Teff Date Nut Coffee Quick Bread

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teff date nut coffee quick bread photo by vsimon

Is this temping or what?

I like to play with my food, and new ingredients. There was a bag of teff flour in the freezer, calling me.

There were a couple of ideas floating around in my head. And I searched online for other ideas. There aren’t many recipes online for teff. Maybe because teff is hard to find, it is expensive, and it is brown.

Yes, the flour is beautifully brown. I hear there is an ivory variety, but not at my store. Still, it is a highly nutritious gluten free whole grain. And it tastes good. Learn more about teff, seeds and flour, here.

Most often I use it for simple pancakes. Just teff flour, no mixtures. And the pancakes are brown. I think they are lovely, but some folks will object to the color.

I easily converted a wheat based date bread recipe from allrecipes. This uses just teff flour. Who wants to mix 15, or even three gluten free flours together?

And starches? Forget about it! They are as devoid of nutrition as sugar, so you won’t find them here. Also, there is only half as much sugar as the original recipe. The dates make it plenty sweet, I didn’t want a tooth ache.

Adding xanthan is a must. Using 3 mini tins instead of a regular loaf pan helps too.

The final dish must still taste great, have normal texture, and look inviting. This recipe does it all.

Teff Date Nut Coffee Quick Bread

yield 3 mini loaves

1 cup chopped dates

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

1 cup very hot water

1 1/2 cups teff

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup oil

1 egg, beaten

Warm oven to 350 degrees.

Oil 3 mini loaf pans and put on a rimmed sheet pan for easy movement in and out of the oven.

In a small bowl: mix dates, coffee powder, and water. Set aside while dates plump and the mixture cools a bit.

In a big bowl: mix teff flour, pecans, sugar, xanthan, salt, and soda. Mix thoroughly so there are no clumps of xanthan or soda. Pinch any little clumps of soda with your fingers to break them up.

Add oil and beaten egg to the liquid date mixture. Stir it up well.

Add liquid date mixture to flour mixture. Stir to combine thoroughly. Allow mixture to rest for about 5 minutes so the xanthan can hydrate.

Equally divide batter into 3 mini pans.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Completely cool before cutting.

These freeze beautifully, very nice for make ahead gluten free gifts.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Or, if you must, chance warming in the microwave to thaw. Sans any metal tins of course.


You may like our Chocolate Angel Food Cake, also made with 100% teff flour. See that posting here.

There is a tasty gingerbread recipe by Jacqueline Mallorca here. Scroll way to the end. I made it in a 9” round pan for prettier presentation. And topped it with whipped cream and diced candied ginger.


This post was submitted to the January 2011 edition of Go Ahead Honey, It Is Gluten Free. Hosted by the amazing Lauren at Celiac Teen.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Teff Flour

Devilish Angel Food Cake

chocolate angel food cake photo by vsimon

This ethereal gluten free cake melts in your mouth. It tastes like sweet chocolate air.

It is dairy free, and great plain for every day. Or add a sauce or two for a spectacular treat. As my daughter says, “This is a thousand times better than store bought”. That’s if you can even find it.

Homemade and preservative free, it stays moist for days. Four days on the counter and it still tastes just baked. It gets eaten at our house, so we don’t really know how long it can go.

How hot is your oven? A little story.

We bake this cake for our clients. Since we always cook multiple dishes at once, there is a lot going on in a client’s kitchen. One day, I didn’t really have a handle on how long it was baking. After a while, it seemed long though.

I tested the cake with a thin skewer and it kept coming out a bit moist. But I had added chopped chocolate to the batter that day, I reasoned that was melted on the skewer. The cake had risen to lofty heights, and I tested the top with a finger. It seemed done.

Out of the oven, the cake deflated like a pierced balloon before my eyes. The shrieking sound was mine. The cake ended up half the height it started.

I didn’t have time or ingredients to make it again. It tasted great, but fudgy instead of airy. And it looked small and sad. I cut it into pieces and artfully arranged it on a serving plate to make it look better.

That evening, I received an email that the chocolate angel food cake was “AWESOME!!”” Mind you, this was not a capitalized / multiple exclamation point type of person. I emailed back, “THANKS”, and I wish you saw how awesome it was when I took it out of the oven. 🙂

Long story short, her oven as off 50 degrees. So it did take longer to cook, and I should have cooked it longer than I did. She got the oven fixed.

And she wanted a repeat of the deflated cake. We were never able to duplicate it. But we did find a flourless fudgy cupcake recipe she liked. I’ll post that sometime.

Back to airy angel food cake.

When I started adapting wheat recipes to gluten free, I looked for recipes with a minimal amount of flour. Angel food cakes rely on eggs and sugar for structure. Wheat flour has just a supporting role here. The cocoa functions like flour too. So making this gluten free wasn’t hard.

Teff flour.

Today I used teff flour. Teff naturally pairs with chocolate. It is finely ground, there is no hint of grittiness. Even when when using it alone.

You might be saying, “Darn, I am just out of teff.” Sometimes, teff is hard to find in my grocery store. I have successfully made the same cake with Bob’s Red Mill gluten free blend too, measure for measure.

Please let us know if you make the cake with other gluten free whole grain flours. Like sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat…

Baking chops.

Homemade angel food cake from scratch takes some skill. Though it is still “AWESOME!!!” if you goof. 🙂

People avoid sifting these days, but you do need to sift the flour, cocoa, sugar, and xanthan together. I promise, you will have lumps of unmixed dry ingredients it you skip this step.

And this cake is an exercise in egg foams. You beat the egg whites until they are foamy, then soft peaks, then glossy but not dry peaks. There is some judgment involved here.

