Thursday, April 4, 2013

Recipe: Gluten Free Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Hello and Happy April!

So, Joey and I are still doing our gluten and dairy free diet as much as we can. Sometimes there are those days that are just the worst and by the end of it I can't even think about cooking dinner, so we get a pizza or something. But in general, we're sticking to it and can really tell how different our bodies feel.

Still, this doesn't mean that we don't miss old favorites from time to time---pasta, bagels, mac & cheese, muffins....mmmm....

Sure, there are lots of gluten free recipes out there for some of those old favorites, but most of the time they are full of crazy or hard-to-find ingredients like xantham gum (which I'm not too keen on using), psyllium husk powder, potato starch, guar gum, millet flour, garbanzo-fava flour, and a host of other gums, flours, starches, and seeds. And I read recipes with these ingredients and I think, It isn’t worth the time and money to find these items just to make a faux pasta that only makes me bitter about how unlike the original it is. 

However, when I came across this recipe for blueberry muffins made with almond flour (and that’s it!), I thought, Hey! All of these ingredients are things I already have! This could work!

Though I was still a little nervous about how they would turn out, I was so pleasantly surprised with a product that, if I didn’t know any better, was just like any normal “glutenized” muffin. The almond flour gives a slight nutty flavor, but the taste and texture was wonderful and the muffin totally held together. The chia seeds also add a little texture but I don’t think it takes away from the deliciousness. However you can totally leave them out if you choose. I also loved that they weren’t too sweet--the honey provided just the perfect amount.

I made a couple changes, including adding some mini dark chocolate chips (which it turns out, dark chocolate is paleo friendly!), however if you left them out this muffin would be completely gluten and dairy free. I substituted strawberries for blueberries because I already had some strawberries I had sliced and frozen, but I really think you could toss in whatever you would like to make your own custom muffin.

Gluten Free Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from Amy Layne

2 Cups Almond Flour*
2 Eggs
2 Egg Whites
1/4 Cup Honey (you could also use agave)
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Dash of Salt
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil (or Other Healthy Oil)
About 1 Tbsp (or two!) chia seeds (optional)**
1 Cup Sliced Strawberries
A Handful of Chocolate Chips (just add what you like!)

*I used almond meal from Trader Joe’s. Most sources will tell you that almond flour is different from meal and that you can’t substitute meal for flour because the product won’t hold together, but my muffins held together just fine. I'd assume that almond flour would produce a finer texture in the product.

**I found chia seeds at Trader Joe’s and the bulk bins at Whole Foods. Chia seeds are a great source of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, are easier to digest than flax seeds (with much less effort to eat them!), and make you feel fuller because they absorb 10-12 times their weight in liquid. Remind me to share my chia seed pudding recipe later, too!

Make It
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
- Place all ingredients except chia seeds, strawberries, and chocolate chips into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- Once completely combined, mix in the chia seeds (this is how I did it; I suppose you could blend them with the other ingredients too), then fold in the chocolate chips and strawberries.
- Evenly scoop batter into a greased (or lined) muffin tin.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

Let me know what tasty and tempting muffins you come up with!

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