Something strange happened today–I’ve become ambivalent about baking. I spent the greater part of yesterday inspecting and cleaning out my cabinets, shopping for gluten-free pantry items, and reading a ton of books on gastrointestinal health (shockingly, the books weren’t boring and the passages didn’t leave me in a catatonic state)–all in preparation for my new life as a vegan baker.
Know that I wept a little when I typed the words vegan baker.
But before we get to the muffins, let’s talk about my barren cabinets. I wish I would have shot the “before” photo, because I packed three large boxes with gluten items. Five-pound bags of whole wheat, rye, spelt and white flour, tossed. Soy sauces, udon, noodles, couscous, barley, rye, tossed. It didn’t occur to me that I outfitted 80% of my kitchen with gluten, and this realization–bearing witness to barren cabinets–was a rude awakening.
Have I been eating this much gluten? Damn straight. (cruel reality, cold water splashes on face, etc)
After I unloaded my boxes on the sidewalk, I made lists relating to my new gluten-free, faux vegan existence (because if you’re taking pasta and cheese away from me, you know I’m keeping my BACON). Arrowroot and xanthan gum–both of which are binding agents in baking, a photocopy of the stickiness that gluten imbues in recipes–became staples. Tapioca, coconut (coconut, I’m learning, is slowly becoming my BFF), buckwheat (contrary to its name, it’s actually not a wheat product), gluten-free cornmeal, kasha, rice (in a thousand different varieties, because carbs) and oceans of dairy-free substitutes that I could stomach.
And no, I will not be eating vegan cheese, however, I have succumbed to purchasing Earth Balance vegan butter, which isn’t half bad.
This morning, after I fixed myself some brown rice pancakes (such is my life), I went all in for baking these coffee cake muffins and I was…ambivalent. I found myself going through the motions, and instead of thinking about the puffs of sugary delights in the oven, I wondered how I was going to cook those beans lodged in the fridge.
Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve spent the past month chopping, sauteing, cooking, that I get excited about cooking > baking. I actually wanted to post a soup recipe I made with buckwheat groats, because I was JUBILANT to have found a healthy couscous replacement in the GROAT. Cruel name, groat, but what can you do?
I’m going to need a moment with this, kids. And I’m saving the groat awakening for this week. Until then, enjoy these tasty coffee cake muffins.
INGREDIENTS: Recipe from Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking: Delicious, Gluten, Egg, and Dairy-Free Treats and Sweets, modified slightly
1 3/4 c/330 g gluten-free flour (I use Cup4Cup so I don’t have to use xanthan gum. I also dialed down the flour because the batter ended up being a tad dry)
½ c/72.5 g unpacked brown sugar (On the next go, I’d use coconut palm sugar, which is an excellent brown sugar replacement with low GI)
¼ c/50 g cane sugar
2 tsp/7.5 g baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp/7 g flaxseed meal (I nixed this as I didn’t have it on hand)
1 tsp xanthan gum (I nixed this since I used Cup4Cup flour)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¾ c/180 ml nondairy milk (I used almond milk, however, you can use coconut or rice milk)
⅓ c/80 ml oil (I used safflower oil)
1 tbsp/15 ml apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
For the streusel topping
1 c/165 g gluten-free flour (I use Cup4Cup so I don’t have to use xanthan gum)
⅓ c/73 g brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tsp/5 g cinnamon
3 tbsp/42 g vegan butter, cold. (I use Earth Balance)
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Lightly grease or line a muffin pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the milk mixture in. Stir with a wooden spoon. Pour the batter into the muffin pan. The consistency of my muffins wasn’t pourable (I’ve rarely work with muffin batter that you had to pour, so I question this word, but I digress), so I used an ice cream scoop. Combine the ingredients for the streusel topping with your hands and sprinkle it evenly on the batter.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the muffin tins. Cool on a wire rack.
CARA’S TIP: If you have spots in your muffin tin that are not filled before going into the oven, place some water halfway inside the individual spots. By doing this, you ensure that all of your muffins will be baked evenly.