But going gluten free added some new challenges. I've been vegan before so the dairy free part was much easier. The Sneaky Chef has a very small section of gluten free recipes but I wanted more. I took a recipe the boys had like when eating wheat flour and modified it.
I changed the wheat to a combo of coconut flour, quinoa flour and brown rice flour. Coconut flour is amazing to cook with. It's a very dense flour and adds a bit of sweetness. Quinoa flour is great in that it also adds more protein to the dish. I use brown rice flour for the same reasons I used to cook with whole wheat flour, less processing and more nutrients. I'll try this again maybe using oat flour instead of rice just to see how it goes, but overall I'm happy with the flour combination. Coconut flour is so dense that you feel full faster.
Sugar is a hard one. I have been cutting out any refined sugar from their diets (there wasn't much but still). At first most was replaced with Agave. There is some debate around this now that I don't want to get into, but I still wanted to move more towards natural sweeteners (think fruits). I stumbled onto coconut sugar and thought I was saved. And while I can find nothing bad about the sugar itself, after reading this article on it at Tropical Traditions my current bag is going to be my last. So for this recipe, I switched out the brown sugar for a mix of some of my remaining coconut sugar and a date puree. To make the date puree, I just soaked some dates in water for a while then blended it all up. I started small and will cut more of the sugar out next time. I cut back on the total sugar overall too.
Both these chefs use a variety of colored purees. You can find details on the websites or in the books. This one called for an orange puree. Normally this is a mix of carrot and sweet potato, but as it was, I had just used the last of the carrots for a soup for the boys for lunch. So ahah, use the soup instead of the carrot. The soup was carrot, cauliflower and red lentils. Adding cauliflower gave extra vitamin variety and the lentils a bit more protein.
I'm not a fan of canola oil, due in part that over 80% of the crops are GMO. For making I use either grape seed or coconut oil. This time I tried the grape seed. Next time I'll probably try the coconut. It will add a bit of natural sweetness and let me cut out more sugar.
Overall, this turned out great. They were devoured over the next couple of days with not a complaint from the kids.
One other tip I wanted to share was the use of parchment paper cups. I had been using the paper on cookie sheets and cake pans for a while. I was so happy to find the cupcake liners. Just pop them in, no greasing or flour required and your baked goods will slide out. I'm not kidding. Look at the last picture to see one of these gems baked in a conventional paper liner and one in the parchment liner. The one in the parchment liner falls out. You lose some of your muffin on the other and it's that much harder for little hands to handle. They make them in the mini and regular size.
And after all that, here is the recipe with pictures to follow it. This is based on Sammy's Pumpkin Spice Muffins from The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour (flour, not flakes)
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp xanthum gum
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
3 tbsp grapeseed oil
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp date puree (1 tsp water and 4-6 dates)
6 tbsp my orange puree (see note)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix, can be canned or fresh cooked)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Mix the first 9 ingredients together in one bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir to combine.
Bake 18-20 minutes at 350. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.
Makes 20 mini muffins
This is the soup that I used instead of carrot in the orange puree. Clearly I don't have a problem getting carrot or cauliflower into the boys. This is their favorite lunch food (seriously, they will eat it 7 days a week).
The finished muffins. I use a small ice cream scoop for the batter. It makes the muffins even in size and gives ones with little rise a nice rounded top.
Here you can clearly see the difference in using parchment paper liners. I didn't peel the one on the left, I just took it out of the pan and the paper fell away. The one on the right had to be peeled off and of course left some muffin sticking to it.
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