GUEST POST: Priya’s Gluten-Free Cinnamon-Maple Muffins

September 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

I want to take a minute to give my childhood chum, Priya (writer for the deliciously delightful “muffins on sunday” blog) a mongo-mega-super-dooper thank you!  She not only came up with a kick-tush muffin for this gluten-free carb-o-holic, but she was also willing to write up a guest post and share her secrets of success with you. I’m thrilled, two-fold: First, I’m delighted to get this blog back in gear, thanks to Priya.  (On this note: I have one more month on the homestead in Maine; after that, I’ll resume blog-business as usual!)  But more than this, I’ve been so excited to share my friend with you!

Oct 21 Update: I made a slight alteration to this recipe so that it jives with the SCD diet and fellas – no exaggeration – this is my favorite breakfast.  I’m smitten.  (See SCD diet notes at the bottom.)

Take it away, Priya:

is it ok to kick a guest post off with a confession? i’ll go for it: regina’s blog was the first food blog i started reading regularly. it was a couple of years ago and coincided with some big life changes. a recent convert to vegetarianism, i had also just moved across an ocean to germany to do a masters degree. while i assumed some major changes would accompany this major move, one thing i did not expect was just how central a role cooking would come to occupy in my new life.

for better or (more likely!) worse, eating out in america is pretty dang cheap. throughout college, i would often grab dinner out multiple nights a week and not bat an eyelash. what i discovered in germany was that this luxury was no longer affordable (excluding, of course, the university cafeteria, where thousands flock to each day between the hours of 12 and 2pm for a bargain lunch). in three years in germany, i estimate i ate out no more than 15 times. total!

the wonderful upside? learning to cook! mostly through reading blogs (thank you regina! thank you internet!) and fumbling awkwardly around in the kitchen, all the while trying just as awkwardly in broken german to reassure my new roommates that there was nothing to worry about (note: there was plenty to worry about). but i happened to discover that muffins were one thing i was particularly decent at. i started making them every sunday, in fact, and a cooking blog was born.

for regina, i wanted to make a tasty muffin that was gluten-free and autumn-inspired. these cinnamon maple muffins fit the bill. a batter of coconut flour, eggs, and yogurt is drizzled with cinnamon, maple syrup, and almonds right before baking. the result: light, fluffy, sweet muffins perfect any time of day.


gluten-free cinnamon maple muffins
makes about 6 muffins, inspired by comfy belly (http://comfybelly.com/)

Ingredients for the Muffins:
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1/3 cup plain soy yogurt
1/2 cup maple syrup

Ingredients for the Topping:
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Method:

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. grease a muffin tin or fill with cupcake liners.

make the muffins by combining all the dry ingredients and mixing well. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way with batter.

drip the cinnamon and maple syrup topping over the top of each muffin. you can use a fork to poke the topping into the batter to get it to seep through into the muffin.

bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. enjoy!

Diet Notes: Gluten-Free.

This muffin can easily be tweaked to fit the SCD-diet.  Here’s what I (Regina) do:
Ingredients for the Muffins:
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/3 cup plain SCD-yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)

Advertisements

Meal in a Muffin: Arugula, Butternut Squash & Sharp Cheddar Flecks

November 15, 2010 § 6 Comments

I am a muffin FANATIC.  I live for mornings that jump-start with mongo-muffins with cracked tops, splitting open, leaking berries and hiding clumps of nuts and oats.  The other day, a new muffin-recipe caught my eye: A savory, no-sweet-stuff muffin.  I’ve made savory muffins before, but mine were kind of like quicheHeidi’s pumpkin and feta muffins, on the other hand, are real muffins: Their base is two cups of flour rather than a slurry of egg and cottage cheese, and they’re flecked with delicious-sounding add-ins.

