Apple Gingerbread 

“give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard” walt whitman (give me the splendid silent sun)

I grew some glorious sunflowers this year, breathtaking in height and sunny color. I harvested 8 (before the birds did!) and laid them on a floor to dry. Small caterpillars came crawling out, those rascals who thought they’d eat their way through until winter.

Recently I went to the Common Ground Fair in Maine, a mind boggling haven for agriculture and locally crafted foods and arts. There I saw a demonstration on saving sunflower seeds, how to make a simple frame with wire fencing to scrape the sunflower heads on and pop out the seeds. Some are black oil seeds, true black color with tiny bits of seed meat in the hulls, best for small animal food, but the rest, like this beauty above, are for us. I’m hoping it’s not more work than they’re worth.
But let’s get to the apples.
Which, truly, I have been craving ever since the end of August when we drove through 3 New England states practically bursting with glorious apple trees. I wanted to stop at every one and grab them off the side of the road (I couldn’t, I wasn’t the one driving).

 Fedco Trees had an impressive display of heirloom apples, some so rare they have “wanted, alive” signs.
I came home with crabapples picked in New Hampshire off trees in front of our inn, heirloom apples from my daughter’s in Maine. I harvested concord grapes then made crabapple & grape jelly (HELL YES, and I’d like to make a case for it being Paleo, since both those fruits are kind of miserable to eat on their own don’t you think our ancestors would have mixed them? With a little honey?) Then used the crabapple pulp with fresh apples to make apple sauce.

The thing with abundance is it must be used fast or it becomes waste. Which brings us to this recipe, because now I have applesauce to last all winter and we really don’t eat it.

Baking with applesauce, or any fruit or squash mash, is truly a brilliant thing to do. The fruit adds moisture, replaces fat, adds flavor and is sweet on it’s own, which means you can cut down on the sweetener in a recipe, if you want.

Tiger Nut flour is something completely new to me. A tiny tuber that is dried and ground, much like Cassava (not tapioca), or a nut flour. It’s an excellent source of prebiotic resistant starch, it’s resists digestion and lands in our gut where it attracts probiotic bacteria (the good guys). Apparently our Paleo ancestors where hip to good gut flora, as the claim goes Tiger Nuts were in use about 2 million years ago. (Back when they learned to mash crabapples and concord grapes together with stone kitchen tools). I’ve had great experiences using this flour, my sensitive gut responds happily (maybe owning to the prebiotic nature of it). I’ve had trouble with cassava and tapioca both, I avoid nuts flours and coconut flour,  so it’s a game changer to find this. Though a teeny bit gritty, I find the flavor to be pleasant, sweet and melds well with all the baking I’ve tried. Definitely give it a try.

Hibernating warm and cozy with baked goods all winter truly appeals. (Leave me recipe ideas to develop in comments!).

  I used Organic Gemini TigerNut Flour, found at my local health food store. (I give the recipe for the Banana Bread version below).

Apple Gingerbread 

Pre-heat oven to 350*.

Oil a loaf pan.

1 cup tiger nut flour

1/2 cup arrowroot flour (or tapioca)

1/4 cup quinoa flakes (or a nut flour)

3/4 cup coconut sugar

2 tsp psyllium husk powder

2 tsp flax meal

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp dried ginger

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup applesauce

3 Tbsp molasses

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup chopped nuts

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Whisk wet ingredients together well. Pour wet into dry and stir thoroughly to mix.

Scoop it all into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until edges pull slightly away from sides and a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Let cool before slicing in, the loaf will release from the pan easier.

Banana Bread or Muffins (with chocolate) option:
Replace applesauce with mashed banana and molasses with coconut nectar or honey. Omit nutmeg and cloves, use extra cinnamon in their place if you’d like.
For supreme deliciousness add 1/2 cup chocolate chunks and 1/4 cup raw cocoa nibs. Definitely not Paleo.

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