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Rhubarb, white, and blueberry muffins (gluten-free, dairy-free) July 2, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking, photography, younger son.
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No one in our house likes rhubarb. It’s one of those things that all the German grandmas would bring to church potlucks, and my parents would say, “Isn’t this great!” Meanwhile, my face is about to implode from puckering.

My worst experience was in high school. I had a crush on someone, and when I went to visit him, his mom made rhubarb bars. I had to impress this boy’s mother, so I didn’t say how much I hated it. No, I suffered through the whole bar, eating every last bite. Later, he decided he didn’t want to date me, and I realized that if he couldn’t appreciate how much I’d suffered, he obviously wasn’t the one for me. No man is worth eating rhubarb for.

I was glad, therefore, when I met Mike, and in one of those deep, get-to-know you conversations, I found out he disliked rhubarb as well. He comes by it genetically: his dad hated it so much he would change oil over the rhubarb plants in their yard.

Therefore, when I opened our CSA box last week and saw three pounds of the stuff, I thought, “Oh, crud.” Actually, I thought something else, but I’m too polite to say it in a blog post. I tried to pawn it off on my parents, but no luck.

Anyway, I spent some time pondering and decided to at least try it. I won’t eat tons of it, but I concocted a recipe that uses a tolerable portion. And the rest of the muffin is so good that I don’t mind eating around it. I also discovered that the smaller the pieces that you chop it into, the less intense the flavor. (Now, if you really like rhubarb, cut it into big pieces and substitute a half cup of rhubarb for the blueberries.) I figured it must be okay since the younger son, who is the food critic of the house, really enjoyed them.

And since the Fourth of July is coming up, it seemed appropriate to give it a patriotic theme.

Rhubarb, white, and blueberry muffins

Rhubarb, white, and blueberry muffin

Rhubarb, white, and blueberry muffin

Makes 12 muffins

Dry ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (if you like to blend your own, I’d use 140 gms or 1 cup white rice flour, 46 gms or 1/3 cup potato starch and 26 gms or 1 tbsp + 2 tsp tapioca flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (leave out if using a flour mix that includes this)

Wet ingredients

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter (for dairy free, use coconut oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (for dairy free, use 1 cup full-fat coconut milk from the can (I like Thai Kitchen brand) + 2 tbsp lime juice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup diced rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place muffin papers in muffin tray or grease and flour muffin tray.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine thoroughly all dry ingredients except sugar and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream butter (or coconut oil) and sugar together. (If using coconut oil and it’s liquidy, I suggest sticking it in the fridge to let it solidify. Cool coconut oil works much better for this. If you’re still not having much luck, go to the next step, using cold eggs, but mix for much longer and it will cream.)
  5. Add eggs and mix for another 20-30 seconds.
  6. Add buttermilk (or coconut milk and lime juice), vanilla, and dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  7. Add rhubarb and blueberries and stir until evenly distributed. (Note: I prefer using fresh blueberries because frozen tend to ‘streak’ the muffins. If all you have is frozen, though, pull them out right before you’re going to add them and toss to coat them with some potato starch.)
  8. Distribute batter into muffin tray.
  9. Bake for approximately 28 minutes.
  10. Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes and then move to cooling tray.

 

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3 Karrot Gluten-Free Muffins February 23, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking.
Tags: , , , , , ,
2 comments

(Note: I’ve made a couple changes since I originally posted this.  It produces much fluffier muffins, and fluffy muffins are good in my book.)

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I could tell you what I’ve been up to lately, but it’s pretty much the same thing I’ve been up to for the past year and a half: I’m either working on a paper or a proposal…although now and again I’m trying to help my student out.  But really, it’s kind of getting silly to say this as it hardly changes.

I have, however, been spending a lot of time perfecting my carrot cake recipe.  One day, a few weeks ago, I had this horrid craving for carrot cake.  The problem I have is that a lot of gluten-free food in general tastes pretty awful: I haven’t had one I like yet.  Second, even if I did like them, most mixes I come across are not FODMAPs friendly…meaning they have some ingredient or other that will make me sick.  (If you’re not sure what this is, you can read about it here.)  Finally, I try, as much as possible, to eat paleo.  Unfortunately, FODMAPS friendly paleo foods are rather tough to come by.  Most use nuts or coconut flour (or taste even worse than the run-of-the-mill gluten-free foods), so those are out.

