Whole-Grain, Gluten-Free Muffins (with Stewed Apricot & Mandarin Jam)

Apricot and Mandarin Muffins Gluten-Free

When I think about baked goods, gluten-free muffins rarely top the list of my favourite baked goods.

Mainly because I haven’t had the best luck in the past: the gluten-free muffin recipes I’ve tried have suffered from a lack of moisture, texture or tenderness, or have been too sticky, or have fallen apart as soon as I’ve picked one up. In any case, they haven’t been worth baking again.

Gluten-Free Girl’s recipe for Gluten-Free Whole Grain Muffins changes all that! You can have gluten-free muffins that are tender, light and flaky. It’s possible, easy and much cheaper than buying them from a grocery store.

These muffins rely on a flexible combination of various whole grain flours that you can buy in store, online or even grind down yourself with help from a strong food processor or high-powered blender. You can use a blend of gluten-free grains that you may have in your kitchen to make a fail safe whole-grain, gluten-free flour blend for your favourite muffins, cakes, cookies or other baked goods that don’t necessarily benefit from added gluten.

That’s great news whether you have Celiac disease, a gluten intolerance or sensitivity, or just want to avoid gluten in your diet! And I also love the added nutrition and unmatched depth of flavour we get from using a variety of different whole grains.

For my blend of whole-grain, gluten-free flour goodness, I used:

  • 100 g raw buckwheat flour
  • 100 g millet flour
  • 100 g amaranth flour
  • 100 g brown rice flour
  • 100 g oat flour
  • 115 g sorghum flour
  • 125 g of arrowroot powder
  • 175 g of tapioca flour
  • 85 g of popcorn flour

Chances are you haven’t seen popcorn flour in the grocery store. Well, I haven’t at least. It sounds unusual but popcorn flour is a real thing, and a real delicious thing if you like the taste of corn in your baked goods. Which I do.

Popcorn flour was apparently quite en vogue during the last World War since wheat flour was much more expensive. I can tell you that popcorn flour is wonderfully light, fluffy and silky. I can also tell you that popcorn flour makes a huge mess in the kitchen. No one mentions that on the web! I’m not exaggerating either—every possible surface was covered in a cream-coloured, light-as-a-feather dust after I transferred my newly ground flour to a container. And even a week later some still are (which hopefully tells you that I am a better cook than housewife!)

Except for the brown rice and sorghum, I ground all of my flours by hand with a Magic Bullet or Vitamix (though it didn’t fare very well with the hard popcorn kernels, and in my opinion was an epic fail). Though it is a whole grain, popcorn was not one of the grains listed in the Gluten-Free Girl’s list; however, I have a LOT of popcorn in the kitchen now so I was looking for a way to use it. Mother is always the necessity of invention around here.

I love this whole-grain, gluten-free flour recipe because it’s a simple formula made by weighing instead of measuring flour AND it appeals to my experimental nature in the kitchen, using whatever I happen to have on hand.

What could be better?

Only muffins to go along with it. So… Let’s make some muffins!

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I used the muffin recipe by the Gluten-Free Girl (click here and scroll down to Gluten-Free Whole Grain Muffins). I followed the recipe mostly as written and the only minor changes I made to her original recipe were sea salt for kosher salt, a butter/coconut oil blend (about 70/30), and added vanilla extract. My muffins had a distinct corn taste from the popcorn flour but you can avoid this if you use a different blend of whole-grain flours.

For this, I combined dried organic apricots and fresh mandarins, which were stewed with a bit of water until they became caramelized and succulently sticky. I stuffed this mock ‘jam’ inside for an unexpected surprise and enjoyed the leftovers spread over the cooled muffins for breakfast.

I love using dried fruit in fall and winter. However, if you are at all sensitive to sulfites, it’s important to choose organic when possible. Non-organic fruits are often subject to sulphurization and sulfite exposure can contribute to conditions like asthma. Other foods that contain sulfites include wine, balsamic vinegar, etc. Dried fruit may not be as “bright” or as artificially coloured in its organic form, but it’s just as delicious. Promise!

ApricotandMandarinMuffins-insideblog

How to Make the Stewed Apricot and Mandarin Fruit Filling

To make the apricot and mandarin filling, you will need 100 g organic* dried apricots; two small, peeled mandarin oranges (about 115 g); and ½ cup water.

Combine the dried apricots, mandarin pieces and water in a small saucepan. Cook gently over low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the fruit is caramelized and sticky. Mash the fruit roughly with the back of a spoon to help it break down and combine.

This easy stewed fruit combination is great inside muffins or even as a jam on muffins, pancakes, toast or even ice cream! Best of all, there’s no extra sugar as the dried fruit have oodles of sweetness in them already.

* Organic apricots are usually more brown than bright orange because they are unsulphured, unlike non-organic apricots.

 

How to Make the Popcorn Flour

  • Pop some popcorn. If you’re making popcorn flour for the above whole-grain, gluten-free flour blend, make more than 100 g. I made exactly 100 g but half of it ended up flying around the kitchen so I was left with only 85 g. Don’t make the same mistake: make extra and reserve it for next time if you need to.
  • Using a food processor or high-powdered blender (like a Vitamix), grind the popcorn down until it is light and fluffy. This might take a while. A few tips: blend in batches and don’t be afraid to occasionally turn the machine off and move the kernels around to move them into the cutting blades for better results.
  • Sift the flour and pick out any hard, kernel-y bits that were not fully ground. Trust me when I say that doing a poor job of this now while make you unhappy later… especially if you’re picking these awful, rock-hard bits out of your teeth later!
  • Use as a gluten-free ingredient in the above whole-grain flour blend or in another recipe… you’re only limited by your imagination!

Get back to me about your new creations. I’d love to hear about them!

Life is a plate… eat up!

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