Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

IMG_3981At midnight last night, June 29, 2016, gave way to June 30th, 2016. In a continuing cycle set forth from time’s beginning, one day gave way to the next. Today, like the the day before, and the day before that, and so on, is a blessing. Each day teems with life and where life exists, hope exists, and in this hope resides blessing. Always. Remembering the blessing every morning is an important way to begin the day, even during times of negative stress (as opposed to the positive stress caused by such things as getting married, having a baby, getting a promotion). I once heard a priest refer to the burden of hope. Hope contains the idea that one’s life can be better, and the improvement may require action on one’s part. Introducing a recipe for gluten-free sourdough blueberry muffins by referencing such transcendent notions as blessings and hope may seem strange; however, these things are tangentially related. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Maple Muffins (Made With Apple Flour)

A few months ago, I wrote a post about having impulsively purchased apple flour. I maple muffins1actually LOVE, LOVE, LOVE using this flour in baked goods, as a substitute for gums. I quit using xanthan and guar gums quite a while ago, without much problem. I find alternatives to the gums that work quite well. I bought the apple flour, which is nothing but dried, ground apples, thinking that the natural pectin in the apple flour would work well to support the structure of baked goods, and to help keep them moist. The apple flour works to do just that. It’s a little pricey, but people I know keep suggesting that I dehydrate apples and grind my own apple flour. The problem with that suggestion is that I have about a billion of those proverbial irons in the fire, and the thought of taking those two extra steps to make my own apple flour is too overwhelming at this time. The good news is that I found out through experimentation that less is more, and since so little of it works wonders, the expense may not be that prohibitive. Continue reading

Cassava Flour and Gluten-Free Baking: A Love Affair

This post is about relationships. Yes, it is also about gluten-free baking and delicious peanut butter cupcakes 10gluten-free baking, and gluten-free cupcakes so tender, moist, and flavorful that they will make you cry, but it is most definitely about relationships. What is cooking, baking, and eating, after all, if not about relationships? We have relationships with the ingredients we favor in our cooking, and relationships with the foods we choose to cook, and relationships with people for whom we prepare food and with whom we share food. We even have relationships with our kitchens and the tools we use to produce the foods we cook, bake, and serve (who doesn’t have a favorite kitchen gadget – that steady, reliable go-to device for which one loves to find uses – my favorite is my immersion blender: a brilliant, versatile invention if ever one existed).  As of the past few months, I have developed quite a personal, loving relationship with cassava flour. As I’ve moved more toward grain-free, gluten-free eating, for health purposes (a personal decision I would never presume to recommend to everyone in general), I’ve been paying more attention to the nutritional values of the flours I choose to use. Continue reading