Gluten-Free Muffins with Almond Meal, Squash and Blueberries

Yep, another bake sale.  I like baking, I just don’t want to be stuck with all the results (on my hips or elsewhere), so a bake sale is a fun way to let this outlet bear fruit.

I’m an occasional contributor to ChowStalker (“We Don’t DO Cupcakes”), but they now have a subsidiary site, DessertStalker (which still doesn’t do cupcakes but they DO do muffins), so I surfed over there for ideas.  I have a co-worker I frequently lunch with who is gluten-sensitive, and so I decided to jump up to the challenge of making a muffin or other bake sale item he could eat.  At the same time, let’s minimize the carbs, get out of the grain alley, and surf around for something I’d like to eat, as well.  (I have probably previously mentioned, that in addition to being on a low-carb food plan, I really don’t have a true sweet-tooth anyways.)

At DessertStalker, I found a recipe from Frisky Lemon for gluten-free muffins using almond meal, canned pumpkin, and dried cranberries, as well as pecan.  The blogger claimed that this recipe was very moist and tasty.  I understand that a lot of grain-based gluten-free items are not.  Already I knew I was going to sub out the pecan (I dislike most nuts with a few exceptions).  The Indian cooking class I took last summer had at the very least taught me that almond meal is GOOD, but I already liked almond-flavored coffee, and Amaretto.

Moist.  An acceptable low-carb grain-free and gluten-free substitute.  What’s not to like?

Enough nattering, here is my adapted recipe:

3 cups almond meal (Trader Joes has the best price I’ve ever seen)

1.5 cup canned pumpkin or rendered butternut squash (NOTE:  I wanted to use canned pumpkin.  Even though it’s canned, no could find this spring.  There were pre-chopped blocks of butternut squash in my supermarket, so I simmered them 40 minutes, then worked with my Smart Stick to make them about the consistency of most canned pumpkin I’d ever seen – you have to drain and play with liquid)

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 teaspoons of pumpkin spices:  I used about 3 parts cinnamon to one part nutmeg.  I would have added allspice if I could have found it lurking somewhere in my cabinet, where I know it remains hiding…

¼ teaspoon salt.  Yes, I actually added this.

2 teaspoons real vanilla

6 eggs.  Yes, something has to bind the almond meal and other ingredients together, in lieu of gluten. A combo of Farmer’s Market eggs and some supermarket “Humanely Certified” omega-3 eggs.

¾ cup 100% real maple syrup.  At least with the squash, which came with no added sugars.  I am not sure what canned pumpkin comes with, judge accordingly by label.

½ cup blueberries (make this a heaping ½ cup, and then add a few more)

¾ cup pine nuts.  (I didn’t toast them – did I say I was making this at 10:00 pm at night? – next time I’ll lightly toast them)

Re the blueberries:  I’m not really partial to dried fruits.  I do sometimes find dried cranberries okay as their intrinsic sourness gives them  a welcome lift, and they are definitely great in salads; but I’d recently had a bad batch of dried cranberries (too sweet and too leathery), so for a little while I’m off of them, but I’ll be back.  Just not while I was prepping this recipe, so I opted for fresh blueberries.

Mix all the dry stuff together, by hand.

Add all the wet stuff except the pumpkin/squash and the blueberries, and mix, by hand.

Mix in the pumpkin or squash.

Mix in the blueberries without unduly crushing them.

At some point close to when you need to use the oven, preheat it to 350 F.

Put in muffin pans, as per usual.  I used paper liners for some but not for all — my muffin pan is silcon and flexible, which, with a little oil at the bottom,  facilitates removal if one is careful, and if not too many blueberries drop to the bottom.   I discovered this the hard way, of course.  (They really won’t drop there, just deposit in the berry portion of your mix carefully.)

Bake 20-25 minutes.  My batches tended towards the latter timeframe.  This made 18 muffins here.

These muffins were indeed very moist and tasty.  Excellent!

I put a disclaimer on this recipe at the bake sale that read:  Gluten-Free (contains potential allergens: almond meal and pine nuts).

I refrained from adding the following, which appeals to my own perverse sense of whatever, but it would be true:

Created in a facility which frequently uses seafood and shellfish, often uses mushrooms, occasionally uses gluten-containing items such as wheat and soy, occasionally uses coconut, and (only when in a Thai state-of-mind) uses peanuts.

PS: what nuts do I appreciate (true nuts or otherwise)?

UNSweetened coconut, any form, although sometimes moderate amounts is best.
Peanuts ONLY in Indochinese cooking (ie, satay sauce)
Almonds in rendered-down forms
Chestnuts in any form
Pine nuts, preferably lightly toasted
Pistachios, lightly salted and fresh, no dye

In absolutely no shape, way, or anything else, is a hazelnut ever tolerable.  The aroma of hazelnut coffee is patently disagreeable in a gut-clutching way, from the get go.

So, how was this recipe received at the bake sale?

I wasn’t at the sales table, but a few gluten-intolerant folk apparently sampled them, as well as a few friends.  I think others were fearful of gluten-free being synonymous with “dry”, or perhaps even “ick”.   Considering everything, they moved well enough.  They are nicely moist and flavorful, but if you want a really sweet dessert item, this isn’t going to be for you.

(Posted for Fresh Bites Friday…)

About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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10 Responses to Gluten-Free Muffins with Almond Meal, Squash and Blueberries

  1. AllieNic says:

    Hi! I love the idea of using butternut squash and blueberries. These sound delicious! I’m glad you liked the almond meal muffin base…

    • I think the almond meal in combo with the squash (or pumpkin) adds the moisture that keeps this concept alive. I’m grateful to have found the base recipe for this, no matter the adaptations. No doubt there will be other ways to expand.

  2. Chowstalker says:

    We always look froward to your contributions becasue you are fearless and creative in the kitchen! 🙂

  3. Be says:

    Nice! We have a few cans of frozen georgia candy roaster squash that would be GREAT with this! How many carbs?

  4. Be says:

    It doesn’t because we canned it ourselves last fall! 😀

    • Excellent! And yes, I still have to get back to you about carbs and other nutritional levels in this recipe.

      One thing I noticed is that my local supermarket now carries canning supplies. I think I may can tomatoes and pickles this summer.

  5. Pingback: Got Crabs? Almond Meal Battered Soft Shell Crabs | Of Goats and Greens

  6. Pingback: Oatmeal Apple Mini-Muffins | Of Goats and Greens

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