It’s the little things in life that thrill me. OK, I’m easy that way.
Kitchen short-cuts learned over the past year or so fall into the “little things” category. I wasn’t much of a baker before going gluten-free so, I didn’t use the little baker’s tricks that ease the path to baking success. I’m learning as I go.
This is basic stuff for you seasoned bakers but I’m excited to share. Like I said…the little things thrill me.
1) Store starches & gums in jars. Tapioca starch is explosive. Not combustible. More volatile, turbulent, rocketing. (Yes, I used the Thesaurus!) I’m pretty sure some type of starch—not flour—was used in I Love Lucy when Lucille Ball ends up wearing flour during a cooking episode gone awry. That’s how I look when I’m baking—tapioca starch everywhere! I used to keep starches in the bags in which they’re sold—rubber banded to keep from spilling—and then contained in a second zippered plastic bag for added protection. Well, starches have just graduated to quart-sized wide mouth mason jars. No more battling with the explosive white stuff.
2) Crush nuts instead of chopping them. Chopping nuts was my job when my sister and I baked together as pre-teens. She was older, bossed me around, and got to do all the fun stuff. I got to chop nuts. Needless to say, I’m not a big fan of chopping nuts. Put the nuts in a zippered plastic bag, push the air out and seal it. Gently tap, tap, tap with a heavy spoon or similar object until the nuts are the right size. If there are still large pieces in the mix break them with your fingers. This works well with walnuts and pecans. Other types of nuts that are less fragile may take a heavier hand or you may have to revert to chopping.
3) Coat nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate chips with a little flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the muffin (or cake or brownie…you get it). Put the add-ins in a zippered plastic bag (gotta love those plastic bags) with a teaspoon or so of flour and shake until everything’s coated. Then add to the batter.
4) Stir your batter with a curved silicone spatula instead of a spoon. It’s so much easier. This might not work with a really heavy batter so you may have to revert back to a heavy spoon for those.
5) Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups. Almost everyone knows about this technique but, I just started doing it and it makes a huge difference. Get an old-fashioned ice cream scoop, the one with the mechanism that releases the ice cream when you push the thumb handle, and use that to scoop muffins and cupcakes into the tins. The muffins come out uniform and have a very pretty domed top.
Little things, folks, little things.
On to the muffins…
We got a tray of Honeybell Oranges from a friend. They beg to be eaten. Sweet. Juicy. A little bit of sunshine in a bright orange wrapper.
One or two could easily be sacrificed for a delightful breakfast food. No, not three…just one or two. The triple in Triple Orange Muffins is all about the flavor and color of orange. So, we’ve got orange juice, orange zest, and carrots making up our little orange triplet.
I’ve made these a few times and each time they’ve been tasty. Also, each time they’ve stuck to the muffin liners. So, if you have some tips on how to fix that please let me know.
Triple Orange Muffins
1/2 cup (one small container) coconut milk yogurt
1 cup orange juice, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup grapeseed or canola oil
2 flax eggs
2 carrots, coarsely grated
zest of one orange
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cups sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 cup rice flour blend*
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, for decoration
Heat oven to 400℉. Lightly grease and flour muffin cups or line with paper or foil liners.
Make the flax eggs by mixing 2 tablespoons flax with 6 tablespoons warm water.
In bowl combine (whisking them together) yogurt, ¾ cup of the orange juice, vanilla, and flax egg. Add the grated carrots and orange zest. Stir together.
In separate bowl whisk together sugars, flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt and baking soda until combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry a little at a time mixing gently by hand until the batter comes together. (Add remaining orange juice a tablespoon at a time if the batter seems too stiff.) Gently fold in walnuts and raisins. Spoon into muffin cups.
Sprinkle muffins with chopped walnuts and turbinado sugar.
Bake 20-25 minutes.
Makes about 10 large muffins.
*I used Authentic Foods Multi-Blend Flour which has xanthan gum as an ingredient. If you use another flour blend be sure it has xanthan gum in it or increase the xanthan gum in the recipe in proportion to the amount of flour you’re substituting (about 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon xanthan per cup of flour).