I’ve tweaked Heidi’s recipe and included some of my most favorite flavors. These are not my standard, googly-eyed breakfast muffins bulging with dried fruit and nuts or chocolate and bananas or smelling of all spice and nutmeg.  These fellas are dense, speckled with sunflower seed crunches, snappy arugula bites, sweet butternut squash hunks and loads of flavor from a couple scoops of whole grain mustard and a fluffy pile of grated Parmesan and cheddar cheese.  Packed with veggies and whole grains, these guys are a stand-alone meal.  While I don’t dig into them for breakfast (I cave to my sweet muffin varieties with homemade pumpkin coffee on these chillier, Fall mornings) I’ve rather taken to these toothsome, squashy-mustardy bites accompanied by a bowl of creamy tomato soup or my favorite lip-smackin’ chili.

Ingredients:
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt, pepper

2 cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 handful arugula
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, sharp
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 eggs
3/4 cup plain almond milk (or milk preference)

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roast cubed butternut squash with a sprinkling of sea salt, pepper and olive oil to coat.  Bake until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.  Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.

2.  Meanwhile, mix flour, powder and sea salt in a separate bowl and gently mix with a fork.  To the flour mixture, add arugula, parsley, sunflower seeds and cheeses.  Toss with a fork and set aside.

3.  When butternut squash is tender, remove from oven and combine with flour mixture.  The heat from the squash will help wilt the arugula (and make the flavor more subtle and less bitter).  Add liquids and mustard to the batter and gently stir until totally incorporated.  Scoop into greased muffin tins.  Depending on the size of the tin, cooking time will vary.  In a 350 degree oven, cook smaller muffins (12-to-a-tin) for approximately 22-25 minutes.  Larger muffins (see above photo) may take 30 to 33 minutes.  Pierce muffins with a knife to test; if clean, remove from oven.  Let cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes to set.  Cool completely before packaging.  These muffins freeze-and-thaw wonderfully and stay fresh on the counter for several days.

Herbed Buttermilk-Quinoa Cornbread

May 14, 2010 § 5 Comments

This cornbread is a riff off of Heidi’s recent Skillet Bread recipe.  My version has no cream or sugar and isn’t remotely custard-like, but it’s the moistest, most savory corn bread I’ve had in eons.  I tip my hat to the dried herbs stirred into the batter for the good flavor.  The good texture is a result of two cups of buttermilk and a little something else: a cup-and-a-half of fluffed, hot-outta-the-pot quinoa.  That’s right!  Quinoa!

I have an off-and-on-again relationship with this spiral-y, complete-protein, high amino acid, pseudocereal.  I’ve recently rejoined the fan club.  A few weeks ago I made a salad featuring this grain speckled with crunchy nuts, mint, parsley and a handful of dried fruit, plumped-up with Meyer lemon juice.  I never thought I’d use the adjectives “lip-smacking” and “addictive” in the same sentence with quinoa, but the salad was both of those things.  It was killer.  And now this cornbread: the quinoa isn’t chucked in just for high-protein’s-sake, it truly enhances the cornbread.  I never thought I’d see the day!

The bread will be finished when the knife comes out clean and the bread has given away from the sides.  At this point, I popped it under the broiler (per Heidi’s suggestion) for about 2 minutes, just to deepen the color on the top.  Two other notes: I’d suggest to begin baking this bread about an hour before you’d like to eat it.  It takes about 50 minutes to cook, but the good flavor gets overwhelmed by the piping hot bread.  Let it sit a few minutes before serving.  Second, I like to make the quinoa just before baking the bread.  If you’re in a time crunch, feel free to make a pot of quinoa in advance.  But I’ve found that baking this bread with warm quinoa, plumped with water (leaving no time for any evaporation or drying-out in the fridge) makes the bread all the more moist.

Ingredients:
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried herbs (i.e. mix of thyme, rosemary, oregano, parsley, basil, etc.)

1 + 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted

Methods:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees on convection or 350 degrees in a standard oven.

