Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free

Today we are spending the day with our friends Lynn and Matt in Philadelphia! But I remembered to bake you a few delicious morsels that you could enjoy while Chris and I are off on our grand USA adventure! Today I’m bringing you these tender, spiced muffins studded with creamy pistachios. Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy latest career aspiration: become The Muffin Woman. You know, the one who lives on Drury Lane? Okay, I don’t live on Drury Lane, but maybe I can become The Muffin Woman. Or the muffin and cookie woman? Or the muffin, cookie, and way-too-many-quinoa-salads woman? I think I’ll just stick with Moonlighting Food Blogger Woman. Who also happens to make lots of muffins. Because make muffins I do.Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI baked these beauties one Friday night in anticipation of a sweet, slow breakfast the next morning. The smell of baking spice and brown sugar wafting through the house was so tempting – and I managed to only gobble one of them down when they came out of the oven. The combination of creamy pistachios and hearty spiced chai is delightful and these muffins are definitely better on the second day. The spices settle and become more pronounced when they are cooled down, and the tops become slightly crispy-chewy while the crumb stays moist, fluffy, and soft. The chai taste here comes not from a mix of spices, but directly from the tea bag! You just cut open two chai tea bags and add them directly to the batter – direct flavour delivery!Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWhile these muffins taste decadent, they are actually secretly healthy! There’s only 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of oil in the whole recipe! The secret to great-tasting healthier muffins is to amp up the spice factor, and these Pistachio Chai Muffins deliver! They are also kept moist by a healthy dose of Greek yoghurt in the batter – another healthy muffin making secret. Pistachios are one of my favourite nuts, and these creamy green delights are both mixed into the batter and sprinkled on top. Put the kettle on my friends, pour yourself some chai and make a batch of muffins today!Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Pistachio Chai Muffins

Makes 12 muffins | Gluten Free | Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 80 grams sorghum flour
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek (or natural) yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoons rice bran oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and oil a 12-hole (1/3 cup) muffin tin very thoroughly.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together sorghum flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the contents of the two tea bags.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together milk, yoghurt, oil, vanilla essence, egg and brown sugar until very well combined.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add 1/3 cup of pistachios and mix until distributed.
  5. Divide mixture evenly between holes in pre-oiled muffin tin.
  6. Roughly chop extra two tablespoons pistachios and sprinkle over the top of the uncooked muffins.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Remove muffins from the oven and allow them to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. To remove easily run a thin-bladed knife around the baked muffins to loosen them from the tin.
  9. Serve with a cup of chai!

Pistachio Chai Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free

Carrot cake lovers rejoice! Now you can eat your favourite sweet treat for breakfast in a healthy, gluten free form. Grab those carrots and let’s get baking!Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comCarrot cake is high on my list of favourite cakes. It’s right up there with coffee and walnut (my absolute favourite), funfetti, and orange and poppy seed. But, alas, I cannot eat cake for breakfast anymore and so, these muffins came into existence. I wanted the classic flavour of carrot cake but packed into a portable, and healthy, breakfast item. When it comes to carrot cake there are a few points of importance that must be achieved:

  • Moist crumb
  • Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
  • Sweet, but not too sweet
  • Studded with tasty bits and pieces

These four important points provided my guide posts for the perfect healthier version of carrot cake in muffin form.Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comA moist crumb isn’t always easy to achieve when you are trying to create a healthier version of a baked good, but we have four ingredients working to ensure our healthy muffins aren’t hockey pucks: apple puree, oil, Greek yoghurt, and a touch of brown sugar. These four ingredients work together to weave a magically moist but still healthy muffin. Moist crumb: check!

My healthier muffin is spiced with my favourite warm and welcoming spices: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. These are the holy trinity for carrot cakes in my opinion, and each brings a little something special without overpowering the others.Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comKeeping baked goods healthy but still tasty requires smart use of sweeteners and natural sugars to back them up. These muffins are still sweetened lightly with some brown sugar and maple syrup, and the apple puree provides a background of natural sweetness too. I don’t like my breakfast baked goods too sweet, so these are lightly sweetened. If you want a special treat, serve them warm and spread them with honey for extra sweetness. Or perhaps a little cream cheese for that true carrot cake touch.

