Saturday, October 15, 2011

Banana Cranberry Muffins

It's been a while since I've posted. It's not that I haven't been baking; actually, I've been on a huge muffin-production kick lately, much to the Fast One's joy. It's just that I tend to rely so heavily on the already-excellent recipes by pros like the Gluten Free Girl and the Gluten Free Goddess that I don't feel I have much to add, even when I do riff a bit on the originals.
I have been loving the muffins though.

First I flipped for Shauna's recipe - template, really - for whole grain gluten-free muffins. It's terrific, and allows for a million variations. It's also gum-free, so it'd be a perfect starting recipe for the newly gf. I usually use 250g of some combination of teff, sorghum, millet and/or almond flour and 100g of starch (tapioca, arrowroot and/or sweet rice). Using her simple guidelines, though, you can create a whole-grain blend that works with what you have on hand.

In place of buttermilk, I use coconut milk with a bit of acid - a tablespoon or so of lemon juice or mild vinegar - to total 300g. This works spendidly to produce a moist and tender muffin. (I tried it with rice milk once, and it worked, but not as well.).

The first several batches were blueberry walnut, of course, since we'd splurged on the TEN POUND BOX of organic blueberries offered by our CSA every year. I also made a batch with a whole lemon's juice (as part of the coconut milk mixture) and zest, with blueberries and cashews - incredibly decadent.

But then summer gave way to Fall, which sparked an inexplicable craving to bake with pumpkin (looking around the blogosphere, this seems to be a common affliction...).

Enter Karina's Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins.

Oh, yeah, and there had to be cranberries. I can't tell you why, but with the chill of that first brisk Fall evening came the conviction that I needed pumpkin and cranberries, post-haste.

I initially didn't modify the recipe other than adding halved cranberries, but I did have to convert it to weighed measure. I just love baking by weight, and the idea of facing that army of measuring cups again gives me the heebie-jeebies. Today though, I saw a post by Kim at Affairs of Living for banana cranberry muffins. I happened to have bananas and cranberries waiting to be used... I opted to adapt Karina's pumpkin muffin recipe to be made with banana - heck, I'd already done the math to convert everything to grams! And because I'm not terribly wise, I also made the decision to try skipping the xanthan gum, adding some psyllium in its place (an ingredient I've never used before).

Well, it worked! So I thought I'd share my banana version, but if you're a weight-baker like me, you can easily convert these back to pumpkin - just see the asterisked note at the bottom.

Banana Cranberry Muffins
Approx. 18 muffins

Whisk together:
146 g sorghum flour*
37 g coconut flour
56 g almond flour
60 g tapioca or arrowroot starch
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Kosher salt (or .5 tsp table salt)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
dash nutmeg

Add in:
250 g brown sugar or palm sugar*
71 g oil (I use grapeseed & coconut)
2 eggs (or egg replacer)
1 Tbsp vanilla
245 g mashed banana (2-3)*
2 tsp Psyllium husk powder (ground flax or chia should work also)

Then add:
70 g coconut milk mixed with 1/2 tsp lemon juice (or vinegar)
(add up to 35g more as needed)

Scant 1 cup fresh cranberries, halved (you may want to shake the cut berries in a colander to remove some of the seeds, which can be bitter)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk dry ingredients, then add remaining ingredients as indicated. Fill paper-lined muffin cups to the top of the paper. Sprinkle with extra walnuts and/or granulated sugar if desired. Bake 22-25 minutes for regular-sized muffins, less for minis.

(*For pumpkin muffins, use 136g sorghum, 290g sugar and 246g pumpkin puree)

These freeze beautifully - I take one or two of them, wrap in a layer of Press & Seal, then overwrap pairs of them in foil. When I get to work, I unwrap the foil and use it to cover the toaster oven rack so i can warm them. Great way to start the workday!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Orange Carrot Muffins with Almond Flour

I don't have many muffin recipes; I have one. I'm sure there are many other fine muffins out there, deserving of my attention, but when it muffin-making time comes around, I can imagine none better than this recipe. The others will have to wait.

