Monday, April 7, 2014

Juicy Blackberry Pecan Muffins. Hello Spring, nice to see you.

So gluten free, dairy free, soy free baking is a little tricky. Coconut oil works wonders as a butter substitute but often times imparts its signature flavor. Coconut milk is also a miraculous substitute for milk or heavy cream but same issue. And if you're religiously doing Paleo, almond flour technically works but so far everything I've made has a spongy/wet quality after cooling which isn't so great for things like quick breads or muffins.

So this time I tried modifying a Martha Stewart recipe with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour and hooray! Muffins that act and eat like muffins and don't get soggy or weird when left out over night!

Like I said with my baby's allergies I got all hippie on you and made these gluten free and dairy free and with coconut sugar. But don't worry. My husband who is literally the pickiest eater when it comes to baked goods on the planet didn't notice the difference. In fact I have a hunch the coconut milk might have made them even richer but if you don't have the need to avoid dairy or gluten feel free to use regular 'ol butter and flour and sugar and cow's milk. I'm sure they'd be mighty fine.

Juicy Blackberry Pecan Muffins 
*Adapted from Martha Stewart
*Modifications for gluten free/dairy free below
*Coconut palm sugar imparts a dark golden color onto these muffins so don't be shocked if yours are lighter if using regular granulated sugar

*2 cups AP flour or Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups fresh blackberries
*1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or Earth Balance Soy Free, Dairy Free Buttery Spread, at room temp
1 cup sugar (or coconut palm sugar)
2 eggs, room temp
zest of a small lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*1/2 cup whole milk or coconut milk at room temp
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375. Line a 12 standard muffin cup pan with paper liners or alternatively spray with either nonstick spray or brush lightly with melted coconut oil (if you need to avoid soy found in many sprays.) If not using liners, lightly sprinkle the greased cups with a little flour then tap out excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Take a heaping tablespoon of this mixture and sprinkle it over the blackberries in another medium bowl. Give a gentle toss to lightly coat all the berries and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a standing food mixer or large bowl with hand held mixer, blend the butter and sugar for 3 minutes until fully mixed, pausing midway to scrape the bottom and the sides.

Add the eggs in one at a time, blending well each time. Add in the zest and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Add the milk and blend just until incorporated.

Carefully add in the flour mixture in two additions, blending just until incorporated each time. Use a spatula to fold in the blueberries and nuts.

Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter into your 12 cups. The cups will be full but don't worry - these muffins rise very well and don't spill over (though a baking sheet underneath is always good insurance.)

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy warm or store in an airtight container for 2 days.

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