Saturday, November 5, 2011

season of spice!

I hadn't thought I was quite so busy this summer, however the fact that I haven't posted any of my efforts since May is proof enough that I haven't been paying attention to my poor neglected blog. Well, here I am today, begging pardons and posting a yummy spiced muffin recipe from the latest addition to my bookshelf. Kim Boyce wrote this amazing cookbook dedicated to whole grains! Good to the Grain focuses on cooking with oat, amaranth, teff, quinoa, and kamut!(there are other grains that you may or may not be able to eat as a gluten free peep.) Now most of her recipes in some way feature whole wheat flour, in among the other grains in combinations. Obviously, I had many experiments in figuring out how to make something completely gluten free as well as healthy. Now why recommend this cookbook if not all gf? Because of the research! How she shows the techniques and the behaviors of these grains that most people are not familiar with is outstanding. I had to buy it. And promptly made the spice muffins, because, hello fall! I did alter the recipe for Leslie, so it is inadvertently vegan and sugar free for another friend who is avoiding white sugar. No sugar? No butter? How are these good again, you might wonder, but let me tell you they are fabulous! My two year old niece had two before we caught her going back for a third. So there you go, Isabella approved gluten, dairy, and sugar free spice muffins!

this is linked to Allergy Friendly Friday

Spice Muffins

Nut Topping:
1 cup walnuts (halves, pieces, etc-they are getting chopped anyway so whatever you have that is handy)
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses (but not blackstrap, Kim says)
1 tablespoon agave nectar
pinch salt

Dry Mix:
1 cup garfava flour (garbanzo&fava bean mix)
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup potato starch
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (if you must have more, please adjust for you-I don't like cinnamon front & center in my spice muffins. Kim used 1 Tablespoon)
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves

4 oz or 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened-not completely melted tho!

Wet mix:
1/2 cup almond milk (feel free to sub for what works for you)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce, room temp
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses (again no blackstrap)
1/2 cup agave nectar (if you want to use 1 cup of coconut sugar with the dry mix, go right ahead! I was out and had plenty of agave)
1 teaspoon of Enger-G egg replacer, whisked with 1 tablespoon water.

Preheat oven to 350 degreesF. Toast walnuts til golden, 15 min or so. Toasty nut smells will ensue.
Lightly grease the top of your muffin pan-the molasses mixture is messy, you don't want to be chipping that off your pan later. Place muffin liners in your cups. If you normally fall into the anti-muffin liner camp, ignore me and have fun getting these out of your muffin tin. Don't say I didn't warn you.

In bowl of your standing mixer (or large bowl for handheld) whisk dry ingredients together. Add the softened coconut oil and mix on low speed for at least a minute, til the mixture is as coarse as cornmeal.

Meanwhile, make nut topping. Chop toasted walnuts if you didn't have pieces on hand. Stir together the molasses, agave, salt, and walnut pieces in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Whisk all of the wet ingredients together in medium bowl. Small note-if your applesauce is not room temp then your coconut oil will start to solidify when it comes into contact with ice cold applesauce. You will not get the nice tender crumb you were hoping for in that case.

Now that you have cornmeal looking substance in your mixer bowl, start adding the liquids! Pour slowly into the bowl of the mixer and mix on low until just combined. Now increase speed to med/high and mix for 1 minute. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape down the bowl.

Scoop the batter into lined muffin tin. An ice cream scoop is handy for this, but a 1/4 cup measuring cup works too. Or a spoon. You know whatever is clean and works for this. Don't fill the cup to the top. I can hear tiny voices screaming "in the book she does!" but then you get sticky oven floor. if this isn't a problem for you then go ahead and fill them even with the top.

Re-stir the walnut mixture, because all the molasses and agave will have settled. Scoop a small spoon's worth of mixture onto the center of each muffin and press the nuts GENTLY into the batter. You don't want them to fall out across the pan as the muffins rise, but you don't want to deflate your batter. Bake for 25 minutes or so (your oven, etc) til your kitchen smells of spice and the tops are dark brown and the nuts are very caramelized and toasty.

Take pan out of oven CAREFULLY! Molasses burns are not pretty. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 5-6 minutes; basically until they cool down enough so that you might touch them without risking use of aloe vera later, but still warm enough so that they are not permanently stuck to the muffin tin. Set the muffins on a rack to cool to edible temperature and not burn the roof of your mouth. Kim says these muffins are best eaten day made, but I loved mine the second day-the flavors just seem sharper and even more delicious. Should there happen to be any leftovers, store them in an airtight container til you can finish them off. You know, two hours later. Makes 12 regular sized muffins. (not Texas sized)