I’ve been baking and I’ve been baking lots. Fortunately (or unfortunately) my coworkers and friends have been guinea pigs of my manic baking phase. Since I’m a ‘glutton for punishment’ (ha!), I gave myself the challenge of making gluten free baked goods. If you follow me on twitter and/or Instagram, you know I heavily commit the sin of gluttony. I like my food and I won’t deny myself the pleasure of a good dish…but I do compensate by being an exercise demon and eating healthier when I’m at home and at work.
So some things I learned about gluten free baking:
1) There is a lot of alternatives to regular flour
2) Gluten free flour (pre-made or homemade) is EXPENSIVE. If you don’t want to make your own, you can easily Bob Red Mill’s Gluten Free Baking Mix at most grocery store chains so do price shop around. You can find gluten free products at places like Whole Foods, Nester’s or Choices Market.
3) There’s lots of hidden additional calories to some gluten free recipes…unless you find alternatives to the other ingredients
Along with using gluten free flour, I’ve been experimenting with using healthier alternatives to certain ingredients like using agave syrup instead of sugar, yogurt instead of sour cream, egg whites instead of whole eggs, and different milks.
One of my more successful kitchen experiments are these zesty sweet and light lemon blueberry muffins.
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup milk (I used soy milk)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar (or 2/3 cup of agave)
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of blueberries
½ cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs (or 4 egg whites)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil up muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and line the muffin cups with paper liners.
2) Stir the lemon juice into the milk and let set for about 5 minutes. Don’t worry if it looks curdled after awhile
3) In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest with 1 tablespoon of sugar until fully blended. Easiest to mix this with your fingers. Set aside.
4) In a medium mixing bowl, sift then whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
5) In the bowl of an electric mixer preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and remaining 1 cup of sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy.
6) Turn mixer to low and add the eggs slowly until it’s all incorporated then add the vanilla
7) With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and lemon milk mixture to the creamed butter starting with 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half the lemon milk mixture and alternate and mix until completely combined.
8) Remove bowl from mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well with a large spatula. Gently fold in the blueberries.
9) Divide evenly between the prepared muffin cups, filling the cups almost to the top. Evenly top the batter with the lemon zest sugar mixture. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
10) Let it cool for 5 minutes and it’s ready to eat.
That’s it and enjoy!