It's not mine. It's found here: But it's such a great recipe, beloved of gluten avoiders and eaters alike, that I want to share it here. The fresh citrus zest brings such a bright flavor. They're sweet and gobble-able (I've considered frosting them & calling them carrot cake) but also low-guilt, because the carrots, almond flour & walnuts add protein & lots of nutrients. They're also a great way to use up some winter squash if you sub butternut for carrots.

I follow the recipe pretty faithfully - unusual for me - with a few exceptions/variations:

1. Disregard the stated 50-60 minute baking time! That's probably for a loaf, not muffins. Muffins are done in 22-25 minutes.

2. I've no idea what "mixed spice" is, but pumpkin pie spice works beautifully. Failing that, I'm sure you could sub ginger or more cinnamon.

3. Carrots can be switched out in favor of peeled, grated butternut squash (seeds discarded). Also, I've used up to 250g of carrots/squash, so you don't need to be super-precise with the quantity.

4. Use any citrus zest you happen to have - I've used lemon or lime when I didn't have an orange on hand.

5. Turbinado sugar or coconut palm sugar work fine in place of demerara. The muffins are a bit sweet, so you can cut it down a bit - I used 190g last time, and I'll try 180g next.

6. If you're on the fence about raisins (aka "sultanas") in baked goods, I'd say give it a shot. I like them only in moderation, and 60g is just about the perfect quantity. Or, 70g of mixed raisins and dried cranberries = yum. You can go generous on the walnuts - they're good for you :)

7. I don't like using plain rice flour, so I substitute something healthier - brown rice, sorghum, teff - depending on my mood.

8. If you don't have almond flour, no problem. Just pulse some almonds, blanched or skin-on, in a food processor until they're a cornmeal texture. Just be sure to stop before you get to the almond-butter stage.

9. If you're a gluten-eater, leave the almond flour in, but substitute an equal weight of regular flour for the rice & tapioca; omit the xanthan gum.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Crusty GFCF artisan bread?

Shauna aka the Gluten Free Girl posted a lovely recipe for a gluten-free artisan boule bread - the recipe happens to be dairy free as well - which I've been meaning to try it out. I can count on one hand the number of times I've made from-scratch yeast bread, and I didn't have one of the main ingredients on hand, but I STILL didn't manage to screw up this recipe. It's actually really simple, no-knead, and you could easily make this without a Kitchen-Aid. And the result? ohmylord.

Since I'd run out of brown rice flour, I substituted 1/2c millet, 1/2c teff, and 1/4c sweet rice This, according to my math, added up to the same weight as 1c brown rice flour, though higher in protein. If you're a by-weight baker, the weights I used were: 158g brown rice (or my subs); 102g sorghum, 180g tapioca. I also left by bread to rise and rest longer than called for. These changes weren't willful; just the way it worked out. My bread turned very dense and moist with very small bubbles, a great crunchy crust (not super-thick) and wonderful sourdough-like flavor. I can only imagine the results if I would've followed directions ;)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hale & Hearty

For fans of Hale & Hearty Soups, I emailed the company and got their latest gluten-free soup list with nutritional information, dated March 2010. The list also tags soups that are vegetarian, low-fat or dairy-free - which is one reason I adore H&H. The other, of course, is that their soups are so good!

I uploaded the file to my Google docs - view/download it here:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Flourless Chocolate Cake/Cupcakes

This rich, fudgy, amazing cake is so easy to make, I can whip it up on a weeknight. It's already gluten free and dairy free, but I wanted to try an egg-free version for vegan friends. The eggless version sunk in the middle, and that recipe could use some further tweaking, but it was delicious nonetheless, and the dent made a great holder for extra frosting :).

Chocolate Can o' Cake
(Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free)

1 can (15 ounce) garbanzo or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp semisweet chocolate chips
3 eggs*
dash xanthan gum (optional - it's fine without, but a little crumblier)
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant coffee
1/3 tsp baking powder (i.e. a heaping 1/4 tsp)

*Vegan option: substitute 1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer whisked into 1/4 cup cold coffee or water and 1/4 cup silken tofu.

