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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Baking Fever

So, yesterday, I just got the urge to bake a few things (that, and the fact that my husband was doing a lot of the urging :-).  My mom seems to have developed a gluten and wheat intolerance in the last few years, so I wanted to make something that she could enjoy as well.  I searched around for some gluten free, wheat free muffin recipes (I figured they would be the easiest thing to experiment with, before trying to make bread or other baked goods).  I found a great website, Elena's Pantry, that had a banana nut muffin recipe.  But, since I didn't have any walnuts and didn't want to use sugar, I decided to modify the recipe.  And, here's what I came up with:


2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 Gala apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1 date, finely chopped
1/4 c grapeseed oil
1/4 c agave syrup
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 to 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
a "pinch" of salt (about 1/4 tsp)
1/2 c all purpose gluten free flour
1/2 c brown rice flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium to large mixing bowl, mix together the bananas, apple, and date and mash some more with a potato masher.

Mix in the grapeseed oil, then the agave syrup, egg, and vanilla extract. 

Sprinkle the baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt over the mixture and mix together.

Add the flour, about 1/4 c at a time, gently mixing until all blended in.

Scoop about a Tbsp of mixture into each well of an oiled (with some more grapeseed oil) 24-miniature muffin tray.  Bake for about 15 minutes (until lightly browned; you can use the toothpick test too).

I have to say, they came out very tasty (even the husband approved, and he didn't know they were wheat and gluten free!).

I also pulled out the breadmaking machine that I bought years ago.  I hadn't realized that it had been so long since I had used it, but thankfully, I had cleaned and stored it properly because it was good to go.  When pouring in the ingredients to make an Herb Loaf, I realized I didn't have any dried milk and so I just added 2 Tbsps of liquid milk, but that seemed to do just fine.  Mmmm, mmmm, no suffering going on here during the Snowpocalyps II :-)

Today's Thought:  What is Xanthan Gum?  According to the packaging, it's made through fermentation of sucrose by the Xanthonomas campestris bacterium.  It's used in a lot of products (salad dressing, toothpaste, ice cream, even cosmetics) because it adds thickness and suspension to solid particles in liquids.  Xanthan gum is also used a lot in gluten-free baking as a substitute for the gluten found in wheat that must be omitted.  It gives dough or batter a "stickiness" that would otherwise be achieved with the gluten.  It can be a gastrointestinal irritant because it's so high in fiber, but if used in very small quantities (and a little does go a long way), it shouldn't be a problem.

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