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Carrot Raisin Buckwheat Muffins

Posted Aug 27 2009 11:34pm

Instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought I would share with you today a recipe from our cookbook ( The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook ). Some of you may have made these already, but for those who have not, the photos will probably inspire you to give them a try.

These muffins do not require any xanthan gum. I know this is a strange-sounding food ingredient, but it is necessary for the most part in gluten-free baking. The xanthan gum helps to hold baked goods together and give them elasticity. It also helps to retain moisture and increase mouth-feel. For those of you who are unfamiliar with xanthan gum, here is a great definition from www.wisegeek.com:

"Xanthan gum derives its name from the strain of bacteria used during the fermentation process, Xanthomonas campestris. Xanthomonas campestris is the same bacteria responsible for causing black rot to form on broccoli, cauliflower and other leafy vegetables. The bacteria form a slimy substance which acts as a natural stabilizer or thickener. The United States Department of Agriculture ran a number of experiments involving bacteria and various sugars to develop a new thickening agent similar to corn starch or guar gum. When Xanthomonas campestris was combined with corn sugar, the result was a colorless slime called xanthan gum."

I have found that most recipes which use buckwheat as the primary flour do not require xanthan gum and actually turn out better without it. Buckwheat flour forms a stringy goo when mixed with a liquid and the end product holds together surprisingly well.

I have heard of some people reacting to xanthan gum, while others would rather avoid it. Recently I have been in email correspondence with someone who has our cookbook and cannot tolerate xanthan gum. She has been experimenting with different combos of ingredients to replace it. Here is her most recent email:

"hi, just to let you know that I tried your rosemary olive dinner rolls, with no xanthan at all, I replaced it with 1 tbsp of potato flour (not potato starch) and 1 tsp of sweet rice flour (for half the recipe). In no time, they disappeared. I guess it's a good sign! I accompanied them with a baba ghanoush (you know, the eggplant caviar) and I felt full, satisfied, happy...It's true that they were not "freely formed", that the muffin molds "contained" them, but you know what, I don't care as long as they are delicious! thank you again for this wonderful book. have a good week-end. Nat"

So it sounds like potato flour and sweet rice flour replaced the xanthan gum in this recipe. Hope this information will be useful to some of you.

For more muffin recipes, please click here. And now, the Carrot Buckwheat Muffin recipe from our cookbook. I didn't add raisins to these this time, my girls decided that they don't care for raisins in baked goods anymore. They happily scarfed down (along with their twin brothers and a friend) the entire batch of muffins in one day! I guess that is a testimony in itself!


Carrot Raisin Buckwheat Muffins

If you are a buckwheat lover then you will to enjoy these gluten-free muffins. Try adding more carrots, raisins, some shredded apple, or any chopped nut for a denser, more nutritious treat. These muffins work great as a quick breakfast, simply serve with a green smoothie for a balanced and energizing meal. I grind my own buckwheat flour from raw buckwheat groats. I find the flavor and texture of this fresh flour superior to that of the packaged roasted, ground buckwheat flour. You can use a Vita-Mix to grind the flour or a small electric grinder such as a coffee grinder.

2 ½ cups buckwheat flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup organic brown sugar, Sucanat, or maple sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2 cups applesauce
¼ cup melted virgin coconut oil or grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup grated carrots
½ to 1 cup raisins, soaked for 10 minutes in ¼ cup water (then drain)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl combine the buckwheat flour, tapioca flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, and spices. Mix well.

Place apple sauce into a separate bowl and add the melted coconut oil, vanilla, carrots, and raisins; whisk together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix together being careful not to over mix.

Spoon batter into oiled muffin tins. Fill each muffin cup to the top. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife and gently take out of tins and place onto a wire rack to cool.

If you would like me to feature any other recipes from our book please let me know, thanks! I find it to be very inspiring to make a recipe where the end result is pictured. Cooking is such a visual thing, isn't it?

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