Cranberry-Apricot Muffins (Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free)

Gluten-free vegan low sugar cranberry apricot muffins
Cranberry muffins with apricot jam.

By the time you read this post, Dear Reader, I'll be walking Venice Beach. And sighing a long slow sigh. At last. A long overdue getaway- the first vacation since our last visit to the City of Angels- way back in the fall of 2007. Which, considering the roller coaster ride of a year we've all had- personally and collectively- feels like a virtual lifetime ago.

I'll be away for a week. But don't worry. You know I couldn't leave you on your own without a new recipe to tempt you into the kitchen. So I stirred up a new batter for you- some tender breakfast muffins. A fresh combination of tart cranberries and golden apricot preserves in a flour base that features buckwheat, sorghum and quinoa flours- yielding a higher protein profile than your average gluten-free muffin. And, as a bonus to those of you eschewing sugar cane, this recipe has no added sugar. (I didn't add nuts this time, but if you like a little nutty crunch in your muffins these would be lovely with chopped pecans, or toasted almonds.)

A note on ingredients, celiac, wellness, and a few thoughts on vegan vs. ominvore.

I've been asked lately (by a handful of gluten-free readers) if my vegan recipes can be made with real eggs and moo-cow milk. And the short answer is, yes. And as I write this simple yes, I hope this inclusion (and the following) doesn't offend my vegan readership.

I have to bake dairy and egg free due to additional food allergies beyond celiac disease (and because of celiac damage) but if you are living merely gluten-free, any of my vegan recipes can be converted to a more traditional style featuring the eggs and milk you know and love. Use your experience and intuition and adjust the liquid, if need be. And where I use vegan Spectrum Organic Shortening, you may, Darling, use real butter if your little heart desires. I do understand that not every celiac must also be dairy-free. Only half of us.

That's right. According to Dr. Joe Murray at the Mayo Clinic, half of us blessed with the autoimmune disease called celiac need to be GF/CF. Why? 50% of celiacs are allergic to casein, it turns out. That's 1 out of 2 odds, Bubbie, so if you still suffer symptoms after going gluten-free, you might seriously consider getting tested for milk allergy. Don't assume it's "just a lactose intolerance" (and, by the way, if the lactose enzymes or probiotics you're taking aren't working- that's a big clue). But I digress.

In the end, it's all good. Hemp milk, happy cow milk. Free roaming eggs or no eggs. Butter. Olive oil. Work with what works for you- and your body.

I'm not a judger. I'm not exclusive. My diet is not a religion. And even if it was, being the freethinking troublemaker that I am, I'm all for changing it up and experimenting and finding what works for each unique individual soul.

There is no one correct dietary way for everybody. No one size fits all. 

Every body is different, with a specific genetic blueprint and predisposition toward what allows it to thrive- and what turns on the autoimmune switch. Or- in the case of neurodiversity and the rainbow spectrum of autism and mood disorders- what foods trigger the chemistry in the brain toward fog, anxiety and depression. Ease of digestion aside, some of us also think and feel more clearly without gluten and casein- while others seem to feel and experience no difference at all. That's why some families believe in the GF/CF diet for their autistic angels, and some, disappointingly, admit no positive change at all. Temple Grandin reports it works for possibly 60% of those on the spectrum. It's also why eating gluten may pack unwanted pounds on one celiac, yet cause a sister celiac to lose so much weight she is accused of anorexia.

Our job, as I see it, our sacred task, in fact, is to decode and decipher our individual map toward wellness, toward wholeness. It's an ongoing, intricate, often frustrating effort. And some days it feels as if we are the exhausted, brittle heroine in some dark fairy tale, fingers numb from sifting through endless bits of straw to find the golden thread. The thread that makes sense. The thread that leads us home, where we are meant to be, living in wholeness, within a true moment of grace. Our body. Healed.

Cranberry-Apricot Muffins: A Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Recipe

These tart little gems are nutty and not-too-sweet thanks to a dash of stevia and some buckwheat honey. To keep them strictly vegan substitute the honey with organic raw agave.

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F. Line a 12-muffin tin or lightly grease and dust cups with gluten-free flour.