I decided I had to come up with something myself.  I added the condition that my friends who eat ‘normal’ diets must enjoy eating it, too.  I am pretty sure this one succeeded.  I also tried, very hard, to make it mostly carrots.  I don’t think I succeeded, but I did manage to at least balance the carrot to flour ratio…it’s much better than the standard 3:1 flour to carrot ratio in most recipes.  (Most carrot cake, in my opinion, is just spice cake pretending to be healthier than it is.)   I am aware that most people don’t consider sugar or brown sugar to be paleo, but those, along with molasses, are the only FODMAPs-friendly sweeteners I can handle.

I’ve finally perfected my recipe, so I’ll share it below.  I’m very excited because it’s one of the very few baked goods I’ve made lately that I can actually eat myself.  I will warn you that it’s really a pain to make, but it’s totally worth it.  However, I’m quite serious when I say not to deviate from the instructions.  As much as I love kitchen short-cuts, you don’t want to just throw everything in the food processor and call it good.

And one last note: while you may want to try substitutions, be very careful about maintaining the moisture balance in these muffins.  I learned the hard way (and repeatedly) that one little change can leave you with hockey pucks or mushy gunk in short order.  Therefore, this recipe won’t work if you decide to throw honey in for the brown sugar.  You CAN get away with 1/4 c. of a dry sweetener instead, like palm sugar or raw cane sugar, if you want to try something else.

If you do make changes, please let me know so that I can pass them on to anyone else who is interested.

carrot_muffins

3 Karrot Muffins

Makes about 12 muffins.

Ingredients

  • 11-12 oz. fresh raw peeled carrots
  • 2/3 c. dehydrated carrot (make sure it’s not processed on the same equipment as wheat…I buy them online)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 c. potato starch
  • 1/3 c. tapioca flour
  • 1/3 c. sweet rice flour
  • 1/4 c. white rice flour
  • 1/4-1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Optional cream cheese ‘filling’

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. sweetener (sugar, maple syrup, whatever)

I’m going to start with the cream cheese filling: you don’t have to do it.  If you’d like to do it, there’s an easy way and a harder way.  The easy way is just to cut your 4 oz of cream cheese into 12 chunks of the same size.  It tends to dry and crack a bit though, so the harder way is to blend the cream cheese and coconut oil (and sweetener, if you want some) in a small bowl using a mixer.  This will have a nicer texture and look nicer, but it doesn’t really taste much different.  Put it in the fridge for later.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Mix the eggs and dried carrots in a separate bowl.  Set aside.  Leave this sitting for a while.  In essence, you’re using your eggs to rehydrate the dried ones.

While waiting for the carrots to rehydrate, add the following dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl:  potato starch, tapioca flour, sweet rice flour, white rice flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.  Combine thoroughly.

Place the raw carrots in a food processor or blender (if it’s a really good blender) and run until the carrots are finely chopped.  (By finely chopped, I mean ‘not quite a puree but as close as the machine can get.’)  Next add the dried carrots and egg mixture.  The eggs should whip up and give the mixture a lighter orange color, and it should look like a puree.   (Note: don’t shortcut and throw it all in the food processor at once unless your machine is VERY good.  I tried that and ended up with a serving of baked carrots in the middle of a couple of muffins.)

Before you take the next step, get your muffin pan ready.  I generally like to use foil muffin papers for these as they seem to soak through paper liners.  I also suspect the foil liners do a better job of baking the muffins evenly.

Add the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and lemon juice to the food processor and run again.  Add contents of the food processor to the bowl of dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.  I usually just use a large spoon to do this as the mixture seems awfully thick for a mixer.  Divide batter evenly between muffin liners.

If you’re using the cream cheese (mixture), add about 2 tsp. to each muffin.  Make sure to press it down into the batter a bit.  I don’t recommend making divots in the muffins as it seems to create big air bubbles.

Bake for 25 min.  Let cool for a couple hours at room temp before serving (even though they smell incredible).  Because of the raw carrots, these put off a lot of moisture and need to be cooled properly.

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