a classic holiday quick bread that pops with fresh orange zest
This delicious gluten-free cranberry bread is sweetened with two whole oranges. That’s it. It contains no sugar or other natural sweetener like honey, molasses, or maple syrup, so you should be good to go if you have trouble balancing your blood sugar when eating baked goods. The gentle flavor of whole grains, along with the nutmeg and cinnamon, beef up the natural sweetness from the oranges. And the orange zest…
Most baked goods are not blood sugar friendly. They are usually made with refined grains and loads of sweetener. If you have blood sugar issues, it doesn’t matter if the sweetener comes from white sugar, honey, or maple syrup – they all tend to have the same effect. For optimal blood sugar stabilization after you eat, it’s important to eat baked goods made with whole grains only (or no grains at all). It is the fiber found in whole grains that helps regulate your blood sugar. But be careful. Sometimes whole grain only baked goods come packed with sweetener (including natural sweeteners), and the fiber can only do so much when there’s a bunch of sugar molecules just waiting to spike your blood sugar.
You won’t get the shakes with this baked good — my cranberry orange bread is blood sugar friendly. It is sweetened, not with the juice of two oranges, but with the whole fruit. Using the whole fruit adds more fiber and makes it more of a whole food source. You get to keep the nutrients in the flesh. There is no added sweetener in the bread, so you’re not piling on unnecessary sugar molecules for your liver to process. This holiday bread also has protein, another component that helps to balance blood sugar. The protein comes from the egg, the protein rich flours (buckwheat and chickpea), and the walnuts, if you choose to add them.
Speaking of fiber, this festive quick bread it is packed with fiber. As I already mentioned, there is fiber from the orange flesh, but there is also fiber from the flax seeds, cranberries, walnuts, and flours. Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, by the way. To milk the fiber out of your buckwheat, make sure to use buckwheat that has been ground with its hull. Most of the buckwheat flour available for purchase, like Bob’s Red Mill, has been ground in this way. I purchase unhulled buckwheat from Azure Standard, and then grind it in my Vita-Mix.
Does your blood sugar feel funny after you eat baked goods? If so, look for baked goods made with whole grains only, decent protein sources, and minimal or no sweeteners.
Cranberry Orange Bread
Makes 1 loaf
- 3/4 cup millet flour
- 3/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 cup unhulled buckwheat flour
- 3 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon saigon cinnamon
- ~ 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 1/8 teaspoon stevia (not the liquid kind)
- 2 whole organic oranges, peeled & pureed
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup virgin, unrefined coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups cranberries, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (chop after measuring), optional
- zest of 1 organic orange peel (zest the orange prior to peeling)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Liberally grease a glass loaf pan with virgin, unrefined coconut oil.
- Mix dry ingredients together.
- Mix wet ingredients together.
- Get the cranberries, walnuts, and orange zest ready to go if you haven’t yet.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients together. Quickly stir in the cranberries, walnuts (optional), and orange zest.
- Pour into greased, glass loaf pan and bake for about 55 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
- The freshly grated nutmeg makes a huge flavor difference in comparison to using the pre-ground stuff that comes in a bottle.
- Make sure to use organic oranges, especially for the orange zest. Conventionally grown oranges are very high in pesticide.