It has been a long, hot and unusually humid Summer for us here in Los Angeles this year. Strawberry season has officially ended but our temperatures are still in the triple digits and my A.C. is working harder than ever. Pumpkins have begun to make their timely appearance at our local grocery stores but they seem strange, misplaced somehow and lack any kind of motivation. They just sit there, awkwardly, like an overtly ambitious dinner guest who’s arrived many hours too early. Don’t get me wrong, fall has found it’s flirtatious way in, here and there. I even found myself putting on a sweater a week ago and tweeting about it but overall we’re still stuck in BBQ/pool-party mode. So in an effort to embrace it all, I looked to the strawberries! After all, they still seem to be plentiful at my local Trader Joe’s so I decided to bake one final tribute to summer- strawberry muffins with a gluten free twist.
Why gluten free? Well, while gluten free seems to be a growing trend of late, I had my own reasons for trying the diet out. I decided to take the plunge due to an old allergy I had as a child. Around the age of five, my mother and I discovered that I was allergic to Whole Wheat Flour, Bleached White Flour, and Bran. Every time I’d eat them, I’d break into a rash, accompanied with migraines and horrible digestion. Around the age of sixteen, I thought I had out-grown the pesky allergy but now I wonder, due to recent health issues, if it was always there only with less obvious symptoms. So about two months ago, I decided to think outside the wheat box. The biggest miss (and constant craving) is for a warm, fresh, french baguette. With olive oil. And a glass of wine. Other then that, I’m enjoying gluten free. I feel good. I’m less bloated and am consistently enjoying the search for new unfrequented flours. So when I came across these Strawberry Muffins, containing five different whole grain flours, a ton of strawberries and very little sugar, I was in heaven.
I headed to my local Whole Foods, filled my basket and rushed home to dance with my oven, on a triple digit day… yeah the idea had it’s flaws but the end result, was sheer bliss. I took them out of the oven and actually heard angels sing. OK, not really but my ol’ fashioned “meat and potatoes” granddad tried one after dinner that night and then asked if he could take another one home in a doggie bag. He ended up having it the next morning with his coffee. Best. Compliment. Ever! It just goes to show, you never know what a recipe will bring to your table. It’s good to try a variety of styles, recipes and whole grain flours. While going Gluten Free hasn’t been easy-peasy, I’m loving the journey and I can feel my body thanking me every day for it. So, I ask you, what better way to honor our extra month of summer then to give you my latest gluten free find…
Bring on the strawberry muffins!
Whole Grain Strawberry Muffins
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large organic free-range eggs, beaten
1/4 cup light olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
3/4-1 cup milk, as needed (or dairy alternative)
1 1/2 cups fresh organic strawberries, washed, stemmed, diced
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24 mini muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients- from the almond flour to the nutmeg. Add in the beaten eggs, oil, pure maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Beat to begin combining. As the batter is coming together, start pouring in the milk, slowly, a little at a time, and beat to mix thoroughly. When you have added 3/4 cup liquid, take a close look at your batter. It should be soft and slightly thick. Add the rest of the milk slowly, continuing to beat. When the batter looks like a muffin batter, stop adding the liquid. I used a full cup, but some of you in more humid climates might need a tablespoon or two less liquid. This batter isn’t super-smooth and sticky (no xanthan gum!). It is not as thin as cake batter. It should look almost puffy.
3. Stir in most of the strawberries by hand, using a wooden spoon (reserve a portion of the strawberry pieces for the tops).
4. Spoon the strawberry muffin batter into the twelve lined cups. Stud the tops with strawberry pieces. Don’t smooth out the tops- leave them puffy and bumpy.
5. Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Note: If your berries are cold, your muffins will take a few minutes longer to bake.
6. Cool the pan on a rack for five minutes, then turn out the muffins to continue cooling on a wire rack (this keeps them from steaming in the hot pan and getting soggy).
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