The first time I visited my town’s gluten free, mostly vegan bakery, I had no idea I was visiting a gluten free, mostly vegan bakery. I just saw “baked goods” and wandered in, looking for something sweet and delectable. As I perused the menu peppered with “gluten free” this and “vegan” that, I was overcome with a mild sense of disgust. This was not a real bakery. The healthier the food sounded, the less I wanted to eat it. I left without getting anything.
The second time I stopped by was with a friend. He had a hankering for something sweet, saw the bakery and asked if we could pick up something. I reluctantly agreed. When he realized how healthy everything was, he, too, turned up his nose. “I tried to tell you,” I said, shaking my head as we left. Again, I left this bakery empty handed. We ended up going to a swanky bar for cheesecake instead.
The third time I visited the bakery was last week. Having settled quite comfortably into my relatively new veganish, gluten-freeish lifestyle, I was eager to actually taste their offerings. I picked up an apple strudel muffin and a banana nut muffin. The former was divine, the latter was meh.
The fourth time I visited the bakery was yesterday. They had one of those apple muffins left. It was so good, I could have cried. It also realized that I would really shed hot, bitter tears if I had to pay 3-4 dollars every time I wanted a vegan, gluten free muffin. And so it was that I decided to try my hand at egg-less, milk-less, wheat-less baking.
I gave some thought to replicating the apple strudel muffin but that seemed too complicated. So, instead, I decided to try out something I’ve successfully executed before: banana nut muffins.
For this adventure, I used a recipe from Namely Marley, a cool food blog. I had to buy a few new staples to add to my growing vegan/gluten free pantry: vegan flour (I got white rice, though brown rice probably would have been a better choice) and egg-replacer, just in case – even though the recipe did not call for it.
I don’t really like following recipies, as you may have noticed, and I did not follow Marley’s very well. Instead of using margarine, I used coconut oil. I must have mismeasured something, though, because the first batch came out looking rather homely. They weren’t rising. And they kind of had that “blah” taste than the bakery’s banana nut muffins had. So, I added a tablespoon of “egg replacer” to the batter along with some ground cinnamon and ginger. The second batch was *awesome*! For these, I also added a topping, for which I used coconut and agave in addition to brown sugar. My graduate students will be sampling these in our seminar tomorrow.
I finally decided that the first batch was *awesome* too, because it has less sugar/agave and will be my go-to healthier snack this week. It also makes a pretty good delivery system for a dollop of almond butter.
Oh, and between you and me, my muffins turned out to be a lot better than the bakery’s. A lot. *dusts shoulders off*