I am thankful in many ways for the gluten-free diet. Besides the health benefits, it challenged me to become a more adventurous cook.
Without challenges we tend to follow the mental path of least resistance. Creative writers know how imposing internal restrictions on projects can improve creativity and skill.
I always used to follow other people’s recipes, seldom innovating unless I was missing an ingredient. When I switched to a gluten free diet in March 2008, I was at first grieved over losing many favourite recipes, especially since my mother had just died a month before.
Instead of getting stuck in regret, I began learning how to adapt some of those favourites. This success encouraged me to try taking things I liked best about other people’s recipes and incorporate my own preferred ingredients or techniques. I learned basic formulas to build upon. Adaptation led to invention. These adventures in gluten-free baking encouraged me to become more inventive when cooking meat dishes, soups and stews, too. In short, cooking has become a lot more interesting.
This was one of the first new baking recipes I perfected several years ago. It was inspired by my new-found affection for sorghum flour, which is naturally gluten-free. It has a pleasant, wheat-like flavour, not too earthy or nutty, and imparts good texture for cakes and muffins.
In-season barely-ripe local apricots are my favourite fruit, and fruits are among my favourite foods, so you can see where apricots stand. Dried ones are unimpressive, but good enough to provide a wistful reminder of August from the farthest corner of the year.
- 110 g sorghum flour
- 100 g brown rice flour
- 90 g corn starch
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp gluten-free baking powder
- 180 g can sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 300 g low-fat yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 100 g vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup pecans, chopped
- ⅓ cup dried apricots, chopped
- 2 tbsp candied ginger, chopped
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease a 12-part muffin tin.
- Whisk flours, corn starch, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar together in a large bowl.
- Whisk together eggs, yogurt, vanilla and oil. Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Combine chopped pecans, apricots, ginger and maple syrup. Fold the fruit mixture briefly into the batter.
- Spoon batter into the muffin tin.
- Bake 25 minutes until muffins are risen, evenly browned and firm to the touch.
- Cool for five minutes, then remove muffins to a rack to cool completely.