I finally did it–I think. I’m a bit nervous to share. Maybe it could be better. Oh, but it’s pretty good. Actually, it’s exactly what I wanted it to be.
Not an oily, delicate, too-sweet cupcake in a muffin disguise. No, these muffins have a firm, slightly coarse yet tender texture. They’re just sweet enough to be considered a treat, but hearty enough to be a viable, protein-packed snack. And they’re mine.
I’m just a bit excited. You see, this is my very first recipe. For a baked good, that is. I never thought I’d be able to write my own. Muffins, cakes, cookies, breads–they’ve always seemed completely untouchable. I understood what all the ingredients did and why it was important that they were all mixed together in a certain way, but writing a recipe seemed better left to the pros.
Somehow I feel as though gluten-free baking breaks the process down into distinguishable elements. Each flour adds a different component and allows for a customization of flavors and textures that I don’t imagine wheat flour could ever fully deliver. Take a sniff of amaranth flour–it has a bitterness that almost demands to be mixed with butter and brown sugar. Squeeze a bag of tapioca flour or potato starch–so light and fine that you can feel its cottony squeak before you even open it. And sweet white sorghum flour? Try not to fall in love. And that’s maybe a quarter of my current pantry. Now, I don’t yet fancy myself an expert on this subject, by any stretch of the imagination, so I won’t claim to definitively know what any of these flours truly do. Right now, I’m just playing, using instinct, visualizing the taste and estimating what could be added to make the end result better. I suppose that’s one of the best ways to learn something like this–to feel it inside, to sense it, and then eventually to know it.
And that’s precisely how, on my third try, I created with a muffin to call my own. If you were to bake them, they could be yours too. And I hope you do.
Quinoa Almond Poppyseed Muffins
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup almond flour*
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Sliced almonds and raw sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift together quinoa flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the agave and oil. Whisk in the milk, eggs, and almond extract. Add this to the flour mixture. Whisk just until smooth and stir in the poppyseeds.
Use either butter or oil to grease the muffin tins and sprinkle lightly with a bit of tapioca or white rice flour. Fill each cup about 2/3 full; this should make 15 muffins. Sprinkle each muffin with a generous pinch of sugar and top with the sliced almonds.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. These muffins cook up surprisingly quickly, so make sure to keep a close eye on them when you’re around the 10 minute mark.
*I used Bob’s Red Mill almond flour for this recipe. I have read that it has a coarse grind in comparison to other brands, so I can’t say if these would turn out using a more finely ground variety.