Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The muffin formula

Here is a formula for creating muffin recipes with no wheat, no eggs, no cow's milk, no sugar. Sounds fantastic, right? Welcome to the challenging world of food allergies. I'm trying to learn to enjoy the potential of trying new things and improving my health. But, sometimes, I just want to have a muffin, or some other simple thing everyone gets to have. So, after much searching for a suitable recipe, I remembered a formula for making muffins from The Tightwad Gazette II book by Amy Dacyczyn; Villard Books, New York, 1995. I adapted her formula to make it suitable for someone with my allergies.  

To make muffins, combine dry ingredients, and then mix in wet ingredients until just combined; the batter should be lumpy. Grease muffin tin and fill cups two thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15-25 minutes. 

The following ingredients are required: 

Use 2 to 2 1/2 cups of wheat-free flour. Or substitute oatmeal, cornmeal, buckwheat flour, rye flour, coconut flour, or flake cereal for 1 cup of the wheat free flour. Or substitute 1 cup leftover cooked oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, or cornmeal for 1/2 cup of the flour and decrease liquid to 1/2 cup. 

1 cup soy, almond, goat or rice milk. You can reduce this amount by substituting 1/2 water. 

Use 1/4 cup vegetable oil or 4 tbsp. melted dairy-free margarine. Or substitute crunchy or regular peanut butter for part or all of the fat. The fat can be reduced or omitted with fair results if using a "wet addition." I've heard you can eliminate fat by using applesauce as well. 

Obviously, no eggs! Instead I use 1 heaping tbsp. of soy flour and 1 tbsp. of water. I'm looking into other egg substitutes and will post in the future. 

Use between 2 tbsp. and 1/2 cup coconut sap, honey or pure maple syrup. If using honey or syrup, decrease milk to 3/4 cup.  I imagine stevia or xylitol could work here as well as dry sweeteners but experimentation would be required to get the amounts right since they are so much sweeter than sugar. 

Baking Powder: 
Use 2 tsp. If using whole or cooked grains or more than 1 cup of additions, increase to 3 tsp. 

Use 1/2 tsp., or omit if you have a salt-restricted diet. 

The following ingredients are optional. Additions can be used in any combination, up to 1 1/2 cups total. If using more than 1 cup of wet additions, decrease the milk to 1/2 cup. I would also recommend lowering the sweetener to 1/4 cup if you are using sweet additions. 

Dry Additions: 
Nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, coconut, and so on. 

Moist Additions: 
Blueberries, chopped apple, freshly shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, and so on. 

Wet Additions: 
Pumpkin puree; applesauce; mashed, cooked sweet potato (now on my to try list!); mashed banana; mashed, cooked carrot, and so on. If using 1/2 cup drained, canned fruit or thawed shredded zucchini, substitute the syrup or zucchini liquid for all or part of the milk. 

Use spices that complement the additions, such as 1 tsp. cinnamon with 1/4 tsp nutmeg or cloves. Try 2 tsp. grated orange or lemon peel. 

Jellies and Jam: 
Fill cups half full with a plain batter. Add 1 tsp. jam or jelly and top with 2 more tbsp. batter. 

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the batter in the tins. 

Non-sweet Combinations: Use only 2 tbsp. sugar and no fruit. Add combinations of the following: 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 3 strips fried and crumbled bacon, 2 tbsp. grated onion, 1/2 cup shredded zucchini, 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese. Spices could include a tsp. of parsley and a pinch of marjoram. 

Once you learn the basic combinations, here is your recipe: 

2 to 2 1/2 cups grain 
1 cup "milk"
Up to 1/4 cup fat 
1 "egg" 
Up to 1/2 cup sweetener 
2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. salt 
Up to 1 1/2 cups additions

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