2.  Using a 2:1 water to quinoa ratio, bring water to a boil on the stove and add quinoa.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid and cook until tender (about 13-16 minutes).  Set aside one and a half cups for this recipe.

3.  Melt butter in your oven proof baking pan or cast iron.  Brush butter up the sides of the pan so the entire surface is coated.  Transfer remaining butter to a heat-proof bowl and let cool for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, mix together dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix well-shaken buttermilk and eggs.  When butter has cooled slightly, add to liquids.

4.  Gently combine flour and hot quinoa to the liquid mixture in alternating batches and stir gently, just until combined.  Pour batter into cast iron/pan and bake for 50-55 minutes until the knife comes out clean and the bread gives away slightly from the sides of the pan.  Once cooked through, you can pop it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes (keep a close eye!) to deepen the color on top.  Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving.

Diet Notes: Nut-free

Chocolate-Chunked Banana Bread

May 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

A few weeks ago I filled my grocery basket with 18 fair trade bananas, on sale at my local supermarket.  Ever since, I’ve been pureeing bananas (hello, banana soft-serve “ice cream”!) around the clock.  But while the “soft-serve” is undeniably addictive and a cinch (blend 1 overly-ripe, frozen banana in a Cuisinart until smooth & top with chocolate!), my obsession these days has been banana bread.  My family and workmate have been extremely obliging, helping me tweak each trial and, at long last, I think we’ve finally nailed a good combination of ingredients.

A few notes about this recipe: Many of my quick breads & muffins use only oil (no butter) to yield a moist bread that has a longer shelf life.  I wanted this bread to be moist, but also firm enough to handle a spread.  I was wary of using only butter because I didn’t want it to be tough and chewy.  So, I dabbled with a new butter/oil experiment: I decided to mix them.  I used half oil, half butter.  I loved the texture and crumb size and was pleased that it maintained its moisture, even after several days on the counter top.

Another note: do be sure to measure the quantity of banana “mush” that you put into the bread.  You don’t want to skimp here.  I’ve experimented with various amounts and want to caution: when I used a mere 1 cup (approximately 3 medium bananas) the results were only so-so.  My workmate determined that there wasn’t enough banana flavor and I thought the bread was denser got stale faster.  Stirring 1.5 cups of banana mush into the mix does the trick.  However, if you only have a scant amount of banana-mush, replace the missing quantity with additional plain, whole-milk yogurt.

To ensure an aesthetically-attractive loaf, nicely cooked through the middle with no burned edges, I suggest taking a peek 45 minutes into the baking time.  If the top looks golden brown, I tent a piece of aluminum foil over the top and curl under the pan edges and continue baking until the knife-test comes out clean (usually just over 1 hour).

One final note: This recipe also makes great muffins.  For one of my trials, I made two different sizes of muffins (small and very small) to give away at work.  If you’d like to do the same, I suggest lowering the oven by 25 degrees (300 degrees on convection; 325 degrees standard oven) and baking between 17-23 minutes, depending on the size of the tin.   The muffins and loaf freeze and thaw perfectly, so don’t hesitate to make in advance and enjoy later in the week.

Ingredients:
1 + 1/2 cup mashed banana (approx. 4 medium-sized)
2 eggs
1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable (or neutral-tasting) oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup dark chocolate, chopped in chunks and slivers

Methods:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees on convection.  Alternatively, heat oven on standard setting at 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan; layer bottom of pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper.

2.  In a mixing bowl, combine mashed banana and sugar.  Beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Melt butter (in an oven-proof dish in the heating oven or in the microwave).  Allow it to cool for a few minutes before adding to the liquid batter.  One at a time, add each egg, followed by the yogurt and vanilla.

3.  In a separate bowl mix flours, soda and sea salt.  Chop chocolate into chunks and combine with flour mixture.  (This will prevent the chocolate from falling to the bottom of the loaf.)

