One of my most prized possessions is her red paisley apron. Whenever I fasten the front buttons, I see her standing in her small but quite functional all-white kitchen doing the same. I can’t say I learned how to cook or bake gluten free as a direct result of being by my mother’s side, since she left this good earth two years before my Celiac diagnosis. But I take enormous solace in knowing that, like my mother, I get that same butterflies-in-my-stomach kind of feeling when somebody eats something I’ve cooked or baked and loves it. I think that apron has magical powers.
I never used to bake muffins before going gluten free. I just didn’t hanker for them unless I was at Coffee On The Common or that really cute breakfast place on Cape Cod that we used to go to when we visited my inlaws. And then I only ate them if they were grilled with lots of butter and washed down with a steaming cup of joe.
But now, muffins have taken up permanent residence in my kitchen. I’ve made Blueberry Muffins and Banana Mango Muffins and Chocolate Chip Espresso Muffins and Cranberry Ginger Muffins. Sometimes with eggs, sometimes with an egg replacer. Until this morning.
Call me naive if you must, but I honestly always thought muffins had to be made with eggs or at the very least an egg substitute. And then, last night, I read a post on a blog I’ve just discovered and am crazy about, In Jennie’s Kitchen, and a new chapter in my life began. I’m not sure, but I think I dreamt about muffins last night. And when I awoke to the sun streaming through my window this morning, I pulled on the same clothes I’d dropped on the floor only 7 hours earlier, made a beeline for the apron, and pulled out all of the ingredients I would need. Forty-five minutes later, voila, Blueberry Lemon Zest Muffins, sans eggs or any ingredient that included the word egg.
Using Jennie’s Sweet Cherry-Lime Biscuit Muffin recipe as a guide, I subbed Meister’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour for the white flour. Almond milk mixed with a little bit of lemon juice (a great sub for non-dairy buttermilk) stood in for the whole milk. One cup of frozen blueberries happily replaced the pitted cherries. And I zested an entire lemon and squeezed the juice from it, instead of using its’ tart cousin, the lime. Oh yes, and what would Blueberry Lemon Zest Muffins be if not laced with a touch of ground cinnamon?
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 c. Meisters Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
zest of one lemon
6 tbsp chilled Earth Balance butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup blueberries dusted with a little bit of cornstarch (to keep them from clumping in the batter)
additional sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease one 12 cup muffin tin.
Add the lemon juice to the almond milk and set aside while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and lemon zest until well-mixed.
Add butter and blend in using a pastry cutter or two knives or your fingers. Continue blending until you can no longer distinguish the butter from the flour. Add the almond milk/lemon juice mixture and stir just until the ingredients are blended together.
Gently stir in the blueberries, being careful not to overmix the batter.
Spoon into the muffin cups. I did this using an ice cream scoop, thus enabling the muffins to all be uniform in size. I had a little bit of batter remaining and made a baby muffin in the last muffin cup! Sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top of each muffin before baking.
Bake for 24 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick or cake tester into one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, remove muffins and let cool in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool thoroughly before serving. Or not:).
I brought the muffins with us today when we visited my wonderful teacher, Rabbi David Kline. This was the second year we helped him build his brilliantly designed bamboo sukkah. After standing around on his stone patio and admiring our handiwork, we sat down to a lunch of Curried Tofu Salad, homemade garlic pickles and pickled tomatoes and saltless sauerkraut, Sticks & Twigs, and Blueberry Muffins. Perhaps an odd combination, but none of us paid attention to anything but the good company and the warmth of the sun peeking through the lattice work above our heads. What fun to eat in the Bamboo Sukkah, not to mention the glow I felt when my husband bragged about the muffins to our host. Rabbi Kline is a masterful bread baker, gluten and all, and while he scoffed down one of the Blueberry Muffins, nodding approvingly, I felt downright honored.
From this day forward, my pantry will not be without Meister’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Given my success using it for this recipe, I don’t want to be without it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still crazy for Breads From Anna flour mix – her bread mixes and her flour are staples in my kitchen. But sometimes, it’s nice to have an alternative, just for a change of pace. I’m chomping at the bit to try Meister’s for my bagel recipe and my pizza recipe and my chocolate chip cookie recipe. I think my mother would be pleased to know that her apron is being put to good use:). May her memory be for a blessing.