Gaining Gluten Free Baking Confidence

In the last several weeks, I’ve just bullied through my fear and baked muffins for breakfast.  Whether they were good (read: edible), or not, was irrelevant.

In my gluten-free journey, I have been too concerned about having the ‘perfect’ baked goods that exactly compare to gluten-based baked goods.  That is a complete fantasy of mine.  From what I’ve tasted, thus far, from GF bakeries and other home bakers of GF products, you can get close but the exact taste and texture of gluten-based baked goods is not something gluten free products can mimic perfectly.  So, I’ve stopped trying and am getting better results! (Weird, right?!)

Getting back to the matter at hand, I made GF muffins 4 days in a row using slightly different recipes each day adjusting to make it better and more palatable for the majority in my family.

The consensus on the best BASIC Gluten Free Muffins is this one:

Blackberry and Strawberry GF Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

1 3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour

1/4 cup Coconut Flour

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

3/4 cup Vegetable Oil  OR 1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine (softened)

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup Half-n-Half (or, your favorite milk alternative)

1 cup of your favorite seasonal fruit, berries, &/or nuts

Preheat oven 425 degrees.  Prepare muffin pan and line with cupcake liners.  Or, spray the muffin pans with gluten free cooking spray.  (Or, use a bit of Earth Balance on a paper towel to grease your muffin pans.)

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl and stir until well blended.

In the bowl of your mixer, add the margarine (or oil).  If using margarine, add sugar and mix until light and fluffy.  Then add, eggs one at a time.  After each egg, mix well until fully incorporated into the sugar margarine batter.

Add half the flour (dry ingredients) mixture to the mixing bowl.  Mix until just combined.  Add 1/2 the milk to the mixing bowl.  Mix until just combined.  Add the rest of the flour mixture.  Mix.  Then the rest of the milk.  Add the two extracts last mixing until just combined.

Now, add your favorite berries and/or fruit to the mixture. (I used blackberries and strawberries!)  If the fruit are large, cut into smaller pieces.  If you are adding nuts, add them now, as well.

Fill your prepared muffin cups to the top.  This mixture rises well.

You can sprinkle the top of your muffins with brown sugar, if you’d like.

Place muffin pans in the oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes (watch carefully!).  [Please note: Gluten Free baked products do not brown as well as gluten-based muffins.]

You can use a piece of gluten free uncooked spaghetti to check for doneness.  If the GF spaghetti comes out clean, the muffins are ready.

Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes then enjoy!

 

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Apple and Pumpkin Picking Make Apple-Nut Muffins! Sort of…

Columbus Day weekend is upon here in the US.  It’s a long weekend and you get to rest relax and try new recipes!  (Okay, so maybe that’s not a thing…)

I did the hunting for a new recipe online and originally wanted pumpkin muffins but quickly decided to switch to apples.  Why?  Because I went apple-picking a few weekends ago and didn’t make one single solitary thing with those fresh-off-the-tree apples!!  Doing my penance now and bought some lovely looking Gala apples for 99-cents a pound from the grocery store.  (Don’t you love apple season??!)

[Total aside: We went apple picking at Harvest Mood Orchard & Farm in North Salem, NY which is 60 miles outside of New York City.  (The apple tree in the picture was off-limits as those apples are not ready yet!)  Did I mention they have awesome pumpkins to pick from pumpkin mile?]

Apple Picking

 

Pumpkin Mile

 

Okay, back to the baking!  After about a quarter of an hour, I happened upon Emeril Lagasse’s apple muffin recipe with a streusel topping.  It seemed like it would be good so off to the grocery went I and the little toddler baby girl.  Yes, a toddler in a grocery store.  I really wanted apple muffins!

AppleNutMuffins_In Oven

I get in and begin putting it all together.  This is the classic dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in the other.  The topping is made in yet a third bowl.  The recipe calls for buttermilk but I used half-n-half (I react a bit better to this form).  As a result, my muffins were not as moist as they could be but still very delicious!  The first day — Sunday — I made them as the recipe called for.  And this was the result…

AppleNutMuffins_Day1

I so did not get to the muffins before my two teenage boys got to them.  So, the test run clearly went well.  But I didn’t like that the streusel topping sank into the muffins.  Tasty but not aesthetically pleasing.

Since there was still another holiday weekend breakfast to be had I did a redo of the muffins and added one additional tablespoon of flour to the topping recipe.  The result?

AppleNutMuffins_Day2

Voila!  A much better product.  The streusel topping could stand a bit more flour to it.  I have found that the crumblier the topping (and the drier) the better it stands up to the heat of the oven and will make a pleasing crumb topping for any baked product.

And today, I DID get to the muffins before the boys did.  It also helped that they were still asleep when the muffins came out of the oven. 🙂

Well, we’re going to The Met to see the new exhibit of Middle Kingdom Egypt which opens today.  I’m a bit geeked about it.  Hope you guys enjoy your day today!

Ta-ta for now,

NB