4.  Bake in the oven for 60-70 minutes, but take a peek around 45 minutes.  If your oven runs hot, the loaf might be browning too rapidly on top (mine always does).  If so, tent with tin foil and continue baking.  The loaf will be finished when the knife comes out clean. Let the bread rest for about 5 minutes before removing from the pan.   Cool completely on a wire rack.  This loaf stays good on the counter for several days and freezes and thaws wonderfully.

Diet Notes: Nut-free

“A Hint of Orange” Yogurt Bread

April 3, 2010 § 2 Comments

This past week has come-and-gone with many bleary-eyed yawns and loads of quick breads and muffins.  It’s April and my work schedule has gone topsy-turvy!  My work crew and I are watching and recording pollinators – like hummingbirds and carpenter bees – and blooming flowers at 5:45 every morning, on a small hill that’s a part of the Tucson Mountain range.  I love mornings, but I’ve got to say, with a 4:30am wake-up call, even yogurt – my breakfast of champions – sounds miserable.  Instead, I’ve been packing thick wedges of sweet and savory breads in my backpack all week that I enjoy during the 6 o’clock hour.  I’ve been nibbling slices of this moist, aromatic bread up and down the trails, while catching glimpses of deer, nuthatches and on Friday, a roadrunner all puffed up from the early morning chill…  Now that’s a breakfast tradition that’s pretty tough to beat!

This loaf and I have been through a lot of trials – this last week I think we hit five!  I’ve dabbled with the sugar ratio and found that 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar is my favorite.  However, if you’re looking to scale back, remove the evaporated cane sugar entirely (not the brown sugar – it’s key!) and replace it with 1 tablespoon of molasses.  I’ve tried it and it was still quite good if you’re looking for a more savory bread.  One word about the bulk of this bread – the whole wheat flour & oat bran: This loaf isn’t as dense as a brick!  Thanks to the oil and brown sugar (which are hygroscopic), this bread retains great moisture.  And the yogurt and baking powder also contribute to the fluffy texture.  A final note about the baking time: Don’t be alarmed if the top of the bread looks as if it’s browning too rapidly; when fully cooked, the edges will be brown and the top will turn a golden-caramel color; double-check with the knife test just to be sure.  This loaf freezes wonderfully and also stays moist for several days on the counter-top.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 eggs
1.5 teaspoons orange (or grapefruit) zest

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt

Methods:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees on convection. If your oven doesn’t have convection, amp up the heat to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a bread pan with parchment paper.  Grease parchment paper and pan and set aside.

2.  Combine oil, sugars, eggs and orange zest.

3.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Toss with a fork.

4.  Combine portions of flour mixture and yogurt alternatively into the liquid mixture until just incorporated.  Don’t over-beat or gluten will form, yielding a tougher bread.  Pour batter into bread pan and bake for 44-47 minutes until top is dark, golden brown and a knife comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan.  Cool completely on the counter.

Diet Notes: Nut-free

Banana Crumb Muffins

February 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

I’ve been experimenting with a new muffin recipe.  While I promise not to walk you through each of my blunders, Cooks’ Illustrated-style, I thought I’d take a moment to share two distinct changes I made from the original recipe, and why I veered off course.

If you take a peek at the ingredient list below, you’ll see a 1/3 of a cup of vegetable oil.  The original banana crumb recipe – inspired by Marcia, a Tucson Bunco Babe – called for 1/3 cup melted butter.  While that recipe yields delicious, flavorful results, I found that when I swapped oil for butter, the muffin was so moist it seemed to melt in my mouth.  What’s more, when I used oil, the shelf life of the leftovers was longer and maintained the texture, while my buttery muffins grew stale and chewier in the same amount of time.

