Monday, June 2, 2014

Gluten-Free Vegan Apple Cider Muffins

I wanted to experiment with non-gluten grains more, so I decided to go gluten-free for a few weeks. 

Here's what I learned:

1.  Get ready to spend more money because many gluten-free options are more expensive than wheat based foods.  It could be because wheat is a subsidized crop.

2. Wheat is in most processed foods, making label-reading a priority when shopping.

3. I became more aware of what I was eating.  For substitutes, I opted for more fruit and vegetables which also cost more than commodity crops.  

4. Living on $100 or less is hard if you need to be gluten free.

5.  Living without wheat gave me a much more varied diet.

This recipe was inspired by an old chocolate vegan cake recipe that listed baking soda and vinegar to make the batter rise.

I made it once and replaced the cold water with apple cider. For flour I used rice, oat bran, tapioca flour and xantham gum.  I added pecans for texture, and they were good, but I felt like something was missing.

The next time I made the recipe I used a sweet tart apple, diced.  For more flavor, I added cinnamon and nutmeg.

My favorite apple cider and apple cider vinegar from Rockridge Orchards.

Any time is a good time for muffins.

These muffins will stay fresh for days.  To reheat simply place in the oven and the outside caramelizes, while the inside is soft and cake-like.

When the two weeks came to an end, I discovered wheat doesn't really seem to affect my digestion much, but I liked my new diet so much, I decided to reduce my wheat consumption to a few times a week, no more than rice or quinoa.

If you eat wheat more than once a day, maybe these muffins will inspire you to give up wheat for a week or more to see what you're missing.

Wheat, Egg and Dairy-Free Apple Cider Muffins
(Makes 6 to 8 muffins)
Use your favorite apples for this sweet muffin recipe. I like Pink Lady or Honey Crisp for these muffins and if I cut them early, I toss them with a little lemon juice to preserve the color.

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup oat bran
3 tablespoons tapioca flour
1 teaspoon xantham gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup cold apple cider
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 sweet-tart apple, core removed, small dice
1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375F.  Combine rice flour, oat bran, tapioca flour, xantham gum, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves together in a large mixing bowl.  Sift them together if you want for better mixing. Blend in the brown sugar.

Oil muffin tins.  Combine apple cider, apple cider vinegar and canola oil.  Blend the wet with the dry ingredients. Fold in apples and nuts last.  

Spoon into muffin tins, about 3/4 full.  Add about 2 tablespoons water to every empty tin.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.   Loosen the muffins by cutting around them, and let the muffins sit for 5 minutes before removing from tins. These muffins are best eaten warm with just a hint of butter or Earth Balance spread.

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