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Now, I understand that the inclusion of, and variety of nuts included, in a carrot cake is a controversial issue (or is that just my circle of friends?). Are you a walnut person? A pecan person? A no-nut person? There is room for all in this healthy carrot cake muffin recipe. If you like pecans, simply substitute them for the walnuts. If you don’t do nuts in your perfect carrot cake, then leave them out. Simples. Similarly the issue of dried fruit. My Mama is not a fan of the sultana, and it is not welcome in her baked goods. Because I filled her freezer with these muffins so that she has quick, healthy snacks when she gets back from holidays, I left out the sultanas. But I would totally add them in if I was making them for myself…

I made these on a Sunday morning before heading out for a big walk under a cloudy grey sky. When I returned they made the perfect morning snack with a big cup of sweet tea. They are fluffy and light. No dense, dry, or gluey gluten free muffins here. These rise up tall and proud and beckon you back for ‘just one more’ every time you think you’ve eaten your fill. I hope there are some left by the time Mum and Dad come home…Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins

Gluten Free | Makes approximately 20 muffins | Best eaten on the day of making. Freeze leftovers well-wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two months

Note: If you do not need these to be gluten free you can replace the first four ingredients with 250 grams plain flour.

Ingredients

  • 60 grams brown rice flour
  • 60 grams white rice flour
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup apple puree
  • 3 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrot (2 medium carrots)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped, reserve 2 tablespoons for topping muffins if desired.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and spray 2 x 12 hole muffin tins with cooking spray. Make sure you coat them very well to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. In a medium size bowl whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, apple puree, rice brain oil, yoghurt and eggs.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Add carrots and walnuts to the batter and stir until distributed.
  6. Divide batter between muffin cups. Fill to about 3/4 of the way. This will ensure nice tall muffins.
  7. Baked for 15-20 minutes, rotating trays halfway through cooking time. Bake until tops are slightly golden and bounce back when lightly touched.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing and cooling to room temperature.

Someone else wanted in on the carrot cake muffin action too!Toby Carrot Cake Muffins

Chocolate Chip Orange Muffins

It’s Friday. Let me share some true things with you.

These things are true:

I love taking walks outside the office in the middle of the day just to stare at the sky. When I reach the end of the street I can see the city and I believe if I squint hard enough I can see Chris working busily away in his office.

Our maintenance man, Ted, is the sweetest gentleman I have ever met. Every time he comes into the office he gives me a hug and sometimes it’s the best thing about those 9 ½ hours.

I will never be a size 0. I cannot give up the chocolate, the cookies, the fun. I’m okay with that.

I drink my green tea sweetened with Splenda. I figure that the antioxidants cancel out the chemicals, and it keeps me insulated against the arctic air-conditioning.

When I finish an especially awesome run I really want to burst into a song and dance routine at the end, but I would probably fall over. Also, dogs would howl.

Sometimes when I sit down to study I have to bribe myself with something fun to do or yummy to eat after doing an appropriate amount of work. Sometimes this bribery takes the form of muffins.

Choc Chip Orange Muffins 1

Truth: these muffins are the second time I have tried to make Chocolate Chip Orange Muffins to share with you. My first trial on Monday was a disaster. This is what happens when you try to cook without using a scale and just guess-timating ingredients because you really, really want muffins. Lesson learned.

I bought a new scale! So last night I stepped back into the kitchen appropriately armed. I had run, washed, and was setting out to bake in order to bribe myself into sitting down to write after dinner.

This time: success! With the muffins and the writing. I won’t bore you with the writing part, but the muffins are tender of crumb, scented with orange zest, and studded with little dark chocolate morsels. I used a bar of dark chocolate, but you can use chips instead if you would like, or substitute milk chocolate if you aren’t a fan of dark. The rest of these have been safely wrapped up for a weekend breakfast or midweek snack…or for bribery tactics when needed…

Choc Chip Orange Muffins 2

Chocolate Chip Orange Muffins

Gluten Free. Makes 12 large muffins.

I used Woolworths Free From Gluten Plain Flour because I spotted it in the supermarket last week and really wanted to try it out. You can of course use your own favourite gluten free mix, or feel free to use the same weight of plain wheat flour instead.

