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These are crazy times we’re living in, it’s snowing in mid-March in Portland and I’m making gluten-free muffins, weird! I love gluten and gluten loves me, that’s my mantra people (ok, not really – but if I did have to pick a mantra that would be in the top 5). I can’t tell you how many times I have passed over a perfectly yummy sounding recipe solely on the grounds that it was gluten-free. But a  few days ago I was leafing through one of my all time favorite cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurant New Classics and came across a recipe for strawberry banana muffins which immediately went on my “must make now” list, but upon further inspection I realized it was a gluten-free recipe. Originally I was going to un-gluten-free it and veganize it but after a quick check around the kitchen I realized I actually had all the weird ingredients that go into gluten-free baked goods, I think it was just meant to be. Oh, hey and guess what…they are freaking delicious, soft and pillowy (my computer says pillowy isn’t a word, I say it is and these muffins are it)!

Strawberry Banana Muffins

(vegan and gluten-free)

1-1/4 rice flour (I used brown rice flour)

1/4 cup potato starch

1/4 cup tapioca flour

1/2 tsp. xanthum gum

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup vegan margarine

1/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup soy milk

2 Tbsp. ground flax seed

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 bananas, peeled and mashed

1-1/2 cups stemmed and chopped fresh strawberries

optional topping:

4 strawberries stemmed and sliced

raw sugar for sprinkling

Combine rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, xanthum gum, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, set aside. In another small bowl (or your 2-cup measuring cup) combine soy milk, vinegar and ground flax seed whisking vigorously for about 30 seconds, set aside. In yet another bowl beat the margarine with an electric mixer until fluffy and then add sugar and continue to mix until combined. Add milk/flax mixture and vanilla to butter and mix until combined. Fold in the banana and strawberries then add dry ingredients mixing until combined. Divide batter evenly in your lightly oiled muffin pan then top with additional strawberry slices and sugar if you are going that route. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Let the muffins cool for about 5 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack before you remove them and let them cool completely.

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