup measure and called it "good" -- which is what we did. Thank you for another yummy recipe!

  8. Thank goodness the solstice has passed! It's all brighter days from here.

    Those look so delightful and hearty and no gums! Yeah!

  9. These look fabulous and I'm truly grateful for gluten/casein/xanthan-free. I can eat eggs though. Do you know if I could just eliminate the chia and add 2 eggs or is it more complicated than that? Thinking to myself, I realize I'd probably also have to eliminate about 1/4 cup of water.

  10. Happy New Year, Ali & Tom! Thanks for all your recipes which continue to inspire me in the kitchen!

  11. Made this recipe twice over the holidays with my grandson. My celiac daughter truly enjoyed them. This was the first recipe with tef flour that I have tried and liked. Surprised by how moist they were. Grandson is allergic to eggs. Many blessings to you and your family.

  12. I used figs instead of prunes - it was great! I also didn't have any baking powder so I did 3 teaspoons of baking soda and the juice of a lemon. I also used flax instead of chia. I love these!!

  13. I've made these GF gingerbread muffins twice -- great both times! I was inspired enough to pick up 5 lbs of dried Moyer prunes from our local farmer's stand but they have pits. Do you have any advice on how to cook the prunes so as to get rid of the pits? Their flavor is amazing but the pits are pesky.

  14. THe taste of these muffins,is off the charts! Yummy. Wow.
    Mine came out a little dense, I wonder if you whisk with mixer or hand. I did by hand, maybe need more air next time. THank you again, these are amazing. Lovely!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)