Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Banana Bran Muffins for Breakfast - Gluten Free

Today was a much cooler day than yesterday, so I decided to bake muffins for breakfast. This time I converted a muffin from Banana Bran Muffins.
I am always experimenting with different flours and sweeteners. A crunch topped muffin is one of the best foods to have with that morning cup. I decided to use half sugar and half Stevia in the Raw. Stevia seems to work better than Splenda for baking (in my opinion). By saving some calories from sugar, I could still have the Turbinado sugar sprinkled on top with the sliced almonds.
Well, I had one for breakfast, one for lunch and one for dinner! Or should I say, in addition to the meals. The extra crunch did it.
If you can have wheat, make the original, it has some good ingredients. The nutritional info listed on the website is not correct and I posted a comment about it.
So here is my gluten free version

Banana-Bran Muffins

1/2 cup Egg Beaters egg substitute
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup Stevia in the raw
1 cup mashed ripe bananas, (2 medium)
1 cup buttermilk
1/8 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup unprocessed rice bran
3 tbsp grape seed oil
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour
3/4 cup Quinoa Flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped sliced almonds
2 tbsp Sliced almonds for topping
2 tbsp Turbinado or Demerara sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray or use muffin papers.
Since I used frozen bananas, sliced and chopped them,  added 1/2 tsp lemon juice to remove brown oxidation.  Set aside

Whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla powder and salt together. Set aside
Whisk egg and sweeteners in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in bananas, applesauce, buttermilk and oil.
Whisk in the rice bran and nuts.

Whisk in the flour mix and stir just until mixed

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they’ll be quite full).

Sprinkle with nuts, then Turbinado sugar.

Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 25 to 28 minutes. Amaranth and Quinoa flours are brownish, so make sure they are browned.

Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a serving plate and allow finishing cooling.

Servings: 12
Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/12 of a recipe
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount per Serving
Calories 193.19
Total Fat 7.95g
Saturated Fat 0.84g
Cholesterol 0.92mg
Sodium 194.03mg
Potassium 242.34mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.32g
Fiber 4.06g
Sugar 11.57g
Protein 5.67g

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gluten-Free Fig Cornmeal Cake (AKA Polenta Cake)

It has been so hot lately, that I have not wanted to cook anything that would require using the oven or burners. This summer seems to be hotter than any I remember. Maybe it’s because I spent so many years working during the day. Now that I am retired, I can see the weather as it happens.

Finally, the temperature dropped a bit after a few storms rolled through.

Saturday is a day that I normally bake, but it was hot again, so no real cooking!

Sunday afternoon, decided to make a fig polenta (cornmeal) cake. I haven’t seen a gluten free one that really grabs me and says “Come here, make me”.

So I looked at a few regular ones and then decided what ingredients and flour mix I wanted to use.
First, I needed to use some slightly over-ripe figs. I wanted to add either sour cream, yogurt or ricotta cheese. I also wanted to either include some almond or coconut flour.

Flour mix:
- Cornmeal: 50%
- Almond flour: 25% (actually meal, ground in the food processor)
- Coconut flour: normally 25% reduced to 12.5% because recipe already has lots of fiber
Yogurt, Sour Cream or Ricotta Cheese:
- Discovered that I had whole milk Ricotta, definitely would use it!
Butter and Shortening
-Shortening – Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread (also like to use salt free Fleishman’s margarine, didn’t have any)
Honey, agave, granulated sweetener
Wild Flower Amber Honey and Zulka granulated sugar (a Mexican coarse grained raw sugar)

Once the whole milk Ricotta was going to be used, decided to limit the eggs to two. It’s not that this dessert is low fat or low sugar; at least I did not want to add more that I needed as to get a really tasty treat!

Well, the cake came out delicious. This is my second cornmeal cake (AKA polenta cake).

