Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Believe it or not, I've actually been generating a lot of content for this here blog; I just haven't been posting it. Part of it is that, you know, I get ideas but I don't type them. Mostly, though, I've been developing TOP SECRET RECIPES that I think I'll put online and then decide I'd rather preserve for my zine. I know that I win World's Most Unreliable Blogger (what with promising you cookie recipes and then not updating for a month), but believe me, my little darlings, I have not forgotten you.
In fact, I've so far from forgotten you that I thought the best way to kick off the new year would be with a super healthy recipe. Year after year, the number one New Year's Resolution is "lose weight," but I prefer the more health conscious goal of "eat better, get fitter." After all, if you're eating properly and getting regular exercise, your body will naturally settle at a healthy, sustainable weight - no calorie counting required. So with that in mind, I decided to make some improvements in my own lifestyle: no more high-fructose corn syrup; no more hydrogenated oils; and no more artificial sweeteners. Right now, I'm also experimenting with completely wheat- and sugar-free cooking, and though it's only been maybe a week (I'm trying to make it at least month), I'm feeling pretty good. Some improvements I've noticed are my skin being a little clearer, my energy being a little more even, and my focus being a little better. This is all conducive to my ultimate 2010 goal: looking like Linda Hamilton a la Sara Conner in T2. Gotta have priorities, right?
So with these new(ish?) lifestyle efforts in mind, I conjured this recipe for gluten-free tropical bran muffins. I made some similar to these before I came back to school two weeks ago, and while those were just pineapple, they were amazing - amazing! Unfortunately, I didn't write down the recipe, and they were full of a little bit of sugar and a lot of wheat. Obviously, these babies have none of those things - just lots of good-for-you fats, fiber, and protein. They've got a little added sweetness from a scant half cup of maple syrup, but most of it comes from the tropical fruits, sweet flours, and coconut oil. These muffins get a nice, crisp exterior with a dense but fluffy interior. Plus, their tropical flavors warm your mouth on cool winter days, teasing you with daydreams of summer. Enjoy with some cold juice or an aromatic tea.
GLUTEN-FREE TROPICAL BRAN MUFFINS
+ 1 c oat bran
+ 1/2 c coconut flour
+ 1/4 c sorghum flour
+ 1/4 c brown rice flour
+ 1 tsp xantham or guar gum
+ 2 tsp baking powder
+ 1 tsp baking soda
+ 1/2 c coconut oil
+ 1 1/2 c "milk" or water
+ 1/2 c maple syrup or agave
+ 1 tsp vanilla
+ 1 - 1 1/2 c fresh or frozen tropical fruit
01. Preheat the oven to 350º, and sift together the dry ingredients (bran through cardamom). Sifting can produce a lighter, fluffier baked good, but it can also make the ingredients more evenly distributed, which yields more uniform and delicious baked goods. If you don't want folks fighting for the bigger muffin or biting into a nugget of baking soda, sift your ingredients.
02. Cut in the coconut oil with a fork until you have a bowl of crumbles, then add the rest of the wet ingredients. Stir until well combined. Your batter should look like a medium between cupcake and biscuit batter - maybe somewhere in the scone neighborhood but, you know, not like your typical muffin batter. Now, the cool thing about gluten-free baking is that you can stir and stir without much concern with how all that stirring will affect the texture. The fact is, it won't, really, because no gluten is forming! So add that fruit, then stir some more.
03. Grease or line a muffin tin, and then plop that batter in there. Feel free to fill the containers almost completely full because these babies don't get a lot of rise. Then throw them in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes, rotating them 180º halfway through the baking process. A fork or toothpick won't necessarily come out clean when these are ready, but the tops will look firm and maybe even a little brown on the edges. (Pull them before they get too brown!) Your oven will also RADIATE with the smell of these wonderful (and wonderfully healthy!) treats.
04. Let the muffins cool completely before enjoying. This is important because, while I'm with you on enjoying certain things all hot from the oven, these can still seem a little wet when they're fresh from the oven - kind of in the same way cookies are still all soft when you pull them. That cooling part's important. You can let them cool in their tray for five or ten minutes, then pop them out and transfer them to a cooling rack or even a plate. (Obviously, cooling rack gets preference.) Give them maybe a half hour, then grab some tea and a good book and dig in.
Makes twelve to fifteen muffins.