Honey-Glazed Raisin Pecan Muffins (Gluten-Free)

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Honey-Glazed Raisin Pecan Muffins

2 c. white rice flour (gluten-free)

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

1 T. baking powder

2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1 c. Greek yogurt (full-fat)

1/2 c. melted butter

1/2 c. honey, plus extra for glazing muffins

2 lg. eggs

1 c. mixed jumbo raisins

1 c. chopped pecans

muffin papers or foils

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to  400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with papers or foils.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, butter, 1/2 c. honey, and eggs. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and then stir with a mixing spoon until no dry spots appear. Fold in raisins and walnuts.

4. Divide batter between muffin cups, mounding batter up in the center of each muffin and rounding with the back of a spoon. (Batter will stand above the top of the muffin pan.)

5. Bake for 20 – 23 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove muffins from the oven and immediately glaze each with about 1/2 t. of honey, spreading honey with the back of a spoon. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Muffins are best served warm with a bit of butter or jam. Enjoy!

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Have a lovely weekend!

Banana Mocha Coconut Muffins

The other morning, I had a guest on an almost vegan diet; so I made these delicious muffins which one would never know were free of dairy products and eggs. I hope that you enjoy the recipe!

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Banana Mocha Coconut Muffins

3/4 c. sweetened shredded coconut

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. granulated white sugar

2 T. instant coffee or 2 t. espresso powder

1 T. baking powder

1 c. mashed ripe bananas

1 c. coconut milk

1/2 c. canola oil

1 T. coconut rum

1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, preferably miniature ( use vegan chocolate if needed)

1 recipe Coffee Coconut Milk Glaze (below)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread coconut on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 3 to 4 minutes or until just starting to turn golden at the edges. Remove coconut from baking sheet and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, prepare 12 standard muffin cups or 10 four-ounce ramekins with baking spray.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, 2 T. of the instant coffee or 2 t. of the espresso powder, and baking powder. Set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together bananas, coconut milk, canola oil, and rum. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.

5. Divide batter into ramekins or muffin cups. Using the back of a spoon, shape each cup of batter into a slight mound. Bake 15 to 20 minutes for 12 muffins or 20 to 25 minutes for 10 muffins. Muffins are firm to the touch when done.

6. Meanwhile, prepare Coffee Coconut Milk Glaze. Glaze muffins immediately upon removing from oven and  then sprinkle them with toasted coconut.

Coffee Coconut Milk Glaze

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

2 T. coconut milk

1/2 t. minced orange or lemon zest

1/2 t. instant coffee or 1/4 t. instant espresso powder

1/2 t. coconut rum, light rum, or orange or lemon extract

1. In a small bowl, slowly stir coconut milk into confectioner’s sugar. Stir in coffee, then zest, then rum or extract. Stir until smooth, then warm glaze to dissolve coffee.

Searching for the Perfect Gluten-free White Butter Cake + Notes on Preparing Cake Pans

Part I.

As an innkeeper, I am aware of just how many people have food sensitivities or allergies and also of how difficult it can be for them to find foods that they can eat when they travel. This is especially the case when it comes to special events, such as  wedding receptions, where the food choices are limited.

I am working on perfecting my gluten-free white butter cake recipe which could be used for wedding cakes or baby showers. My goal, of course, is for my gluten-free cakes to be 100% as delicious as my regular wheat flour cakes. I would say that I am about 90% there with this particular cake. The flavor and crumb (cake texture) are good, but it does not quite have that melt-in-your mouth quality of my other cakes. I think that I just need to increase the butter a little on my next attempt. The two key issues to solve with gluten-free baking are (1) using the right wheat flour substitute for your recipe and (2) figuring out the right flour-fat ratio. In many recipes such as cookie recipes, a one-to-one substitution of rice flour for all-purpose flour works fine. Substitutions for specialty flours, such as cake flour, are a different story.

Normally I use cake flour for baking white butter cakes. Cake flour has a low protein content – 7.5% as compared to 10% for all-purpose flour- and weighs 3.5 oz. per sifted cup. While rice flour has an even lower protein content – 5% – it is not milled nearly as finely as cake flour. To lighten the texture of cakes made with rice flour, the flour needs to be blended with starches which are very fine in consistency. These starches also act as thickeners helping to compensate for the reduced protein content. The gluten-free cake flour blend that I made for this recipe is significantly lower in protein than cake flour – 2.5%, and is heavier weighing 4.5 oz. per double-sifted cup; but it works pretty well.

Laurie’s Gluten-free Cake Flour Blend:

Whisk together, and then sift together twice, the following ingredients.

1 c. white rice flour

1/2 c. tapioca starch

1/2 c. potato starch

1 T. Cake Enhancer (from King Arthur flour)

I used 9 oz. (by weight) of gluten-free cake flour blend as a substitute for 7 oz. cake flour in my regular white butter cake recipe. As I mentioned above, the flavor and crumb were good, but the cake didn’t have the melt in your mouth quality that really makes for a wonderful butter cake. Next time, I think that I shall increase the butter slightly. The other option would be to decrease the flour, but since the dry-wet ratio of the batter seemed right, I am going to try the increased butter option first – my theory being that the recipe needs increased fat to compensate for the increased weight of the flour.

If you have been experimenting with your own gluten-free cake recipes, I’d love to hear from you!

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Part II.

Proper preparation makes removing any cake from the pan easier.

(1) Place your baking pans on parchment paper and trace the outside with a pencil. Cutting just inside the pencil lines, cut paper to fit inside pans.

(2) Cut strips of parchment paper long enough to wrap around the sides of your pans, making the strips just taller than your cake pans.

(3) Butter the inside of the cake pans and one side of each of the pieces of parchment paper. Place paper, buttered side up/out in pans.

(4) Sprinkle with sifted flour or gluten-free flour. Tap pans to distribute the flour. Shake out any extra flour. (If you prefer to use baking spray, skip buttering the paper. But don’t use baking spray for gluten-free baking.) Fill with batter and bake.

(5)  After baking, allow cakes to cool then remove parchment paper from sides of pans, invert cakes, remove paper from bottoms of cakes, then re-invert.

Your cakes should turn out the pans perfectly each time.

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CakeBatterInPans

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Just Out of the Oven: Chai Spice Snickerdoodles

Soft and sugary, but spicy too, Chai Spice Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. I just baked this batch for our guests.

Chai Spice Snickerdoodles*

2 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. ground ginger

1/8 t. ground cardamom

1/8 t. ground nutmeg

3/4 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 1/3 granulated white sugar

2 lg. eggs

1 t. almond extract

3 T. spiced sugar (2 T. + 1 t. granulated white sugar blended with 1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon, 1/4 t. ground ginger, 1/8 t. ground cardamom, and 1/8 t. ground nutmeg)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then beat in extract. Scrape down sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients just until well combined. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Remove dough from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Scoop by rounded tablespoonfuls. Roll dough between palms to form balls and then roll the balls in the spiced sugar mixture. Place 3 inches apart on baking sheets.

6. Bake for approximately 12 to 14 minutes or until just set and slightly golden. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool. Enjoy!

* Recipe from my second cookbook, Confectionately Yours: A Collection of Cookies, Candies & Yummy Confections.