Category Archives: muffins

Gluten-Free Baking Class? Yes Please!

Hi Everyone, Ally here, I am excited make a guest appearance on Kelley’s fantastic food blog!

As you know from Kelley’s recent post she and EPC have had a very busy month or so thanks to Coco, the new adorable addition to their family. In the midst of her hectic month Kelley did make time to attend a Gluten-Free Baking Class, with me, at the City Arts Centre. It was her idea, because she loves baking, and I am the lucky Celiac friend who often benefits from her passion for new foods.

There were 11 of us in the class, all ladies, about a 50/50 split between “there for their own health or interest” and “there for their husband’s gluten intolerance.”

“Where are all the husbands?” Kelley wondered aloud.

After brief introductions and a short overview by our instructor, Jody Shenkarek (former co-owner of the fabulous Cafe Mosaics), we split up into groups of 2 or 3 and headed into the large kitchen to test our baking skills. Each group had chosen two of the recipes in the handout provided so that by the end of the evening we would be able to sample a bit of everything.

Kelley and I were joined by a lovely older lady named Jean and the three of us set to work mixing up a batch of  Basic Gluten Free Flour Mix.  We made a double batch to provide the basic ingredients for most of the groups. Rather than sifting we mixed the Basic Flour ingredients with a whisk which certainly did the trick.
Our group’s first recipe was for Basic Scones, which was very exciting! Both Kelley and I  love scones!

Baking by committee in a crowded kitchen had its challenges but we managed to gather all the ingredients measure them properly and keep track. In the recipe it says to flour a surface and your hands when splitting the dough into two batches. Well, the GF flour mix doesn’t behave like regular wheat flour so Jody, our instructor, took over – simply plopping the halved dough right onto the parchment and using slightly floured hands to shape it. It provided a good “teachable moment” for her.

Our scones turned out perfect and all three of us were quite pleased.

I have since made these scones at home adding an eighth of a cup (1/8 C) defrosted frozen blueberries to one half, and sprinkling chopped pistachios and mission figs on top of the second half. They turned out delicious! However the berries added a lot of moisture so the scones needed an extra
3 to 5 minutes to fully cook and brown nicely. Personally I think you should experiment with the options – I used to love Berry and White Chocolate, or Cheese and Spinach scones – from Good Earth Café in Calgary. The Basic Scone recipe is straightforward and easy to experiment with, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Once our scones were in line for the oven, we set to work on the Nut Crackers. I will continue with this recipe in Part 2 of Gluten-Free Baking Class!

Stay tuned.

Basic Gluten Free Flour Mix (makes 6 cups of basic mix)

4 Cups Superfine Brown Rice Flour
1 & 1/3 Cups Potato Starch (NOT potato flour)
2/3 Cup Tapioca flour (which is a.k.a. tapioca starch)

  • Sift in bowl or put into an extra-large Ziplock bag and shake to mix – keep remainder refrigerated!

Caution: when measuring, pour into measuring cup rather than scooping it – Then level off the top with a knife.
This will avoid packing it too densely and mixing  up the proportions.

Basic Scones (makes 1 dozen)

3/4 cup of plain yogurt (I used plain dessert tofu with no problems!)
3/4 cup milk (substitute rice or soy milk to make them dairy-free)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups Basic Gluten Free Flour mix (see above)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil

  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (NOT wax paper)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon & milk – set aside
  • In a large bowl whisk together all other (dry) ingredients.
  • Once it is well mixed add the wet ingredients and the oil, using a wooden spoon until it is well combined but still clumpy.
  • Divide the dough in half and plop onto cookie sheet – flour your hands and the top of the dough shape into two (6 inch diameter) discs (add optional ingredients to the top at this point if not added already)
  • Cut each disc into 6 “pie” slices and then bake in the centre of the oven for 15 to 17 minutes – transfer to a cooling rack and serve warm.

Optional ingredients: berries – 1 cup, chocolate chips ¾ cup

Recipes adapted from The Allergen Free Bakers Handbook by Cybele Pascal.

Click to print

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Sunny Boy Muffins and Strawberry Jam

What a busy couple of weeks.

First there was my in-laws’ family reunion, followed by EPC’s Aunt and three cousins staying with us for a few days, topped off with strawberry picking and preserving, and then a BBQ at EPC’s Dad’s place.

I certainly got a lot done, but man am I tired!

Since we had company staying with us for a few days, I figured they needed something special for breakfast, so I made up some delicious Sunny Boy Whole Grain Muffins.  I have been on a Sunny Boy cereal kick for the last few weeks, so I decided to take a look at the recipes on their website and came across a wonderful looking recipe for hearty (read: non-cupcake style) muffins.

I loved the muffins and so did the relations.

We enjoyed them with a dollop of homemade nectarine jam gifted to me by a coworker, as I didn’t make the strawberry jam until the weekend after they left.

The muffin recipe wasn’t followed exactly, because I was in a hurry and wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing. This can be a disaster when you are baking, but fortunately the recipe was saved by the addition of some large flake oats to soak up the extra milk.  If you end up adding twice as much milk like I did, you can save the recipe by adding 2/3 cup large flake oats.  In addition, I swapped out the all purpose flour for whole wheat.

And now on to the sweet stuff.

The strawberries were incredible.

I picked 50$ worth of strawberries in 45 minutes.  Don’t ask me how many berries that equates to, but it was a lot and the picking was easy too.  In case you live in the Edmonton area, I picked my berries at South Windermere Gardens.

Aside from berries for eating and freezing, I was able to get two batches of jam. Both jam recipes come straight off the Bernardin website.  The first, No-Pectin Strawberry Jam (shown on the muffin pictured above) was made with the addition of unripe berries.

No pectin jams are nice, because you make them with a bit less sugar.  You still need to add sugar though.  I have made the mistake of trying to do it with less than the recommended amount of sugar and, trust me, it doesn’t really work so well.

The second jam I made was Strawberry Balsamic Jam.

It is to die for.

If you are looking for a different jam, this is the one to try.  Bernardin recommends serving it with cheese and crackers, but it is also great with plain yogourt, slathered on fresh bread or by the spoonful.

I can’t wait to serve it to guests this winter as a sweet addition to a cheese tray!

Sunny Boy Whole Grain Muffins

Bernardin No-Pectin Strawberry Jam

Bernardin Strawberry Balsamic Jam