>> Monday, February 16
Since completing a fast in January to kick off the new year, it's been hard for me to find sweet things that don't completely knock me into a coma for the rest of the day. Sugar is just so STRONG! When I saw the theme for this month's Go Ahead Honey-It's Gluten-Free, I didn't know what to do..."Sweets for Your Sweetheart," huh? Oh great, how can I pull off a sweet fit for Valentine's Day when I'm barely managing to finish an apple on my own lately?
Come Valentine's Day morning I still had no idea. Finally, in the late morning, leaving the yoga studio, a little light-bulb went on somewhere above my head: "Hey Daniel, let's make muffins!" Not too sweet, not too heavy, and yet, when a truly good vegan, gluten-free muffin comes along, nothing to be scoffed at. We were both so excited to try our hand at an allergen-free muffin recipe that the whole day became a workshop in the kitchen, grains and flours flying everywhere, and sticky guar-gum fingerprints attached to every surface, including the keyboard, after we looked up this recipe for inspiration, from Karina at the Gluten Free Goddess.
The hard-won result was a beautiful tray of pink-tinged muffins, boasting apples, bananas, dates, and the sweet toasted flavor of roasted red rice flour. We whipped them out of the oven and ran to the evening satsang class before even getting a chance to test them. And in fact, it wasn't until the next day, on the train to Biel, that we unpacked our late Valentine's picknick and took the first bite. I was terrified, having had many a grainy, chewy GF muffin in the fast few years. It was like a dream. They were delicious. The mix of fruity flavors, the light sweetness, and the delectable moist texture melted in my mouth and left me pleasantly unburdened from the usual sugar-crash. A perfect Valentine's Day sweet, but don't think for a moment you won't want them every day.
Sweet Apple-Banana Muffins
1/3 cup rice milk (and/or yogurt)
3/4 cup banana puree
1/3 cup apple sauce
2 tbsp agave nectar
1/3 cup vegan butter (and/or oil)
2 tbsp flax meal soaked in 2 tbsp hot water for 5 minutes
150 g dates, pitted and chopped
1 medium apple, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp guar gum
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tsp kuzu powder*
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup red rice flour
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C)
Cream together the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the apples and dates. The batter should be thick but thoroughly moist, like a drop biscuit batter almost. It should slide off the spoon, but with a little encouragement. add some rice milk if needed.
Scrape the batter into a greased, 12-muffin tray and bake for 20-30 minutes, until lightly browned on top.
*If you don't have kuzu, use tapioca instead of chickpea flour in the recipe, and you should have enough of a starchy element from that
On the flours: We used so many types of flour because we had little bits of each left over! you could easily simplify and use just buckwheat, millet, and rice, or some other combination. Still, if you do have the supplies available to follow this mix, the taste and texture are pretty rewarding!