Whisk together the dry ingredients:

1/2 cup GF buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Stevia, to taste

Make a well in the center and add in:

1/3 cup organic coconut oil or light olive oil
1/2 cup apricot 100% fruit spread
1/3 cup organic honey or raw agave nectar
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs (whisked with warm water)


Beat with a wooden spoon to incorporate (or use a mixer).

Coarsely chop one cup frozen or fresh cranberries.

When the batter is smooth and slightly sticky add in the chopped cranberries- reserve some for the tops.

Plop the batter into the muffin cups. Smooth tops as you can. Press in the reserved cranberry pieces.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven till firm- about 18 to 20 minutes (test with a wooden pick). If berries were frozen, you may need an extra 3-5 minutes till done.

Place the muffin pan on a rack to cool slightly. Remove the muffins and continue cooling on a wire rack. (If the muffins stay in the pan they'll get soggy.)

Enjoy warm or room temperature. Wrap and freeze leftovers for easy on-the-go treats.

Makes one dozen muffins.

Recipe Source:

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Ricki said...

Muffins are such a perfect breakfast food--and these sound wonderful. Love the inclusion of apricots.

Enjoy your well-deserved holiday!

Amy Sherman said...

Glad to hear you'll be getting away! Those muffins look like a good airplane snack.

Ali (Whole Life Nutrition) said...

Karina -

Very eloquently put. I could not have said that better. What works for one doesn’t always work for another - we are all so genetically unique. And what works for us in our 20's may not work in our 30's or 40's.

Your muffins look beautiful, love the morning sunshine. I love quinoa flour, but in small amounts like you did here. Have a wonderful vacation and soak up that Vit. D (if your location is below the 35th parallel that is). We have been itching to get out of town but with 4 kids under 6 it would be quite a production!

-Ali :)

P. said...

" . . . yet [gluten can] cause a sister celiac to lose so much weight she is accused of anorexia . . . "

ACCUSED of anorexia? It's a disease. You don't 'accuse' someone of diabetes, or 'accuse' another of cancer or alcoholism . . . Let's be a bit more understanding of diseases, shall we? You're worried about 'offending your vegan readers' with mentioning dairy, but you'll speak this way about people who are very ill??

Shame on you.

chocolatechic said...

Thanks so much.

My girl is GF/CF/Sugar Free/ Corn free/Soy Free.

Your recipes have truly been a lifesaver.

We will be making these soon.

Melanie said...

Can't think of a better way to enjoy your delish muffins than eating one on Venice Beach! Enjoy.

VeggieGirl said...

Love Venice Beach!! And those muffins :-)

Karina Allrich said...

Ricki- Muffins are fab. I try always to have a few on hand for an on-the-go breakfast treat. Luckily they freeze well.

Amy- Exactly! :)

Ali- Thank you- and you're right, as well, regarding what what might work in one's 20's, or 30's might not work in our 40's. Or, ahem. 50's. Our bodies really do change.

Chocolate Chic- I'm so glad. My pleasure. :)

P- Yes, accused. I was accused of anorexia (by more than one person) as I struggled with celiac symptoms for almost a decade prior to diagnosis. I was skin and bones. I imagine my experience is not isolated. When food becomes your enemy, you do lose your appetite (which is the definition of anorexia) not by choice as much as malbsorption. I lost twenty pounds and weighed 109 at 5'8.5". Scary. Because you literally starve. Even though you eat.

What's really ironic- if you want to feel offended- is how many people told me "You look fabulous!" And "You're so thin- I hate you." Or "What's your secret?"

Well, now of course, I know. My secret? An autoimmune disease. It's all the rage.

Shame on me?


Karina Allrich said...

Hi Melanie- and VeggieGirl-

Your comments came through when I responding above. I can't wait- we're off to the airport in a few. Muffins in my bag. ;)


Rach said...


Have I mentioned lately that I adore you? This particular blog post really resonated with me.

And the muffins look and sound unbelievable! I love making muffins with no sugar added (which to me, means NO SPLENDA either!) jams and jellies. I can't wait to try these.

This morning as you and S. travel, I am getting ready to make GF french toast (in an apartment with no heat, omg it's cold!) for my dad and his lady. I sliced some strawberries and marinated them in Agave, Honey and Vanilla and will be making fresh Whipped Cream with Agave and Vanilla to go on top. I love shocking people with how good GF can be :D

Have a wonderful vacation!

