Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Strawberry Basil Almond Muffins (GF, DF)

Welcome to post 2 on gluten-free baking! Gluten-free AND dairy-free. I sound like a whole lotta fun now don’t I?! But the good news is I met a GREAT dietitian who inspired me and made me feel hopeful for the first time in nearly two years, and most importantly made me believe that this crazy stupid elimination diet just might make me feel better. For those of you who feel fine every day it’s probably hard to imagine what it’s like to have pain 24/7/365, but for someone who’s had that for nearly two years, the idea that I might be able to lead a mostly pain-free life is hugely exciting!

So I’ll ask again that you bear with me through this transition – I’ve got a MINIMUM of 6 weeks gluten and dairy free, but chances are this is going to a lifestyle change that impacts how I eat for the rest of my life. Maybe I’ll end up tolerating some amount of gluten and/or dairy, but for the next couple of months, I won’t be making anything with gluten or dairy. I do hope you’ll try some new things along with me, because I promise you, it’s not all bad! It can actually be pretty darn good. I’ve made four gluten-free recipes to date, and they get better each time. Lots of trial and error and learning, and guess what – fun too! Plus, whether you want to believe it or not, gluten is hard for every body to digest, so my new recipes are actually lots more belly-friendly. The aim now is just to make them as delicious as they were before. Got it?! Ok. Enough preaching – let’s get to the good stuff!

So full disclosure: after my first couple of bites of these muffins I told Kevin I thought they were disgusting. They had an unfamiliar taste, a dense and crumbly-almost-grainy texture, and they weren’t really sweet at all. I wrote them off thinking there was NO way this whole gluten-free thing was going to work out for me. And wouldn’t you know – over the course of the morning Kevin and I both kept going back to these muffins over and over, until we’d polished off a few between us! What made all the difference is reminding myself that these are NOT gluten muffins, so I had to see them for what they were, and only that. Once you open your mind, it’s amazing how your tastes can change! Ultimately I ended up really enjoying these muffins – they are very dense and only mildly sweet, but pretty healthy and just felt good to eat.

I’d originally chosen to make this recipe because the photos of the muffins made them look like REAL (read: gluten) muffins. How could they be bad?! But since I’d just acquired some fun new flours, I wanted to play with them, so I took my own creative liberties and used 2 completely unknown to me flours in the mix. I think that’s how I got dense, crumbly muffins as opposed to the beautiful, almost fluffy muffins I was aiming for, but it was a good learning lesson. The icing on the cake was that Kevin kept requesting more of these throughout the week, even though we have PLENTY of gluten-filled baked things in our house. I think that means success!

Strawberry Basil Almond Flour Muffins – Gluten-free, Dairy-free
adapted from Tasty Yummies

3/4 cup blanched almond flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 local farm fresh large brown eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease with nonstick cooking spray.

1) In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour sorghum flour, brown rice flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add in the honey, vanilla and oil and whisk until well combined.
 Add the dry mixture to the wet, stirring until combined. Carefully fold in the strawberries and basil. (For me, I did not “fold,” I had to mix pretty strongly, as the batter was very dense.)

3) Scoop the batter into the muffin tin, filling almost to the top (they won’t rise a lot). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

4) Cool the muffin pan on a wire rack for just five minutes. Gently pop the muffins out to continue cooling on the rack, and enjoy right away, or let cool and then refrigerate in a tightly covered container.

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