Gluten Free Apple Carrot Muffins

Gluten Free Apple Carrot MuffinsSometimes, recipes just surprise you.

I had no idea I was going to love these so much.  I had no idea that I would end up completely redoing these muffins over five different batches.  I had no clue that I would grow kind of addicted to the texture of almond flour.  I was completely taken aback by the fact that I did not like them at all when made with wheat flour.  And I was totally surprised that I would eventually be worn down and actually succumb to the skinny jeans fashion craze, but that is a story for another blog…

Recently, I had two lovely house guests that avoid eating gluten, corn, and a variety of other foods due to certain medical conditions.  Not wanting to let them down (they were on vacation, after all) I planned ahead and tried to create menus that would be easy, tasty, and hopefully a break from the normal fare they were eating. I mean, fun food is part of the experience of vaca, right?  Due to my three little chitlins’, I didn’t get a chance to make, or experiment, with half the stuff I wanted to.  But I did make them Asian Lettuce Wraps with gluten-free soy sauce, Roast Chicken & Mashed Potatoes, Sweet & Spicy Salmon with greens and Vinaigrette, Roast Broccoli, Autumn Minestrone, Scrambled Eggs W/Bacon and Avocado, Flax Wraps W/Hummus (although they actually made those themselves…), Baked Pumpkin Custards, Tofu Chocolate Pudding, and these muffins.  They didn’t seem to suffer!

These muffins are extremely easy to throw together.  Originally, I was working off of a recipe from Aran Goyoaga, the genius behind Canelle et Vanille, but ended up swapping out and adjusting so many of the ingredients that it is now a totally separate recipe.  My version is much more streamlined, less sweet, easier and faster to prepare and uses more accessible ingredients.  But no less tasty, I am sure!

Yes, these contain a few specialty flours that you may need to search out, but I found the almond meal and the tapioca starch at my local super market.  And I live in the middle of nowhere.  So chances are close by.  The rice flour required a ride in to ‘town’ but now I have enough to keep me in these muffins for quite sometime.  Thank goodness!  That they are gluten-free is a bonus for any of you with celiac disease, but the fact that they are little gems of heart healthy goodness is a plus for the rest of us.  They are totally worth adding to your list of things to bake this fall.  Skinny jeans or no!
Gluten Free Apple Carrot MuffinsOne Year Ago: Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Salmon Nicoise, Maple Pecan Shortbread, & Chicken & Barley Soup
Two Years Ago: Apple Cider Syrup, Overnight Apple Cinnamon OatmealBaked Macaroni & Cheese

Gluten-Free Apple Carrot Muffins
Inspired by these
I know the spice list sounds excessive, but when I tried to cut it down to just cinnamon and cardamom, we could totally tell.  The flavors are much better balanced with all four in there!

In a medium bowl, whisk together:
1 c brown rice flour
1/2 c almond flour or almond meal
2 T tapioca starch, also called tapioca flour
1 T ground flax
1/4 c raw sugar or brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom (optional, but highly recommended)
Whisk until combined and set aside.  In a large measuring cup, combine:
1/3 c pure maple syrup
1/3 c canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
Whisk until smooth and gently fold into the dry ingredients just until moist.  Don’t over mix!  You still have to add:
1 c grated carrot-about 3 small, 2 medium, or 1 large
1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated-I ALWAYS bake with golden delicious but it is up to you
Oh so gently, fold these in and divide among eleven lined or sprayed muffin cups.  You heard me right.  Eleven.  No matter what I do, I can’t make this recipe come out to an even dozen!  Anyway, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a crumb or two.  Cool slightly.  Enjoy!