Lauren Denneson said...

I love your words on finding our own path to wellness - it really rings true for me. And, I constantly worry about being accused of anorexia...I was eating at a restaurant with my boyfriend's extended family and his teenage female cousins sat across the table from me when the only items "safe" on the menu were a salad and a baked sweet potato. I didn't want to set a bad example for them, but wasn't sure if they understood really.
I hope you enjoy your well-deserved vacation and soak up plenty of sun!

veggievixen said...

mmm! thanks for this amazing recipe.

have a great vacation!

mutritiousnuffins said...

These look fabulous, and they look easy! A great combination. Have a great week off :)

GFE--gluten free easily said...

Fantastic post, Karina ... your recipes always rock (the photo of your muffins is gorgeous per usual!), but sharing the info on related intolerances, wellness, etc.---well, that was beyond fabulous and you are so succinct while sharing this critical info. Have a fantastic vacation at Venice Beach ... find some shark's teeth for me! ;-) Shirley

Carolyn West said...

Hi Karina,

So glad I found you and your recipes.

I love mixing flours too, but when I want to use a mix I turn to Gluten Free Mama. She has several blends and they are great.


Steph said...

Hope you're enjoying your vacation! I'm off to Orlando next week :)
Thanks for the beautiful recipe! The photo started my mouth watering, and the description of the muffins made me want to go and make a second breakfast right now (as I sit here eating pancakes)! I will definitely give these a try.

Jenny L. said...

Love your blog.

Funny how not only can some people be gluten-free and also not be able to do casein, there are also those that read innocent statements and take them the wrong way. Shame on you???????? I understood completely what you meant with the accused of being anorexic statement because my daughter and I get accused of that all the time.

Oh well, now can I ask a stupid question? How do you know that your probiotic is not working - just by the fact that you are not feeling better? I recently took a probiotic that gave me severe diarrhea and I was just wondering.

Thanks again for all your great info. It helps me tremendously.

P.S. - I was one of the winners of the Whole Foods gift certificates. I got a gluten-free cherry pie and other yummy GF products with it.

granolachic said...

i was offended by the person shaming you...i hope the sun melted the harsh criticism away by now...thank you for your honesty...may we all be so loving!

oh and the muffins look divine! :)

Vegetation said...

Enjoy your holiday! And yum, these muffins sound incredibly wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Karina - Yum! I've wanted to try stevia for a while now so maybe this will be the recipe to try :)

JennyL - If I know one thing there are no stupid questions when it comes to the health of your body! I know I'm not Karina but I am also someone who "discovered" later that I was unable to do dairy for the casesin reason as well. Honestly, I discovered by just eliminating it for a while (min. of 3 months) as I was tired of still feeling fatigued, dizzy and other lovely things that weren't completely noticeable but still annoying. Sometimes you just have to guess and see if it works for you or not. But it's not so hard especially with someone as talented a cook as Karina is to guide us! Hope this helps!

Antonella said...

Delicius! I will try to make this muffins.

Vittoria said...

This recipe looks fantastic! I just started using soaked, pureed apricots in one of my own bread recipes. It's so nice to hear (read) someone so eloquently phrase what I've been dealing with myself, trying to figure out exactly what works for me, my tummy and my brain. Although I don't tolerate ANY grains or starches very well, I love the inspiration your recipes provide.

Zmrzlina said...

“some of us also think and feel more clearly without gluten and casein...”
“When food becomes your enemy, you do lose your appetite...”
“you literally starve. Even though you eat.”

Yes, yes, yes!
I know it very well - and it's sooo good to see somebody else writes about it - that these things don't exist only in my fantasy as my husband thinks... Thanks, Karina! Have a good holiday!

GFE--gluten free easily said...

Not related to this post or recipe, Karina, but I just came across this video of your chocolate chip cookie bars being made!

Now I want some badly!! Had to share ...


Nirvana said...

These look like the most perfect breakfast muffins. Thanks, Karina!

maya said...

