What I like most about creating gluten-free baked goods is combining a range of flours, particularly whole-grain and nut flours, to replace the wheat flour that one would normally find in a cake or muffins. Small amounts of quite a few flours help achieve a better texture than just a single variety.
Nut meals, like almond or ground coconut, as you’ll find in this muffin, are always a safe bet for getting a moist texture and plenty of body without the batter becoming heavy. Since these flours lack the binding quality of gluten, it can be helpful to add wet ingredients that help hold the batter together — here, soaked chia seeds and bananas. When chia seeds are added to liquid, they “bloom” or thicken in about 10 minutes, creating a perfect consistency for binding a batter. Banana puree acts in a similar way and gives these muffins a tropical flavor, especially as they’re combined with plenty of coconut flavor from the oil, flour and the dried coconut.
The result is a satisfying, moist cakelike muffin with a lovely, nutty flavor that’s perfect for breakfast.
Gluten-Free Carrot-Coconut Muffins
Golden raisins make a nice addition to this recipe, if you have them. Place ¼ cup raisins in a bowl, cover with boiling water and allow to sit 10 minutes or until plump. Then drain well and stir them into the batter with the grated carrot.
2 tablespoons chia seeds
½ cup soy or almond milk
¼ cup oat flour
¼ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
½ cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup almond meal
¾ cup mashed banana, from about 2 large bananas
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons melted extra virgin coconut oil
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1½ cups grated carrot
Flaked coconut to garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
Add chia seeds and soy or almond milk to a medium bowl, whisk to combine and set aside 10 minutes or until thickened.
Sift oat flour, brown rice flour, coconut flour and baking powder into a medium bowl and set aside. Place shredded coconut in a food processor and blend until finely ground about 30 seconds. Add it to the flours along with almond meal and whisk to combine; set aside.
Add mashed banana, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt to the chia seed mixture and whisk to combine. Add flour mixture and stir until almost combined, add grated carrot and stir again. Spoon into lined muffin cups and top each muffin with a few pieces of flaked coconut.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow muffins to sit in pan for 10 minutes then place on a rack to cool. Stored at room temperature, the muffins keep well for a day or two in an airtight container and up to 3 days in the fridge.
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.