Monday, September 19, 2011

Swirled Blackberry Sage Banana Muffins

Swirled blackberry sage banana muffins.  Aren't they pretty?  The name even sounds pretty....blackberry sage.  These were inspired by a favorite tea of mine, the (you guessed it) Blackberry Sage flavor of Republic of Tea.  I used to go on afternoon tea runs with a friend of mine when we used to work together, and the people at the place we visited would make any tea iced.  We tried them all - but the blackberry sage remained my favorite.

A few weekends ago, a spree at Haymarket landed me three containers of blackberries.  I was pondering what to do with them on the ride home.  I continued to ponder as I washed them and put them in the fridge.  And then, it hit me.  Of course.  It had to be something with sage.  So I pulled out one of my favorite recipes for banana bread and reshaped it into delicious sweet-savory muffins. 

These rocked.  If you're a sage fan, give these a try - it really brings the flavor of the berries to the forefront without crowding them.  I had a hard time refraining from eating all of them in one sitting, but I kept it together and ate a respectable number (only two, I swear) and saved the rest to share with friends. 

Swirled Blackberry Sage Banana Muffins
Makes about 16 - 18 muffins

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 - 2 tbsp. ground dried sage, depending on your own taste (I used 2 tbsp.)
1 cup blackberries, either chopped into small chunks and stirred in, or pureed and swirled on top of each muffin

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line two muffin trays with 18 paper liners or spray with cooking spray.

Combine the wet ingredients together and stir well.  In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sage and sift together. Add to the wet ingredients and mix well.

Now you have two choices - you can either add chunks of blackberries to your muffins, or you can puree the blackberries and swirl them in.  I swirled, but I can't say it would be a bad idea at all to swirl AND add whole chunks.  But do what you feel is right for your muffins.  If you're adding chunks, chop up the berries and add them to the batter, stir lightly, and then spoon even amounts into the paper liners.

If you're swirling, puree the blackberries in a food processor.  If desired, push the mixture through a sieve to get the seeds out (but it's not really necessary).  Add about 1 tbsp. of blackberry puree to each muffin and swirl around in the batter using a knife or fork.  If desired, sprinkle the top of each muffin with a little more dried sage.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or just until they are slightly browned and spring back when you push down on them.  Remove from the oven and let sit in the hot pan for another 2 - 3 minutes until they firm up, then remove them carefully and place on a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or cold - they are delicious either way!  Store leftovers in the fridge until ready to serve.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chocolate Coconut or Cinnamon-Glazed Vanilla Mini Cake Donuts

Mmmm, donuts.  How long has it been since you've had a donut?  I had to really think about that question.  Before this summer, it had been at least as long as I've known I have celiac (roughly 3.5 years), if not longer.

But now, armed with my Norpro donut pans (a birthday gift from my sister!), donuts are back in my life.  We've had a happy reunion.  Which is part of why I was so excited about this month's Gluten-free Ratio Rally assignment: donuts and fritters.

Now, I know that everyone loves a good, traditional, fried donut.  Who couldn't love them?  I thought about going that route.  But I wanted to take this opportunity to make some awesome, slightly healthier baked donuts.  The ratio I came up with for cake donuts was 2 parts flour: 1 part liquid: 1 egg.  The amount of fat used was so negligible that it doesn't even warrant a place in the ratio - it was 2 teaspoons for the entire batch!  Instead of non-dairy milk, I used cranberry juice as the liquid base in these.  For me, this ratio created a donut that held together and didn't crumble in my hands, and had a slightly dry crumb that was perfect for absorbing the glaze I slathered all over it.