Horray for a wonderful post Karina! I'm always trying to explain to people that I am not judging them for the way they eat- we just feel better this way. I'm currently in a nutrition course where we are debating what "good nutrition" means. That is one hot topic, my friend. And I never knew so many people would be angered by my admission that even though I was once a vegetarian for 12 years, I now eat grass-fed,local farm raised meat without any shame. I now believe honoring my body's needs is most important, so that I may be strong and live long for my children. Thank you for being so awesome- I always feel good after I eat one of your recipes or read your blog. Enjoy your vacation-you deserve it!

The Reluctant Aquarian said...

This looks yummy! Thanks for sharing, Karina!

Kboigirl said...

I'm a student in nutrition and also work in nutrition for local care centers. I am testing my family for food allergies and was "accused" yesterday of being on a "starvation diet." I had to assure them that I am NOT starving. (Thanks to your blog and amazing recipes). I have some homemade sugar-free apricot jam and some cranberries in my freezer--looks like I'm doing some baking today!

Sarcastic Celiac said...


So glad I came across your blog!

I have to agree with being "accused" of anorexia. It was definitely in an accusing tone that the subject has been brought up in the past, from a girl at camp in the 5th grade to a teacher later in life.

(Not to mention the accusations of bulimia since I ate so much to try and make up for my lack of nutrition... little did I know...)

Of course anorexia is a legitimate medical condition. My childhood best friend struggled to fight it. So is Celiac, but that doesn't diminish the fact that people can be very accusing when it comes to hard-to-figure-out medical problems.

Thanks for the inspiration from your blog, I'm hooked!


Anonymous said...

Have fun in LAla land! I ran across this blog when looking for Gluten Free Vegan recipes on google. I'll be using this recipe for a girls get together in Santa Monica! Enjoy your time here!


if you get to read this while in LA- check out the coolest surf shop in town- ZJ Boarding House corner of Main and Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica!

Stephanie said...

Wonderful post, beautiful recipe, and best of all no soy. I avoid dairy, sugar, soy and yeast so it's hard to find desserts I can actually eat...I'm excited to have found this one!

BODA weight loss

LyB said...

I have to tell you, I just "discovered" your blog and I am hooked. This was such an interesting and well written post, I can't wait to go through your archives. Those muffins look fabulous, have a great trip! :)

Lisa Michelle said...

Yum! I just baked these this morning! They are delicious! Thanks! I made a few substitutions though: chickpea flour instead of quinoa flour, raspberry jam instead of apricot, 1/4 cup of sugar instead of the honey, almond milk instead of the rice and I used "flax eggs" as the egg replacer!!


Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Beautiful sentiments---and ones I needed to hear right now!

I hope your vacation is glorious and sends you home sighing with refreshment.

Karina Allrich said...

Rach, Wow that sounds like a fabulous brunch. I'm envious! xox

Lauren- Thank you. It's so hard, isn't it? I usually end up with either a plain salad or poached salmon. Meh.

VeggieVixen- and Mutritiosnuffins- Thanks!

Hi Shirley- Many thanks for your kind words.

Hi Carolyn- Great!

Steph- We had a fun time- too short- but I loved every minute. Thanx!

Jenny L- and Granolachic- and Elle- Thanks mucho for your support and kindness. Sometimes people read through posts very quickly (either that or they- well, nevermind). ;-)

Vegetation- Thank you- I did!

Vittoria- Sorry to hear about the no grains or starches. I have a few older recipes with almond flour before I found out I was allergic to almonds. Check my Recipe Index.

LyB- and Baylee- Many thanks!

Reluctant Aquarian- Thanks muchas.

Kboigirl- Go you. ;-)

Lisa Michelle- Yay. Glad the flax worked. ;)

Zmrzlina- My pleasure- GFCF has helped me a lot, neurodiversity-wise.

Nirvana- I agree. And now they're gone. ;-)

Sally- Aw. Thank you, Babycakes. xox

Hope I didn't forget anyone above- catching up after a few days off can make a gluten-free goddess a wee bit cross-eyed.



kelly b said...

yay! yay! yay! gluten- dairy- *and* sugar-free! my fiancee and i are in heaven!

JK said...

Hi, does sorgham flour, tapioca flour need to be organic?
Can we grind quinoa grains to make flour? If so, how do we do it?

Anonymous said...

great recipe


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