You know that something has gone mainstream when The New York Times begins writing about it. Yesterday, the Times reported that gluten-free baked items have gotten good enough that you might want to eat them even if you don’t need to. “Gluten-free baked goods have become tastier as demand for them has risen, ” Melissa Clark writes. “More Americans — about 6 percent of the population, according to the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland — have found that gluten, in wheat, barley and rye, causes health problems. What had been a niche market has become mainstream.” All in all, it’s an informative article with half a dozen recipes and a slide show with links to many more.
Because it sounds like something I’d want to eat, a recipe for apricot-walnut muffins caught my eye. Based on one by Shauna James Ahern who blogs as The Gluten Free Girl, it looks good, but shares a problem I find with many similar recipes: it contains ingredients I try to avoid, like sugar and milk. My response was, of course, to go into the kitchen and see if I couldn’t come up with a recipe that is not only gluten-free, but also free of dairy and refined sugar as well. After the jump, you’ll see my recipe. It may not be the final answer, but I’m satisfied with it for now. I used quinoa flour as the base, and added flax seeds for nutrition and texture. You can substitute flours and other ingredients, of course, but if you are serious about gluten-free baking, you’ll want to take a look at Ms Ahern’s blog, which is full of good information. For now, why not whip up some gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free muffins?
GLUTEN-FREE WALNUT-APRICOT MUFFINS
Preheat oven to 350˚ F/ Yields one dozen muffins
2 cups quinoa flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour or cornstarch
1/4 cup flax seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
3/4 cup dried apricots (about 6 ounces), diced small
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
small pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups soy or rice milk acidulated with 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (add vinegar and let sit 15 minutes)
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup maple syrup
1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine.
4. Lightly oil a standard muffin pan. Divide the batter evenly to yield 12 muffins, filling each about 7/8 full. Smooth.
5. Bake in the lower third of a 350˚F oven 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6. Cool in the pan 10 minutes before trying to unmold, then cool muffins on a rack.