I experimented with several different glazes for the donuts - I tried vanilla, plain chocolate, chocolate coconut, orange (which ended up tasting like a gumdrop - no, thanks), powdered sugar cinnamon, and cinnamon glaze.  I think I can safely recommend any of the above, with the exception of the orange (unless that's your thing, in which case, go crazy!).  But in the end, my two favorites were the cinnamon and chocolate coconut glazes.  A little tip - these are fabulous if you freeze them once they're glazed.  The chocolate ones reminded me of those chocolate Entenmann's donuts, which I used to love. I brought both versions into work, and everyone loved them - especially the chocolate ones.  "Phenomenal" and "out of this world" were used to describe the flavor

Our host this month was Meg of Gluten-free Boulangerie.  Check out her blog for her recipe for Old Fashioned Raised and Cake Doughnuts, and for a list of all of the other amazing recipes from the other blogger participants. You can also look below my recipe at the bottom for the list of all the other bloggers and recipes in the Ratio Rally this month. 

So say yes to donuts!  Check out what happens when a group of creative bloggers put their minds to something.  Beautiful - and delicious - things result.

Chocolate Coconut or Cinnamon-Glazed Vanilla Mini Cake Donuts
Makes about 18 mini donuts or 10 regular donuts

5 oz. / 1 cup gluten-free flour blend (I used 1/2 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup sorghum, and 1/4 cup brown rice flour)
2.5 oz. white sugar (~1/4 cup + 2 tbsp.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread, melted
1 egg
2.5 oz. cranberry juice (~1/4 cup + 2 tbsp.)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

For the chocolate coconut glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 - 4 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 - 1 tsp. coconut extract (to your own taste)
1 - 3 tbsp. hot water

For cinnamon glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
 2 - 4 tbsp. hot water
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Spray two mini donut pans or two regular donut pans with cooking spray.

Combine the dry ingredients first and mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients, mix together, and then add to the dry ingredients.  Stir to combine, making sure there are no patches of dry flour.

Place the donut dough into a plastic baggie and cut a hole in one corner (this is your makeshift pastry bag).  Pipe the dough into each donut tray, filling it about 2/3 of the way full.

If you are making mini donuts, bake for about 6 - 8 minutes, or just until they spring back when you touch them.  For regular donuts, bake for about 8 - 9 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave in the donut pans for about 2 - 3 minutes to allow them to firm up.  When they're firm enough not to fall apart, gently remove them from the donut pans and place on a wire rack to cool.

Make whichever glaze your heart desires, preferably in a wide, flat bowl.  Drench each donut in glaze, rolling it around to ensure that all sides are covered.  Place each newly glazed donut on a plate or tray and place in freezer until glaze is frozen.  Then you can remove them from the tray and store them in tupperware - but it's still a good idea to place a sheet of wax paper between each layer of them.

Store in the freezer or fridge until ready to serve. The chocolate donuts tasted best frozen, but the cinnamon ones are equally good frozen or refrigerated.

Here's a list of all the other amazing bloggers and their recipes for donuts or fritters!

Britt of GF in the City | Blueberry Fritters
Brooke of B and the Boy! | Apricot Fritters
Caleigh of Gluten Free[k] | Beetroot Fritters
Caneel of Mama Me Gluten Free | Thai Fried Bananas
Charissa of Zest Bakery | Picarones (Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Fritters)
Claire of Gluten Freedom | Chocolate Coconut or Cinnamon-Glazed Vanilla Cake Doughnuts
Gretchen of Kumquat | Peach Cider Doughnuts
Jean of Gluten-Free Doctor Recipes | Cinnamon Apple Fritters
Jeanette of Jeanette's Healthy Living | Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts
Jenn of Jenn Cuisine | Mini Raspberry Doughnut Cakes
Lisa of Gluten Free Canteen | Apple Butter Maple Syrup Doughnuts
Mary Fran of Frannycakes | Raspberries and Cream Doughnuts
Mrs. R of Honey From Flinty Rocks | Jelly Doughnuts
Pete & Kelli of No Gluten, No Problem | Jelly Doughnut Holes
Rachel of The Crispy Cook | Chocolate Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze
Silvana of Silvana's Kitchen | Vanilla-Glazed Chocolate Chip Doughnuts
Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl | Glazed Yeast Doughnuts
Tara of A Baking Life | Brioche Doughnuts with Italian Plum Jam
T.R. of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies | Sweet Pepper and Pancetta Fritters