Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fixing up Gluten-free Mixes: Making Strawberry Muffins

Since I began this gluten-free lifestyle, I have tried lots of individual flours, mixes, snacks, and baked goods.
I believe most, like me, will look for bread first. I ate some awful bread for about 2 years before learning to bake a reasonably good loaf.

Since going gluten-free, a number of great things (and some less than great) have happened.
• A gluten-free grocery store opened near my home.
• More bakeries entered the gluten-free bread market.
• More local stores started selling gluten-free products.
• More food companies entered the Gluten-free grocery arena.
• More food processors entered the gluten-free flour mix market.
• More food companies are attempting to get into the gluten-free market by stating ‘naturally gluten-free’, instead of stating ‘processed in a dedicated facility’ or ‘certified gluten-free’.
• The gluten-free cookbook market is being flooded with cookbooks from gluten-free and not gluten-free people.
• Hollywood has made gluten-free to be the chic new diet. Being gluten-free has taken on the false appearance of something that is not required. Once, I was offered a herb to help me ‘digest’ gluten.
• Some products were rushed to market without real taste testing.
• Some dessert mixes were rushed to the market without comparing the texture to existing wheat-based dessert mixes.
• Some great-tasting bread, hamburger buns, hotdog buns and bagels arrived on the market, due to the competition among baking companies.

I would not be gluten-free, if wheat did not make me severely ill! I really do miss whole-wheat-12-grain bread. Those Duncan Hines cakes were the best! There are so many other great products that I really do miss.

As I have been trying all of these new products, a few more than I really need are in my pantry as I prefer to bake from scratch.

I have also stopped buying products that contain soy. I have several in my pantry with soy lecithin, once they are gone; no more.

Creating the “Muffin Mix”
Yesterday, I decided to use a box of yellow cake mix to make a muffin mix with a little more nutrient. This is also one of those that have a texture that is too gritty to be called ‘cake mix’. The brand (remaining nameless) contains coarse grind white rice flour, tapioca starch, coarse grain white sugar, the dreaded soy lecithin and baking soda.
The box is about 2 cups of ‘stuff’. I mixed in some additional flour. I added 2 tbsp each of sorghum, quinoa, coconut, flax meal, millet, tapioca, dry milk; and 1 fourth cup almond meal.
Since I had added about 2 cups of additional mix, I added 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 tsp gum and 1/4 cup of sucralose. I admit there was enough sugar already, so decided to use sucralose or granulated Stevia.
Now, you know how to fix-up a box mix that is not the best for its intended purpose! Just add in whatever you need to get it to what you want to make of it.

Now that I have a muffin mix, I estimate 1 1/4 cup will make 6 muffins. Now on to making my version of Strawberry Muffins……

Making the Muffins
Strawberry Muffins

1 1/4 cups “Muffin Mix”
1/4 cup fresh chopped strawberries
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp dehydrated strawberries, crushed into smaller pieces
3 tbsp buttery spread, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (strawberry is best, if you can find it)
1/4 cup butter milk
1 tbsp water, if needed
Frosting, if desired
Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Combine the fresh strawberries with the tsp of sugar and mash with a spoon to break up the strawberries. Set aside.
Soften the Buttery Spread and beat with the egg.

Continue beating as you add the fresh strawberries. Beat until the strawberries do not have any large pieces. Mix in the butter milk and vanilla extract.

Mix in the muffin mix and mix for about 1 minute. If the batter is too stiff, add the water as needed.

Fold in the crushed dehydrated strawberries.

Divide the batter among 6 paper-covered muffin tins.

If you have a little extra batter, spray a mini-muffin and spoon batter into the mini cups.

Bake in the pre-heated oven in the center rack. The bottoms will burn, if not in the center of the oven. The batter will spread more at a lower oven temperature is the reason for 375 F.  Baking time depends on the mix and flour used. The full-sized muffins baked 25 minutes.

As I attempted to make frosting and frost before they were completely cooled, the frosting started running.

The muffin doesn’t taste like strawberries, because I did not have strawberry flavor, so the frosting will have to suffice. The strawberry frosting was definitely strawberry!

Simply mix in strawberry preserves into existing can of frosting instead of using fresh strawberries with powdered sugar. The canned frosting is a lot easier to modify!

Nutrition Facts (without frosting)
Nutrition (per muffin): 204 calories, 7.7g total fat, 3.3g monounsaturated fat, 1.6g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fatty acids, 1.7g saturated fat, 35.9mg cholesterol, 149.6mg sodium, 77.2mg potassium, 30.5g carbohydrates, 1.4g fiber, 29g net carbohydrates, <1g starch, 13.2g sugar, 3.4g protein, <1mg iron, 9.1mcg folate, 8.7mg vitamin c, 2.9IU vitamin d, <1mg vitamin b6, <1mcg vitamin b12, <1mg niacin, 0mcg lycopene.

And now to use some of those strawberries in a Chocolate Strawberry smoothie!
The chocolate smoothie is a smaller version with half a scoop of protein powder. The strawberry is 4 large strawberries, 2 tbsp Greek fat-free plain yogurt, 2 tbsp almond milk.
I also have another Strawberry Blueberry Banana Almond Smoothie posted

After eating a couple of those muffins, this is my dinner

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