Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bad Blogger Award AND Smitten Kitchen Goes Gluten Free

Senior year: 1, Blogging: 0 is how it's going so far.  Everything is pretty much a giant vortex of time-sucking-ness from homework (how did I manage to pick ALL intense classes in the one semester I'm taking all 100 and 200 level courses meant for freshmen and sophomores??!!) to debate, to just about everything.  But I miss blogging, and I miss baking and cooking.  There's not a lot of that happening either.  I'm pulling the cookbooks out again, because there's only so many rice chex a girl can eat. 

So today I made these:

What are those?  Well first of all, they're da bomb.  But more specifically, they are banana blueberry muffins adapted from Smitten Kitchen, one of the prettiest food blogs on the block.  My love affair with baking and blueberries is probably almost as great at SK's love affair with butter.  But I digress.

...and done digressing.

Her Crackly Banana Bread intrigued me for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, because I've never thought to put uncooked millet in anything (millet is, frankly, pretty gross-tasting) and secondly, because the bananas and maple syrup provided all but a teeny bit of the sweetness.  I'm all for natural low-sugar stuff, so I dove in.

I ended up not putting any whole millet in because I both didn't have any, and as adventurous as I am, it doesn't extend to raw millet.  But I compromised a little, 'cause I'm a compromiser, and  added some millet flour to the mix.  There will be a little gluten-free flour breakdown below with some more info as to why I chose what I chose.

But first, the recipe for banana muffin goodness with some notes.  Thanks Smitten Kitchen (I <3 youuuuu!)

Makes 16 muffins or 1 regular-sized loaf:
3 large ripe-to-over-ripe bananas
1 large egg
1/3 cup (80 ml) liquid coconut oil (I do not like the smell or taste of coconuts, eeeew, but I keep coconut oil around because it DOES make a great baking oil.  And makeup remover.)
1/3 cup (65 grams) light brown sugar (I used white because I rarely use sugar and white is all I had on hand)
1/4 to 1/3 cup (60 to 80 ml) maple syrup (I used 1/3 cup, because maple syrup is amazing)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract (didn't have it, so I didn't use it)
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I just used a generous sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (see above)
Pinch of ground cloves (see above above)
1-2/3 cups flour mixture  (I used 1/2 cup tapioca starch, 1/4 cup millet flour, 1/4 cup teff flour, and 1/2 cup brown rice flour + 2 tbs)
Mix ins: I used frozen blueberries

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  I used muffin tins lined with paper, but SK says to butter your pan if making a loaf.  Mash the bananas with a fork or something else if you don't bake in a crummy college kitchen.  I like to mix mine with the sugar and/or melted oil first to help the mashing process go more smoothly.  Haha.  I'm punny!  Whisk in egg, then oil, brown sugar, syrup (unless they're already in there). Mix your flours together and add the soda, salt, and spice(s).  Pour the flour/spice mixture in and stir until combined.  Add your blueberries.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes (more like 20-25 for muffins). Cool loaf in pan on rack.

If you haven't already run off to bake some of your own at this point (I totally don't blame you) you should stick around and learn a little more about gluten free flour.  I'm not an expert, but I've done a ton of reading, and since baking is a science anyway, understanding the rules is more than half the battle.

-About 1/3-ish of a gluten free flour blend should be starch like tapioca or potato starch.  These help bind a mixture together in the absence of xanthan gum.  I know I'll get over it someday, but right now xanthan gum squicks me out.
-Millet flour: this gives baked goods like cakes and quick breads a crumbly texture.  It is gross, gross, gross unbaked or underbaked and should never be used in too high a proportion. 
-Teff flour: this is a nutty, super high protein, very versatile flour.  It gives baked goods a whole-wheat look because it's greyish brown.
-Brown Rice flour -my favorite, and a favorite in the GF baking community.  It has a pretty much nonexistent taste and is relatively inexpensive.  It forms the basis of most GF baking mixes.


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