Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Pineapple & Ginger Muffins - gluten free and perfect for breakfast


I have been meaning to post muffins for ages! I love eating them for breakfast especially when they've been made with a good dose of ground almonds and some fresh, juicy fruit. They were one of the first things I attempted to bake gluten free and having become confident with a base recipe, I have experimented with a number of different fruit and flavour combinations and additions. The mix is pretty adaptive!


Not long after I started eating gluten free, I went to the health centre for a cholesterol test. The nurse who tested me was amazed at how good my combined 'good-bad cholesterol score' was. At 3.1, she said it was one of the best she had come across. I was pretty astounded as there is a history of cholesterol problems in my family and (as you can see from my blog) I don't exactly avoid all the stuff which is meant to be bad for you. I love all those high cholesterol foods, especially butter, cheese and cream. And much as I would like to fit in more exercise, I simply can't find the time. So why was my cholesterol level so good?

The only thing that had changed since my previous check (which registered at 5+) was going gluten free. I couldn't find anything that suggested this in itself was significant........ and then I got onto researching almonds. I was using lots and lots of them in my cakes, muffins, biscuits and pastry and was eating these muffins most days.



Turns out that almonds may just have some sort of 'magic' cholesterol-reducing properties. Ok.......... so there is some research and information which backs this possibility and (inevitably) some which challenges it, but if there is any truth in it...................... maybe I really can have my cake (or muffin) and eat it!

One of my favourite muffin flavours is pineapple and ginger. The sweet, fresh cubes of pineapple are beautifully moist and slightly tangy in the sponge and the ginger adds a lovely warm, comforting glow. In addition to their potential health benefits, the almonds also moisten the mix, helping the muffins stay soft, whilst adding a slightly nutty texture and quality and a more filling experience.


Golden caster sugar has been used to slightly sweeten the bake which makes them less 'sugary' than using refined sugar and allows the natural fruit flavour to shine through.

All in all, they make a delicious and unexpectedly nutritious and satisfying breakfast (although of course, they can be eaten at any time of the day). Make big ones or small ones to fit your appetite..... They freeze really well and can be microwaved in a flash when you want one, so they can be ready for breakfast as soon as you are!


If you don't fancy pineapple, just add an equivalent quantity of an alternative fruit.............. raspberries, blueberries or strawberries all work particularly well..................


Pineapple & Ginger Muffins

Ingredients    

180g plain gluten free flour mix (I used mix A from this post)
120g ground almonds
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
150g unsalted butter - room temperature
135g light soft brown sugar
3 large eggs - room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
180 ml milk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
185g fresh pineapple - cut into small cubes
1½ teaspoons ground ginger

Method

  1. Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin cases. Or you may choose to make the muffins in a non-stick unlined muffin pan.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4. 
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, weigh and mix the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and ginger, making sure that any lumps are broken down.
  4. Combine the milk and vinegar in a jug and leave to stand for about 10 minutes.
  5. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter-sugar mix and beat until thoroughly combined.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
  8. Using a large spoon or spatula, gently fold in the flour mix, alternately with the milk-vinegar about a third at a time until just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  9. Gently fold in the pineapple.
  10. Divide the mixture evenly between muffin cases and smooth the tops. 
  11. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (20 to 25 minutes for larger muffins) until the top springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 
  12. When cooked remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Delicious eaten warm!
These muffins freeze really well. To defrost, place in a microwave for about 40 seconds on high and serve warm.


Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated

2 comments:

  1. It's really interesting to hear about your cholesterol results. My mum was worried about her cholesterol recently and I did some research on it... seems like it doesn't have so much to do with avoiding fats as it does with avoiding grains (especially gluten) and sugar. It's great that it's had such a positive effect on you! And I love the sound of these muffins. Never heard of pineapple and ginger in a baked good before, but YUM I bet it's delicious :-)

    Aimee / WallflowerGirl.co.uk

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  2. I find the whole public health advice thing fascinating! When you stumble across something that seems to go against what you've been told and makes that much of a difference to your potential health, you just can't ignore it.... Either way, I recommend ginger and pineapple together....... tastes great!

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