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.