Gluten-Free Fig Cornmeal Cake (AKA Polenta Cake)
Very nice aroma while this one is baking. It has a cake like crumb. As with so many gluten free baked goods, it is brittle when it first comes out of the oven. Once cooled, the brittleness goes away,

1/3 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
1/2 cup Turbinado or Demerara sugar (used Zulka brand)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Wild Flower Amber Honey (used the 365 brand)
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange juice + 2 tbsp divided
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup whole almond meal (grind in food processor)
1/8 cup coconut flour
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
6 black figs, sliced
2 tbsp coarse grained sugar for topping

  • Gather all of the ingredients

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or spray with an oil spray, a 10 1/2 -inch cast iron skillet (well seasoned).
  • Combine cornmeal, cornstarch, coconut flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. If you grind your own almond meal, sift all together to get rid of any lumps, set aside.

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and Ricotta until creamy.
  • Add shortening and beat until fluffy. Whisk in the honey.

  • Add eggs, mixing well. Mix in vanilla and 1/2 cup of the orange juice.

  • Whisk the cornmeal mix into batter, just until mixed. If the batter needs more liquid, add the additional orange juice. It is ok to add it anyway.

  • Pour 3/4 of batter into prepared skillet. Spread the figs evenly over the batter. Spread the remaining batter over top. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons coarse grained sugar evenly over top of batter.

  • Bake 30 to 32 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and tooth pick in center comes out clean or with small crumbs.

  • Remove from oven and allow cooling. Cut and serve plain or with a dollop of cream.

Great plain -

With a little cream

With a little cream and a swirl of chocolate – contrasting flavors!

Servings: 12

Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 1/12 of a recipe.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.
Amount per Serving
Calories 232.04
Total Fat 9.84g
Saturated Fat 4.65g
Cholesterol 54.02mg
Sodium 112.55mg
Potassium 180.37mg
Total Carbohydrates 33.56g
Fiber 2.69g
Sugar 22.7g
Protein 4.43g

Almond Flour/meal
The price of almond flour / meal is quite expensive. It is cost effective to grind your own using a good food processor or grain mill.
Grinding almond meal
  • Basically you have a choice of using blanched or skin on almonds, in either roasted or natural. My preference is natural almonds. Natural almonds have more moisture than roasted, so the flour/meal will clump a bit when frozen. That is why it needs to be sifted when using in a recipe.
  • Each cup of almond meal needs about 1+1/4 cups almonds.
  • I ground about 6 cups natural almonds, placed it in a zippered bag in the freezer.

When it was too hot to cook inside on Friday, I pulled the George Foreman grill into the driveway and grilled baby eggplant and salmon, before the next rainstorm came in. A nice green salad went well with the eggplant and salmon. There is a Sabra Hummus ‘event’ going on, so I used a hummus sauce to top the salmon.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Food product Cookie Recipes: Gluten Free or Easily Converted to Gluten Free

Cookies Cookies - how I love cookies .

This week, I decided to try recipes from Food product sites. I made two chocolate chip cookies recipes.
As you can guess, I am on the coconut flour kick this week.

First, I made a Chocolate Chip recipe called Wheat Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. This recipe works at it is written AND they are delicious. They spread a little too much for me, so I would reduce the butter by 2 tablespoons.

As made:

Chocolate Chip Cookies - (Gluten Free)
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp Brown rice flour
¼ cup Coconut Flour
½ tsp Baking soda
8 Tbsp Land O Lakes Margarine, softened
½ cup Sugar
½ cup Light brown sugar
1 Egg or equivalent substitute
1 ½ tsp Vanilla
1 cup Chocolate chips
¾ cup Walnuts, chopped (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Blend together the butter and sugars until fluffy and well mixed.
3. Beat in egg and vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl mix the flours and baking soda.
5. Add this to the butter/egg mixture until smooth and well blended.
6. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
7. Drop the dough by the teaspoonful onto pre-greased cookie sheets.
8. These should be spaced about 2 inches apart.

9. Bake about 8 to 9 minutes or until brown on the edges.
10. Remove from oven and allow cooling for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

Servings: 48

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/48 of a recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories 76.98
Total Fat 4.32g
Saturated Fat 1.16g
Cholesterol 4.41mg
Sodium 33.37mg
Potassium 21.07mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.44g
Fiber 0.71g
Sugar 4.4g
Protein 0.85g

Second I converted a recipe called: Bev's Chocolate Chip Cookies to gluten free.

Since I submitted it to Eating Well Magazine, I will not post it yet. If you look at the original recipe, you will notice that it can be converted very easily based on the first recipe above.