May. 25, 2015

Alternatives in Baking

For the past decade+, I have been living a wheat free life. For me, it seems to be a wheat allergy and I know that I will need to always maintain a wheat free diet. Thankfully, the options of ingredients have expanded dramatically. I really do feel like almost any dish can be reproduced in to a gluten free version. However, most gluten free baked goodies are just as fattening as those created with wheat flour. This is why I also explore grain free options as well. Most of my experimentation has been with almond and coconut flours. This weekend, I was out of almond flour and there was none available at my local market. So, that gave me the opportunity to give flax meal a try. I have used flax meal as a small addition before, but never used it as a primary ingredient. I decided that flax meal alone would probably be too heavy and gritty so I used a combination of a pre-packaged Flax and Whole Grain Gluten Free Flour, which I believe I picked up at Whole Foods. To that, I added about 1/2 as much again pure flax meal and about 1/4 as much coconut flour. Who needs a bran muffin when you pack this much fiber in to your muffin. I had two very ripe bananas so the vote went to banana pecan muffins. I always do my best to nutritionally boost every dish I make so I also added one whole diced apple, skin and all. I do not use refined sugar so I used half honey and half date palm sugar for that brown sugar like flavor. Speaking of flavor, I added real vanilla and cinnamon.These muffins are dairy free because I used cashew milk for my liquid and my fat was melted coconut oil. They are not vegan though because I did use eggs. Of course there is the usual baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I dusted the muffin tops with cinnamon and stevia. I love nuts in muffins and I used pecans. I put them in the oven and held my breath. Low and behold they came out tender, moist, and had loft. I am pretty excited to continue to experiment with flax meal which is so nutritionally beneficial. What have you been experimenting with?