Ingredients

  • 270 grams plain gluten free flour
  • 80 grams fine polenta (cornmeal)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C (375F) and line a 12-hole muffin tin with papers.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together plain flour, polenta, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, caster sugar, olive oil, milk, orange juice, vanilla extract, and zest. Beat until smooth.
  4. Stir wet mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. Fold in chopped dark chocolate.
  6. Spoon into prepared muffin tins. Fill each cup about 2/3 of the way.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes away with a few moist crumbs.
  8. Remove and allow to cool.
  9. Muffins are best eaten the day of baking. Well wrapped these will keep for 2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or up to 2 months if frozen.

Choc Chip Orange Muffins 3

Okay, dear reader, your turn, what are some true things about you? Do you ever resort to bribing yourself? Any plans for the weekend?

Chocolate Chip Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze (gluten free)

Baked doughnuts with chocolate chips, covered in a chocolate glaze and dipped in chocolate sprinkles. Welcome to your sweet saviour on a rainy Tuesday such as today.  Is there anything better on a grey sky day than something warm straight from the oven? Just the memory of these cakey, vanilla scented, chocolate glazed gems transports me back to my arm chair where I am wearing fuzzy socks (with shorts, this is still Queensland), reading a great book, and drinking a warm cup of tea. Despite the fact that I am currently wearing high heels, reading emails and contracts, and drinking a mostly warm cup of tea (well, at least I got the last part!).

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Is there anything better than an easy sweet treat on a rainy day? And the first day back at school for Australian kids too – these would be a perfect after-school treat or baking project. If you can measure, whisk, and stir then you can have the scent of vanilla doughnuts wafting through your house in about fifteen minutes without the mess (and extra fat) of their deep-fried cousins. Although, if someone finds a gluten free deep-fried doughnut I will be happy to taste it – for posterity of course.

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I was very happy with the blend of gluten free flours in these doughnuts. The texture was perfect and none of the flours had an overpowering flavour that dominated the whole cake. The chocolate chips were a pleasant surprise and the glaze, well, what’s a doughnut without glaze? These little doughnuts also have a secret: they are quite low in fat. Shh – don’t tell Dad, he has the leftovers in his lunchbox today…

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Chocolate Chip Doughnuts  with Chocolate Glaze (gluten free)

Note: If you do nut require these doughnuts to be gluten free, you can replace the gluten free flours/meals (first five ingredients) with 240 grams plain flour. If you do not have a doughnut baking pan (I found mine here) you could use a well-oiled mini muffin pan. The number of doughnuts and the cooking time may vary slightly.

Makes approximately 20 mini doughnuts.

Ingredients

For the Doughnuts:

  • 50 grams sorghum flour
  • 50 grams almond meal
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams potato flour
  • 40 grams brown rice flour
  • 50 grams brown sugar
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour (ensure this is gluten free)

For the glaze:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • Chocolate sprinkles to finish

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and thoroughly grease two twelve-hole miniature doughnut pans.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together sorghum flour, almond meal, buckwheat flour, potato flour, and brown rice flour. When these are well combined whisk in both sugars, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In a separate medium bowl whisk together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well combined. This is a very wet, thin batter, but don’t worry it will rise into puffy cakey doughnuts when baked.
  5. Toss chocolate chips with cornflour and set aside for a moment.
  6. Measure two tablespoons of batter into the holes of the miniature doughnut pans. If you are using a mini muffin pan ensure each hole is only two-thirds full.
  7. Drop a few chocolate chips into each batter-filled hole. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden and spring back when gently pressed down.
  8. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. After five minutes turn the doughnuts out onto the cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.
  9. To make the glaze: In a wide shallow bowl, whisk together icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and three tablespoons of milk. The icing should be runny, but not too watery. If it is too thick add the extra tablespoon of milk.
  10. Shake sprinkles out onto a flat plate to make dunking easier.
  11. Dunk one side of each doughnut into the glaze ensuring an even coverage and then dunk into the sprinkles. Place on rack for icing to set. If it is too humid or hot you may wish to place the doughnuts on a plate in the refrigerator for the glaze to set.
  12. Keep stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two – three days.

photo 2 (4)

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes for One (gluten free)

Halloween is less than a week away, so let’s talk about what scares us…

I’ll go first. I am scared of birds – all birds: chickens, magpies, budgies, anything with wings has me ducking (no pun intended) for cover. I am scared that one day my cat is going to realise that we are all scared of his awesome power and use it to take over the world. I am scared of spooky movies, that weird Kraft cheese that comes in a jar (how….why…), the chemicals in bug spray, taking the rubbish out to the bin in the dark, and crawling into bed alone. I am scared of snakes and lizards and things that crawl.  I am scared of life passing me by too quickly without me remembering to seize each day and put my mark on it somehow. I am scared of missing out on adventures, leaving some corner of the earth unexplored, of losing my love of letting go and getting gone.

