muffins

Pomegranate & Coconut Golden Raisin Muffins – Guest Post from Free Spirit Eater!

Pomegranate Coconut Golden Raisin Muffins from Free Spirit Eater

Hello Bloggereaders!

I am so very excited to welcome Kym – the Free Spirit Eater – to my blog today!  A few months ago Kym asked me to guest-post on her site.  She was so sweet and humble in asking, where my reaction was something like, “Um, YE-AH!”

I love Kym’s incredibly warm and inspired love for food.  She’s a trained chef, and with her fiance Tim creates recipes for her site that look mouth-wateringly delicious.  If they lived closer by, theirs is an apartment I would randomly be stopping at during dinner hours, pretending I found one of her sneakers on the sidewalk or asking to borrow a cup of milk (which I don’t drink) or something.

I told her I only had one catch – she’d have to guest-post for me! I’ve never had a guest-poster on my site, so the idea of swapping made me super tingly excited.  Then the holidays came, and went, and Kym prepped for a big apartment move, and I got a new job, and our recipes got away with us.

Until today.  I welcome Kym to The Dusty Baker with open, hug-ready arms.  We met a few months ago through writing for Bromography.com.  Then Kym accompanied me to the Great American Pie-Off, lending some moral support for my entering my first pie competition where we took home 2 of 4 awards.   She’s a very talented cook and food photographer, and I’m sure she’ll continue to achieve incredibly great things.

Head over to FreeSpiritEater to grab my recipe, Kumquat Chutney Hand Pies.  And while you’re there, flip through her mouth-watering recipes.

Kumquat Chutney Hand Pies

From Kym, The Free Spirit Eater

When Jacqueline asked me to guest post on the Dusty Baker Blog for a recipe swap I immediately felt a sense of excitement. I love her site, am a huge fan of her writing and consider her a friend. I can only wish that one day my writing could be as intricate, descriptive, delicate and powerful while still being witty and quirky as Jacqueline’s writing style is. But I also felt my quick moment of panic. What did I get myself into? I am no stranger to gluten free cooking. I’ve altered dishes to make them gluten free by request when I worked as a line cook. But until this recipe swap, pretty much every baked good I had ever prepared requires some type of glutinous ingredient.

As someone who has never had a food allergy in her life and is a free spirit who simply consumes what is placed before her, working with restrictions was quite a challenge. Whenever I thought of a recipe to attempt, I stopped myself realizing it wasn’t gluten free. Through this challenge and experiment, I have gained a great respect for anyone with a food allergy.
Now onto the baking!

I found this gluten free muffin recipe online which asked for soy milk, sesame oil and oats among the list of ingredients. I used neither of these and altered it entirely where it does not resemble the original recipe in any way. I had never worked with white rice flour before, but purchased it for this special occasion. The texture was different, lighter, leaving a lovely scent as I plopped down the first cup full. Since pomegranates are still in season, I worked some seeds into the mix as well as sweetened coconut flakes and golden raisins. They didn’t rise as much as I wanted them to, so another ¼ teaspoon of baking powder wouldn’t hurt next time. A bite into the finished product resembled a mix between cupcakes and muffins in texture. Not overly sweetened, but a pleasant light feel with sparks of pomegranate, sweetened flakes and juicy golden raisins teasing your palate with each bite.

Attempting my first gluten free baking project was a mix of emotions. I think the point of this swap was to get your hands dirty while being thrown out of your comfort zone. It was a challenge, but a successful one none the less. The muffins are not that big and have plenty of natural ingredients adding a distinct lovely taste. For those with a dairy allergy, soy can replace the cow’s milk. Feel free to switch the coconut flakes for toasted sliced almonds, or other nuts and dried fruit. Enjoy!

Pomegranate & Coconut Golden Raisin Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup of rice flour
  • 2 Tsp of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • Pomegranate seeds from half a pomegranate
  • ½ cup of sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup of golden raisins
  • (Extra flour and coconut oil or canola oil for greasing)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another (except for coconut oil, pomegranate, coconut flakes and raisins).
  3. Bring ingredients together by combining in one bowl, and then add coconut oil, pomegranate seeds, golden raisins and coconut flakes, mix well until fully incorporated.
  4. Divide into a greased and floured 6 muffin tin. (If you use coconut oil for this step, you will achieve a nice golden brown on the bottom part.)
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or test with a toothpick to make sure it’s ready.
  6. Let cool, remove and serve. Cover in saran wrap to store.

Sticky Pumpkin Flax Muffins for a Grey Winter Day (gluten free)

Breakfast on a cold, rainy day in NYC.

Yesterday was one of those mornings.  I awoke to a barely lit room despite the fact that it was 9am.  Before I opened my eyes I could hear rain pitter-pattering on the air conditioner outside my window.  Yes, here there’s no lulling drop on shingles.  It’s a wet, alley cat kinda life.

I dragged Mitra along the sidewalk, battling to keep my oversized red umbrella from flying off into the Hudson.  Rain pelted sideways, and the poor dog kept tying to climb up my legs as I desperately implored her to “just pee, pee please, baby, and then we can go inside”.

Only seconds later, defeated, the dog unrelieved, I closed the umbrella and we sprinted back home.

Because in that tiny moment, it had hit me.

It’s here.