The second distinct change I made was the inclusion of brown sugar in the batter.  I recently learned from the latest Cooks’ Illustrated magazine that brown sugar – like corn syrup – is hygroscopic (meaning both corn syrup and brown sugar attract and retain water).  That’s why cookie dough that contains high levels of either of these two ingredients yields moister, chewier cookies. The original muffin batter calls for 3/4 cup of sugar.  I swapped out a third of the sugar and replaced it with brown sugar.  The results were wonderful: the muffins were moist with a subtle, warmer flavor that I attributed to the more molasses-y taste of brown sugar.

For the record: I love dense muffins (especially berry-bran!).  But this time, I wanted to create a light, airy muffin that you might eat with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea.  I was aiming for coffee cake, not pound cake.

Muffin Ingredients:
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 bananas, mashed (approx. 1.5 cups)
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/4 cup lightly-packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Crumb Topping:
1/4 cup lightly-packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Methods:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease muffin tins.  In a medium-sized bowl combine flour, soda, powder, salt and spices.  Combine with a fork.

2.  In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg.  Add banana, sugars, oil and vanilla.  Mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Slowly add flour mixture to liquid, gently stirring.  Stir just until incorporated; don’t over-beat.  (If the batter is over-stirred, gluten will form, yielding a denser muffin.)

3.  Prepare crumb mixture: combine flour, cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.  Break in butter until the dough resembles coarse peas.  Set aside.

4.  Ladle muffin batter into greased tins.  Fill 3/4 of the way to the top.  Sprinkle with crumb topping.  Bake 15-18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Let sit in muffin tins for about 5 minutes before removing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  These muffins also freeze and thaw wonderfully.

Diet Notes: Nut-free

Uber Healthy, Moist and Savory Pumpkin Bread

November 22, 2009 § 5 Comments

uberhealthypumpkinbread2

Last week my grandma was perusing the “Food” section of our local newspaper and found a bread recipe chock full of flax seed meal and pumpkin puree for fall flavor and moisture.  While the recipe doesn’t explictly say this, I noticed an oil/fat substitution involving a couple of bananas—there is virtually no fat in the entire recipe, save a couple of eggs.

There was a time about three years ago when I was very enthusiastic about fat substitutions.  My cookies had no oil, just apple sauce; my blondies had no butter, just bananas.  Suffice it to say, I ate a lot of cardboard desserts.  It didn’t take long for me to embrace the fatty stuff.

So, it was with a bit of skepticism that I glanced over this “healthy” recipe.  My grandma encouraged me to try it anyway, so I swallowed my pride and bought a new bag of flax meal.

This recipe made two loaves, both of which were devoured in 3 days by my entire family (I single-handedly demolished one of them).  Even after three days, the bread retained its moisture, chewy texture and warm taste of fall spices.  I made a couple of tweaks to the original recipe (my version below), but I didn’t alter the shockingly high amount of flax seed meal (3/4 of a cup).  I imagine, though, if you don’t have that much on hand in your fridge, you could substitute oat bran for some of the flax seed meal.  That’s my hunch.

I loved eating a thick slice of this loaf, slightly toasted,  smeared with a generous dollop of raw, toasted almond butter.  And for the record: if you shy away from banana breads, the fall spices/pumpkin supersede the banana-taste.

Ingredients:
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup ground flax meal
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 + 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Methods:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 22 x 11 x 6cm loaf pans.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk liquids.

3.  In a separate bowl, stir dry ingredients.  Add liquids to dry, stirring lightly, just until incorporated.

4.  Bake 60-70 minutes, until top of each loaf is golden-brown and a knife/toothpick comes out clean.  The bread will give away from the sides.

5. Remove from oven and let cool for a few hours until cool or barely warm.  The breads will slide right out of each pan.  Cool completely before sealing in an airtight bag or container.  These breads also freeze well; wrap in plastic wrap and seal in an airtight bag to freeze.  On occasion, I’ve found that plastic-wrap can lock in moisture and leave gooey spots on breads when left thawing; I recommend letting it thaw without any plastic around it.

Diet Notes: Nut-free

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Bread category at Regina Rae.