Here is another recipe for a simple and tasty muffin. Even better, the recipe is gluten-free. I had some very ripe bananas to use up and decided to experiment with substituting a gluten-free flour blend in my recipe. Muffins do not require much mixing or kneading, so this is the perfect type of recipe to use with gluten-free flour. My muffins were moist and soft with a flavorful bend of bananas, walnuts and chocolate chips. Yum! They quickly disappeared.
Gluten-free Cooking and Celiac’s Disease
Gluten-free cooking has received more attention in recent years as people become aware of the problems of eating grains and foods containing gluten. While most folks can digest wheat and related grains just fine, a small number of people are sensitive to one of the components in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. This component — gluten — causes an auto-immune response in the digestive tract resulting in gas and bloating. Eliminating foods containing gluten can help resolve these discomforts.
If a physician diagnoses you or a family member with Celiac disease, eliminating all foods with gluten my help relieve some of the symptoms such as gas, bloating, fatigue, diarrhea and/or constipation. This can be a meticulous challenge since many food products contain grains containing gluten. And you must keep on the diet for a period of weeks to notice any positive response to eliminating gluten. For true Celiac Sprue disease, the person most likely will need to keep on the diet for a lifetime. Since this can alter a person’s intake of vitamins and minerals, this diet is not to be taken on without alot of thought, planning and proper diagnosis. Fortunately, some grocery stores are shelf labeling whether or not products contain gluten. This makes the task of identifying potential problems a little easier.
There are many gluten-free flours on the market and some — but not all — recipes can be adapted using these flours. It takes some experimentation. I happen to have an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend on my shelf from Bob’s Red Mill. Using such a blend is an easy way to get started with baking gluten-free quick breads and desserts.
Bob’s Red Mill advertises that this particular blend (which is made from garbanzo bean flour, white sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and fava bean flour) can be substituted one-to-one for all-purpose flour. This product works well for cakes, cookies, pasta, pancakes and pizza crusts according to Bob’s Red Mill. The company also claims it will work for making yeast breads with adjustments in other ingredients — but I have not tried or verified this fact. (I once met Bob from Bob’s Red Mill at a trade show — and he looks exactly like the photo!)
Here are the ingredients for my muffins including the very ripe bananas. (Very ripe and soft bananas work well for the muffins, even with brown spots — but you can also use bananas which aren’t quite this ripe.) I used maple syrup for a sweetener thus avoiding table sugar. Chocolate chips and nuts — either walnuts or pecans — are optional but they definitely add to the ambiance of this muffin.
Bob’s Red Mill recommends adding a tiny bit of xanthan gum to gluten-free baked goods as the gum acts as an emulsifier and a binder and adds volume to the product. And it worked, as my muffins definitely had lots of volume.
Making the Recipe
These muffins are so simple to make. They shouldn’t take any longer than 5 minutes to mix up! Combine the dry ingredients together in one bowl and everything else in another bowl — mashing up the bananas. Then pour the liquids into the flour mixture adding in the chocolate chips and walnuts (or pecans) at the end. Stir and fold the ingredients together just until combined. Don’t over mix.
Scoop into a 12-cup standard cupcake pan with double paper liners. I like to fill the liners heaping full to the top — this just makes 12 muffins. And I used a dull, non-stick cupcake pan for the muffins. Cooking times may vary if you use a shiny pan. Bake in a hot 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. They puff up.
Gluten-Free Banana Nut Muffins
- 2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 – 3 medium bananas)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnut or pecan pieces
Method and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard dull, non-stick 12-cup cupcake pan with double liners.
- In large bowl, combine Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Set aside.
- In a second bowl, combine beaten eggs, mashed bananas, maple syrup and oil and stir well to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the liquids. Add the chocolate chips and walnut pieces. Using a spatula, fold and stir the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients. Stir until just combined. Some lumps and flour may remain.
- Use a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop the batter into the 12 cupcake liners dividing evenly to fill each liner to the top.
- Bake in the center rack of the oven for 18 – 20 minutes or until the tops are nicely browned. (Baking times may vary if a shiny cupcake pan is used.)
- Remove from oven and transfer muffins to wire rack to cool slightly. Best when served warm. (May re-heat leftover muffins for 15 sec each in microwave oven.)
- Wrap muffins with plastic wrap to store for several days or freeze leftover muffins.
A very technical reference: