Every so often, I have this irresistible urge to cook and eat the way people with more discipline and higher principles do. I’ll make kale, quinoa and chick peas for lunch. I’ll try doing a cleanse. (Though I still maintain that was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.) I’ll go to yoga class feeling incredibly self-satisfied and healthy before I just give up and eat Popeye’s fried chicken and watch four episodes of The Wire.
Not since high fructose corn syrup has something been as demonized as gluten. Some believe it is the source of all evil in the world. I’m only being a tiny bit facetious because one of my best friends suffers from celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing nutrients in food that are important for staying healthy. It’s not just a wheat allergy or “sensitivity.” It’s a serious disease that makes consuming gluten dangerous.
So to give myself a challenge to eat more healthfully and to practice for the next time my friend is in town and crashing at my place so I can be the best hostess ever, I decided to experiment with baking gluten-free muffins. I adapted this recipe from an unlikely source but with a few tweaks, they ended up being pretty delicious: incredibly moist, light, fluffy and not too sweet. And maybe it was my imagination, but I didn’t feel as weighed down after eating them as I would have with a wheat-baesd muffin.
Gluten-Free and Sugarless Lemon Blueberry Muffins
- 3 eggs (room temperature – important)
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (I scraped the seeds out of half of a vanilla bean instead.)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup brown rice syrup (Available at health food stores. You could also use agave.)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (Check the expiration dates for your baking powder and baking soda. If they’re not fresh, they won’t rise nicely. Muffins depend on these leaveners to puff up.)
- 2-5 tablespoons water (See below)
- ½ cup raspberries or blueberries
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
Heat oven to 375° F. Prepare pan with a generous amount of butter. This recipe makes six “regular”-sized muffins.
1) Whisk or beat the eggs until whites and yolks are well-mixed. Stream in the butter while continuing to whisk. Add salt and vanilla and mix until combined. Add brown rice syrup and stir. Add lemon zest.
2) In a separate bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients — coconut flour, baking powder and baking soda.
3) Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Now you will whisk in water, one tablespoon at a time. The coconut flour will absorb the liquid from the wet ingredients until it almost looks like a paste. As you add the water, you want to get it to a consistency that will hold up the berries, but not be too thick. (Usually around 4 tablespoons)
4) Gently mix in the berries and divide among 6 muffin cups. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until just turning golden on top.