Those dark, wet, sticky months in the northeast when everything just feels damp.  When un-waterproofed boots mean feet will be molested by a foot of frozen slush that had somehow passed itself off as level sidewalk.  When subway tunnels become wind tunnels.  When snow somehow manages to fall horizontally.  When buildings are overheated and New Yorkers are steamed.

As we raced to my building we passed gourds and tiny pumpkins abandoned in windowboxes, their flesh sagging over the edges and most likely putrid inside with stank innards.  Discarded Christmas trees cried on the curb, fearing the moment when they would turn into mulch, most likely pondering on why they grew for years only to be adored for a scant few weeks.

At least that’s what I was thinking on their behalf.  I love trees.

Two years ago I spent the dark months backstage in a warm theatre on run crew: reading books, drinking tea, catching up with my dear friend Lily and occasionally holding a curtain for an exiting actor or moving a piece of prop furniture.  Not a bad way to spend the grey period.

Last year I spent most of my time downtown with the delicious man I was dating.  One night we walked to the Angelika, hated the film (Blue Valentine – yes, I hated it), then exited the theatre into 4 inches of snow.  Happy, bundled and loving NYC, we walked back to his place under fat flakes, stopping to take pictures for tourists, arriving home soaked.

This year I’ve got a  bundled-up pup, a fully outfitted kitchen where treats are rolling, good friends coming and going, and work that I love.  As much as I fear these post-holiday, dreary months, they’ve always brought me a sense of hibernation that truly is refreshing.  Next weekend I head out to the furthest corner of Cape Cod to do a show, get pampered in a posh B&B and walk on the frozen beaches.  In February I plan to bunker in my Louisa May Alcott attic at my friends’ in Southhampton, where I’ll walk Mitra and Mia on another frozen beach and gaze out romantically at the bay as I type.

But until then, I need this in my life:

Sticky Pumpkin Flax Muffins with apricot and blackcurrant jam (and butter... I'm bad....)

I was complaining to one of my editors the other day the agony that is going to a coffee shop and seeing a pathetic little shriveled gluten free muffin in plastic alongside their overstuffed, glutenous counterparts.  These muffins have now satiated that grumpiness.

I recently got a delivery of gluten free flour from Better Batter to test a recipe for an article I’m working on.  Yes, the flour will be used for it.  But after the seasonal revelation I couldn’t curb my impatience to try it out, especially as I always blend my own flours and never have the ease of one already prepared.  I’m a big fan of the Better Batter flour from this trial, so far. More info on that to come that I’ll link to down the line.

I used the oversized-6 muffin tin for these babies, and admit that I ate TWO AND A HALF of them yesterday!  And the one pictured above for breakfast this morning.  They’re sticky and dense, perfectly sweet, and inspire being layered with butter and jam and enjoyed along some strong coffee and a newspaper in print.  I wasn’t originally planning on posting them as they weren’t exactly what I’d pictured in my head, but a visiting friend couldn’t stop saying “mmm, these are SO good” as she at one.  She encouraged me to share.

Oh, I added some flax because it makes my body happy.  And used organic pumpkin so that I didn’t have to use butter so they’re dairy free and low in fat!

Happy January, bloggerreaders.  Hope you’re staying warm.

Jacqueline

My favorite with these was tart apricot jam

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour.  I used Better Batter, which already has xanthan gum in it and a lovely neutral-flavored mix of flours
  • 3 Tbsp ground flax seed meal
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin or sweet potato puree
  • 1 cup warm milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, optional

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly grease 6 oversized or 12 normal muffin tins.
  • In a bowl, whisk together flour, flax seed, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
  • In another bowl, beat eggs thoroughly.  Add pumpkin / sweet potato puree, milk and maple syrup.  Beat / whisk thoroughly to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined.  Fold in nuts.
  • Pour equally into muffin tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, until springy to the touch.
  • Try not to eat too piping hot – I dove right in and have a light burn on the top of my mouth to prove it.

Insanely Healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Insanely yummy, healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Yesterday morning I awoke to Autumn, not Spring, dripping its way down my New York City windows.  It was chilly, much more so than I’d want for a May morning. And though I had very little time to get a bunch of stuff done before yet another commute east for rehearsal, I found myself craving something grainy and warm.

And luckily there’s always time for… muffins!I love making muffins because of how easy and versatile they are.  I obviously wasn’t going to go out to get any ingredients, and I didn’t have an apples or rotting bananas on hand.  So I scoured my pantry and found an old can of sweet potato puree left over from my waffle experimentation.

Voila!  Naturally gluten-free, these muffins are chock full of fiber with flax seed meal, have a little boost of protein with quinoa flour and contain no processed white sugar.  You can also easily make them dairy free (directions below).  They’re moist and dense, but not very sweet.  Because of this you can toast one up for breakfast or serve as a dinner “roll”.  If you need them sweeter, I suggest slathering with some jam or dunking in maple syrup or honey.  Butter is also delightful… mmmmmmm…

Yields 12 insanely delicious muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax meal (not flax seeds)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot or potato starch
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 4 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, soy or cow’s milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line 12 muffin tins with liners or spray with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
  • In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, sweet potato puree, maple syrup, butter and milk thoroughly until smooth.
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated and a bit lumpy.
  • Fill evenly into tins and smooth with a spoon.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

Yields 12 muffins.

For nutritional info please go to this recipe on CookEatShare.

Yummy, moist and slightly sweet Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Recipe is loosely based on one by Michelle at TasteAsYouGo.  Please support her blog!

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