DSC00984There is nothing scary about these pancakes though – apart from how healthy they are! I was inspired by a post I saved a little while ago by Top with Cinnamon, but in honour of the approaching spooky season I decided to give them a little pumpkin and spice treatment. These aren’t sturdy pancakes (like these), but rather delicate and light – a breakfast (or dinner – no judgement) that won’t weigh you down. Subtly spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, and although they contain banana they don’t taste like it. These Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes are a breakfast that nourishes that part of your soul that needs pancakes (I can’t be the only person who has this part) and nourishes your body without filling it up with excess sugar. Pancakes you can feel good about!

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Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes for One (gluten free)

This recipe was adapted from ‘2 Ingredient Healthy Pancakes‘ by Top with Cinnamon

Makes about 8 small pancakes (~3-inches across). Serves One. Choose your favourite toppings; I used berry jam and some sliced strawberries and topped the stack with some Greek yoghurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of cardamom
  • Toppings of choice ( see above)

Method

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the whole egg, egg whites, puréed pumpkin, banana, and vanilla essence until well combined.
  2. Sprinkle over buckwheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom and beat with a whisk until thick and fully incorporated.
  3. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and spray lightly with cooking oil.
  4. Spoon a small amount (I used about 2 tablespoons) of mixture onto the pan. Bubbles will rise to the top as the pancake cooks. Once most of these have popped (about one minute), flip over and cook for thirty seconds to one minute. Use a thin spatula as the pancakes are very delicate.
  5. Remove to a plate, keep covered until the rest of the batter is cooked.
  6. Pile up on a plate and top with your favourite pancake accessories. Perhaps try some honey, Greek yoghurt and berries, or for a weekend breakfast perhaps ice cream and maple syrup.

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So dear reader, tell me, what are you afraid of? Or, better yet, have I tempted you into making pancakes for breakfast this weekend?

Sweet Sunday: Prune and Almond Muffins

I have a confession.

Though I may appear to be in my twenties, and my birth certificate firmly dates me as an ’80s child, I am about 90 years of age inside. My sister constantly reminds me that it is not normal for a woman my age to be as in love with  prunes, early bedtimes, walking holidays and Miss Marple re-runs as I am.

Four freshly baked muffins

Fresh from the oven

Although I struggle to find defence for some of my other more elderly habits I stand up for the prune; not only do they delight the taste buds, prunes are also high in dietary fibre and vitamin C and contain more antioxidants than blueberries. All these health benefits aside I believe when it comes to sweet decadence in the form of dried fruit, there is little to challenge the prune. With its rich wine flavour and moist molasses texture the humble and often ridiculed prune is a king among dried fruits.

Once you try these muffins, you might just agree. Now, I am off to slather one in jam and watch ‘The 4.50 from Paddington’ while sipping a cup of tea and knitting myself a new scarf.

Close up of muffin

Golden and delicious

Prune and Almond Muffins (Gluten Free)

Almonds and prunes are old friends, and found in combination in many dishes including tagines, cakes and pudding. In these earthy gluten free muffins almonds are well represented by the richness of almond meal and the prunes dot the vanilla scented batter without weighing it down.


Ingredients

    • 80 grams brown rice flour
    • 60 grams almond meal
    • 100 grams buckwheat flour
    • 90 grams brown sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 250mL milk
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    • 75 grams prunes, pitted and chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C  (400°F) and line a 12 hole muffin tin (1/2 cup capacity).
  2. Place a large bowl on your kitchen scale and weigh in the brown rice flour, almond meal, buckwheat flour and brown sugar. Add salt and baking powder. Mix together using a whisk as it helps to aerate and makes it easy to break up any lumps of sugar.
  3. In a small bowl beat together milk, eggs and vanilla bean paste.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and mix until just combined. Then add chopped prunes and stir through batter.
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups and place in oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until muffins are golden on top and bounce back when lightly pressed.
Close shot of crumbly muffin.

Crumbly goodness.

Sweet Sunday will be a regularly featured post on Thoroughly Nourished Life!

Dear reader, tell me what your elderly obsessions are ?