I want to talk with you about muffins. You like muffins, right?
Here’s the low-down on traditional muffins vs gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free muffins.
- In a traditional muffin recipe, you will often see a variation of the phrase “do not overmix the batter”. And you shouldn’t, because what you’re really doing is aggravating the gluten and it will repay you with hard, crumbly muffins. You know how it is, perfectionists… But the same law doesn’t necessarily apply with gluten-free muffins (or any gluten-free breads, for that matter) because there is no gluten to overmix. Fantastic!
- The consistency of the batter in a traditional muffin recipe is more or less the same as a gluten-free batter—however, given a few seconds for the gum and starch to do their thing with the wet ingredients, the batter will thicken and ‘inflate’ (get light and airy). Therefore gluten-free batters should be a thicker consistency.
- The egg replacer is up to you. I tend to use flax and chia “eggs” in recipes that already have a nutty or whole-grain taste and texture, and use baking soda/vinegar, or starch/water combos for those more delicate. Replacing eggs can be tricky, but once you find what works for you, roll with it!
- Coconut oil is your friend. Use coconut oil. Dairy is so unnecessary when you have this lovely ingredient. You won’t even taste the coconut. Of course, if it’s not your thing, or you simply can’t get your hands on it, vegan margarine and shortening, and flavour-less oils work, too.
One last thing I would like to mention is that gluten-free baking (especially without eggs, which contribute a lot to the texture) takes practice and patience like you wouldn’t imagine. They are so picky, and there is a lot of factors to consider (ex. the humidity… it messes me up all the time).
There will be failures in the texture.
It will dome and then sink.
The toothpick test will fail you and your oven will deliver you gummy baked goods.
Just breathe. It happens.
I try to tell myself that whenever I muck up a recipe. Then I figure out where I went wrong and why, and then I apply that thinking to the next time I bake. If there is anything I have learned about baking gluten-free it’s that you cannot give up. Get back on your feet and try something else… until it works.
Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins
vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, refined sugar-free (easily made nut-free by replacing the almond meal!)
2-3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend
(I used: 1 cup sorghum flour, 2/3 cup brown rice flour, 1/3 cup almond meal, 3/4 cup tapioca starch)
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
3 Tbsp instant espresso or coffee powder
1 Tbsp gf, cf baking powder
3/4 tsp guar gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 heaping cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg replacers (I used flax eggs)
6 Tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
100g (1 bar) organic, fair-trade dark chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two muffin tins; set aside.
Prepare flax eggs in a small bowl. Set aside to “gel-up”.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour blend, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, guar gum, and baking soda.
Add wet ingredients to the dry and fold a few times, until almost thoroughly mixed. Throw in chocolate and fold again just to combine.
Divide batter between 18 cups, and bake muffins 30-35 minutes, until tested done and pulling away from the sides of the tin, rotating the pans halfway through baking time.
Cool muffins in their tins 2-3 minutes, then flip out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Yield: 18 muffins