1. Preheat oven to 350. Rinse and drain beans. Prepare your baking vessel - a greased & sprinkled (with GF flour or cocoa powder) cake pan or 10 cupcake liners

2. Place chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl. Nuke on medium for 90 seconds, stir, then continue in 20-second intervals until melted.

3. Meanwhile, blitz beans, eggs (or replacer), and xanthan (if using) in food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides halfway through. Add remaining ingredients, except chocolate, and blend to mix. Finally, add chocolate and blitz, scraping down the sides once or twice to ensure everything is evenly mixed.

4. Pour promptly into your cake pan or cupcake liners - as the mixture sits, it will get thick & harder to spread. Bake time will depend on the size/shape of your pan - an 8" round will take 45 minutes or so, and cupcakes take 20-25 minutes. Check doneness with a toothpick inserted in the center.

5. Embellish with frosting, fruit, nuts, or simply dust with powdered sugar. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Notes: Any of the flavoring ingredients (coffee, vanilla, cocoa) can be omitted if you don't have them on hand, but they really help to deepen the chocolate flavor. A teaspoon of cinnamon is also a welcome addition, for a warm, Mexican chocolate flavor - you can even add a touch of cayenne if you're feeling bold. Mix in walnuts or top with sliced almonds, if you wish.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Irish Cream for the dairy-free soul

This gluten-free dairy-free thing isn't so bad. I eat pretty well, and most of the time, I don't miss a thing. There are a few creamy, glutenous delights, though, that every so often give me a moment's pause.

Bailey's Irish Cream is one of those things.

I'd found a recipe last year and made homemade "Bailey's", using heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk. I'd given some as gifts and had requests to make it again, but I can't make a recipe I can't taste. I also didn't want to make it with soy creamer - largely because I didn't think meat-and-potatoes folk would respond very enthusiastically to a gift of processed soy product, no matter how good it tasted.

Then, this fall, I fell in love with coconut milk. In custards, in pumpkin pie, it's a wonderful sub for cream or evaporated milk. For gift-giving purposes, coconut milk sounds a lot more enticing an ingredient than soy.

This recipe may get some tweaks down the line, but the first batch is tasting pretty awesome.

Coconut Milk Irish Cream
Vegan, gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, yummy
Yield: Approx. 1 quart

13.5-fluid oz. can of coconut milk (not light)*
1 cup Almond Breeze, chocolate flavor
1 tsp instant coffee (or a shot of espresso)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
dash almond extract (optional)
1/3 cup brown sugar (scant)
1/3 cup white sugar (scant)
1/4 tsp kosher salt (for table salt, use less)
1 cup whiskey

Whisk everything but whiskey in a large mixing bowl (or blender, if you prefer). Adjust flavor to taste, then add whiskey. (If you trust me implicitly, go ahead and mix it all at once, but after the first couple of whiskey-infused "samples", your judgment may become impaired.)


*My coconut milk comes in 13.5 ounce cans. If you have a larger can, go ahead and use it without adjustments. Also, the creaminess of coconut milk varies from brand to brand. The Chaokoh I bought at an Asian market (under $1 a can!) and Whole Foods brands are both pretty rich. Avoid "light" coconut milks, which are simply watered down. If you want extra decadent Irish Cream, you can open a second can of coconut milk without shaking it first, and skim off some of the coconut cream that has risen from the top.

*It may seem strange to use chocolate milk, but yes, chocolate is a traditional ingredient. You can substitute another brand, or make your own with dairy-free chocolate syrup and the milk of your choice.

*The mixture may taste strong at first, but let it mellow in the fridge for at least a day before you make any drastic adjustments. It should smooth out with time, and very possibly improve - the dairy version is said to be even better after a month, and I see no reason why coconut milk would make that any different.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Seems like some things shouldn't be dairy-free...

I couldn't resist picking up some gluten-free, vegan "bleu cheese" I spotted at Fairway. Blue cheese is something I thought I'd never again be within ten feet of. Once home, I just had to steal a taste - the texture is more like very firm tofu, but the flavor is not entirely unbluecheeselike. I wasn't expecting miracles, after all. This definitely has potential.

Will report back when I can answer the all-important question: How does it taste with BACON?

Sunergia Soyfoods site