Sunday, September 20, 2015

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Whenever I set about making a gluten free baked treat, I rarely aim to mimic the nuances of traditional wheat-based fare - simply put, no combination of ingredients will perfectly imitate "standard" baking chemistry and flavour. That said, I love that the flours still safely used by celiac sufferers are packed with their own unique flavours, and are generally even better tasting in treats that can capitalize on the slightly earthy, nutty notes of the alternative grains and seeds. Whether the main ingredient is fruit, caramel, nuts or chocolate, the flexible nature of combined flours and starches truly has the potential to elevate the final dish without overloading it one way or another.

In general, everyone I know is a fan of banana bread, and when it's converted into streusel-dusted muffins the result is almost guaranteed to be a win regardless of dietary restrictions (or lack thereof). Particularly during the work and school week, muffins beat out loaves of quickbread hands down for portability and bake-sale friendliness - packed in a lunchbox for one or loaded into a shoebox for bulk transport, they are far less likely to self-destruct on route and stay moist and tender much longer.

Now, any quickbread or muffin recipe is - as the name implies - supposed to be fast and easy to whip up. And when using "regular" flour and other ingredients, that's generally the case. But as you can see with a quick Google (or WSSG search) of Gluten - Free recipes, celiac-safe baking tends to be a little more complex - with few exceptions, simply swapping in a single gluten-free flour for regular all purpose is a recipe for odd-tasting crumbs, bricks, sponges or all of the above. Yes, there are ready-made store bought blends available, and some are decent, but the control freak in me likes the customization factor homemade mixtures offer. Since I knew I'd only be making muffins with it, whipping up a big batch of GF "Quickbread" Flour ahead of time was worth it for me - not only did it ensure these muffins came out perfectly every time, but it made the process just as fast as pulling out a big bag of regular white stuff. Ironically, these muffins were such a hit with the "regular diner" crowd that I had to make a second (double) batch to give to my three GF friends in secret! By topping the batter with quinoa flakes and raw sugar, the baked muffins had a little touch of "bakery pizazz", but it's totally optional - next time, I might do a chunky granola crunch instead!

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Gluten Free Banana Muffins
Makes 12 "regular" muffins or 20 "mini"
3 large, over-ripe bananas
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ cup
cane sugar
2 tbsp
Truvia Baking Blend (or ¼ cup more cane sugar)
1 egg
⅓ cup canola oil
1 tsp
gluten free vanilla extract
1 ½ cups
GF "Quickbread" Flour
½ tsp guar gum
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
quinoa flakes and coarse sugar, for topping (optional) 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease muffin tins.
  2. Mash the bananas, salt, nutmeg, sugar and Truvia together until smooth.
  3. Add the egg and oil, mixing well. Add vanilla.
  4. Add flour, guar gum, baking powder and baking soda
  5. Mix until just combined.
  6. Scoop into muffin pans and top with quinoa flakes and sugar, if using.
  7. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped. 
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories: 184.0
    Total Fat: 6.4 g
    Cholesterol: 15.5 mg
    Sodium: 7.4 mg
    Total Carbs: 32.1 g
    Dietary Fiber: 2.6 g
    Protein: 2.1 g