But do not be afraid. Just jump in and make this lovely cake, it is the best way to experience perfect peaks.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

serves 12 metric measures
2/3 cup teff flour 95 gm
1/2 cup pure cocoa powder,
not cocoa drink mix
40 gm
3/4 cup sugar 150 gm
1/4 teaspoon xanthan 1 gm
1/2 teaspoon salt 4 gm
1-1/2 cup egg whites (11-12 egg whites) 360 ml
1 tablespoon very strong coffee 15 ml
1 tablespoon vinegar 15 ml
1 teaspoon cream of tartar 3 gm
12 tablespoons sugar 150 gm

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Sift the teff flour, cocoa, 3/4 cup sugar, and xanthan together three times into a medium bowl. Set aside.

Put the salt, egg whites, coffee, vinegar, and cream of tarter in a very large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. The mixture will be foamy.

Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture increases in volume about 5 times. And holds very soft peaks that flop over when you lift up the beaters.

Gradually beat in the remaining sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Beat to glossy, but not dry or stiff peaks.

Very gently fold in the sifted flour mixture, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Stirring wildly will deflate the air you just mixed into the foam, and you want to keep all the air you can.

After you think the flour is well mixed, fold about ten times more. I seem to always have unmixed streaks in the finished cake if I don’t do this.

Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan. It has a column in the middle and a removable bottom. Do not use a nonstick tube pan. The batter needs some texture on the side of the pan to cling to.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Invert pan and cool at least 2 hours. The cake will set during this time and maintain it’s height. If the pan doesn’t have “feet”, you can slip it upside down over a glass bottleneck.  Even baked properly, cooling it right side up, the cake is going to shrink some.

Super Simple Sauces

1. Thin preserves with water and add fresh fruit.

2. Thin peanut butter with an equal amount of water, stir until smooth.

3. Thin sour cream with water and add a bit of sugar and vanilla.

Giving Thanks for Gluten Free Grains in the Garden

Do you know anyone else who has grown any gluten free grains in their backyard garden? No? Neither do we.

That didn’t stop us. We planted amaranth, sorghum, teff, and flax this year. Just as in the rest of the garden, there were some successes and some we will not repeat.

Even though we will not plant most of these next year, we enjoyed trying them. We know our grains are organic. We know they are not contaminated with wheat. We built up our internal supply of vitamin D. 😉 Our pantry is full. We have a small plot of fertile land. These are all good things. Things we are very thankful for.

We encourage you to grow a garden, or to grow something next year. Please share with us what you grow. It is such a rewarding experience, and you will have much to be thankful for too.

I cook with all of these grains and seeds, and have posted before with recipes. I’ll add a garden review here, and you can click on links for previous posts.

amaranth flower

amaranth flower photo by vsimon


Amaranth is the clear winner here. From just a small packet, it produced nearly 2 pounds of seeds, harvested over 2 months. We cook the seeds for hot breakfast cereal. And pop them for a tiny version of popcorn.

Early in the season, we also harvested the leaves and stems. Steamed tender young stems taste just like asparagus! Later in the year the leaves and stems get too tough to eat.

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young amaranth leaves and stems photo by lsimon

Amaranth is also worthy of planting in the flower garden. Ours got 8 feet tall, with striking flowers.


I don’t really consider flax a gluten free grain. It turned out to be the same as flax I had grown in the flower garden. It has airy leaves, with pretty little sky blue flowers. The thought of harvesting it hadn’t occurred to me before.

Vince ordered it this year from Bountiful Gardens, where it was listed with grains. And I often add ground flax seed in gluten free baking. So he thinks of it as a gluten free grain.

flax plant with seed heads

flax gone to seed photo by vsimon

We didn’t get much of a harvest, only 3 oz. A ground squirrel was well fed though, he ate more than we did. It is far easier to buy flax seed in the store. And so we do.

White Seeded Popping Sorghum

We love sorghum, flour and syrup. The plant looks just like corn stalks with an exploded ear of corn at the top.


sorghum plant photo by vsimon

In our cold wet spring, it germinated very poorly. But once it took hold, it was fun to watch. We harvested over 4 pounds of seeds.

I won’t be making flour out of it. I don’t have the equipment and this really is not enough. We aren’t boiling down the stems for syrup either. That is just too hard core for me.

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sorghum seeds, raw and cooked photo by vsimon

We have cooked the seeds in a slow cooker. It tastes just like corn, and smells just like cooked corn. The seeds are smaller, and creamy white.

It will be pleasant to wake up to a steamy, fragrant bowl of sorghum seeds for breakfast on a wintery morning.

They could be used for a grain side dish too. Like rice, or quinoa.

We tried popping them, without success, and despite the name. We tried several times, and tried several methods.

They did get toasty tasty though. I thought this could be a crunchy addition to trail mix. And we have a lot of seeds to use.

Still, no need to repeat these. We will buy our sorghum flour and syrup in the store next year. And we can live without the seeds.


The teff was sad. The teff grew well enough. It is short, only 3 feet tall. The leaves are soft and arching.

But the seeds are so tiny I don’t know how they are harvested. They just disappear. There are seeds in this picture. Really, there are. They are hard to see even up close.

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teff plant with seeds photo by vsimon

We threshed the teff and got a whopping 1.2 ounces (1/4 cup) seed. And it is nearly impossible to clean the chaff away. If you blow on it, it goes, and so does the seed.

We will be buying teff seeds and flour in the store too.

Possibilities for next year

Maybe buckwheat, millet, and quinoa. We will keep you posted.

Update: Read Linda’s guest post on Mother Earth News.