Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Applesauce, Carrot, Nut Muffins

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These muffins are adapted from this post I found while scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed (as one does while procrastinating on the number of things that should be done and are probably much more important). I have a knack for seeing recipes, and imagining just how wonderful they would make my house smell. Seeing this one, and having a significant other who’s a huge fan of carrot cake, I decided these would be worth tweaking and baking up this fine Sunday evening. I’ve been trying (with success at times) to be gluten free for the past year and a bit now. These muffins can attest to how delicious gluten free baking can be, just give them a try!

My tweaked version of the recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Quinoa flour*
3/4 cup Garbanzo & Fava flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons boiling water
1/3 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup shredded carrot (approx. one medium sized carrot)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins if you’d prefer)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (optional)

*In my baking experience gluten free flours are somewhat interchangeable, should you have any other dense gluten free flour that you’d like to use, please feel free. The combination of these two give quite a nice dense muffin texture. If you have buckwheat flour, feel free to substitute this in for one of the flours.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners (if you are using a silicone baking tray this is not necessary).
2. Combine the boiling water and chia seeds in a small bowl. Mix until the water has been incorporated around the chia seeds. Let sit until needed. The mixture will form a gel-like texture.
3. In a large bowl whisk the dry ingredients until well blended (quinoa and garbanzo flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt). Make a well in the centre of the flour.
4. In a small bowl, combine the egg, applesauce, honey, vanilla, and chia seed mixture. Whisk until well blended.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
6. Stir in the carrots, cranberries, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and coconut.
7. Pour the mixture into awaiting muffin tins. (Note: this makes 12 regular sized muffins, or 6 large muffins.)
8. Bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven.
9. Remove from oven, let sit at least 10 minutes cooling before eating.
10. Cool completely before storing. These muffins can be frozen to lengthen their lifespan, or be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. (After 3 days they will start to lose their freshness)

Enjoy!

Just a note on Gluten Free Baking: Gluten acts as a binding agent, many eaters of gluten free baked goods complain that the item being eaten is too crumbly; without the gluten, the goods fall apart. I find that when combining a number of gluten free flours, you minimize the degree of which the baked goods fall apart. Hence, I’ve included two different flours in this recipe. Should you substitute the flours above, I recommend using at least two different kinds of flours.

Just a note on Baking with Chia Seeds: In this recipe, I use chia seeds as a substitute for butter, which makes the recipe dairy free. Chia seeds can also be used as a substitute for eggs in recipes. Chia Seeds are enzyme rich and loaded with antioxidants, protein, fiber, calcium and potassium. They also have the highest amount of omega-3 essential fatty acids of any plant based foods. (Think power food!) If you haven’t yet used Chia seeds in a recipe, the first time might the texture might be a bit of a surprise. The seeds will absorb the water, and transform into a gel consistency. This process takes about 5 minutes. The first time I used them it was quite the experience, but I now try to incorporate them into each new recipe I try (Hence why they appear here). They are packed full of energy!
A cookbook by the name Grain Power, and a book on running, called Born to Run, turned me on to the benefits of this tiny seed. And I’ve become it’s newest fan.

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