|Gluten-free low sugar whole grain strawberry muffins.|
With all the recent news about sugar, I've been thinking about muffins. And not just any ordinary, ho-hum, run-of-the-mill, starchy, gluten-free muffins. Nope. A tender, whole grain, lower sugar, vanilla scented muffin that bursts with fresh strawberry flavor. Warm from the oven, these pleasantly grainy breakfast treats are pull-apart soft with juicy bites of strawberry. Sweet- but not too sweet.
I used pure maple syrup for the primary sweetener, and a mere two tablespoons of organic brown sugar. And now for the interesting part. I also experimented with no xanthan gum. This is highly unusual for me. I've usually rely on xanthan gum to give my gluten-free batter and dough the stretchability factor- a trait removed when I booted gluten from my kitchen and wished it vaya con dios. But inspired by Lauren, the Celiac Teen, I decided to try baking without it.
But here's the thing.
Shunning gluten is a complicated issue. Gluten imparts a flexibility to batter and dough, and baking without it can lead you to crumbly, gritty ruin if you're not careful. You're giving up protein. And you're giving up elasticity. And not only that, you're saying buh-bye to the toothsome texture you are accustomed to.
Reaching for xanthan gum was a quick fix, an immediate solution to this lack of flexibility problem. But many of you now report you don't want to use it. For some it's a price issue (xanthan gum ain't cheap, Darling). For others it's a digestive issue (xanthan gum or its alternative, guar gum, can be hard on sensitive digestion). And for some, it's an allergy issue (to mold or the growth medium, most often cornstarch).
Gluten-free baking without gums is tricky. This, I know. So my first foray into this venture is not vegan. I used two free-range organic eggs. Egg whites help give gluten-free batter that precious stretchability factor. And the protein factor. They bind, and they leaven.
My choice of flours reflects two things- what I had on hand this morning, and my desire to use whole grains (I am liking starches less and less). I picked hazelnut flour for the delightful nutty flavor and protein; millet, brown rice, and sorghum flour because they are whole grain and higher protein than white rice flour or potato starch; and I used coconut flour because it attracts moisture and adds a lovely texture to gluten-free baked goods (not to mention, for its high fiber status).
The result? A tasty, blog worthy success. I absolutely love these strawberry muffins.
And I hope you do, too!