One year, one month, and seven days later — I’m back!
Predictably, work got the better of me last year, and this blog went the way of my social life (into dark and mournful hibernation, that is). Now, at a new job in a new city — and, importantly, in a new kitchen — I’m back in the saddle. At least for now.
As a girl of the frugal persuasion, I must applaud Amazon for its kind of obscenely good prices on specialty baking ingredients: Back home in Studio City, I’d pay $8 for a small bag of brown rice flour, but a pack of four bags only set me back $12 (on Prime, no less)! It’s fantastic in that dangerous, can’t-sleep-so-I’ll-buy-some-stuff kind of way. I’m certain that my fellow building residents are collaborating to plan a shopping intervention, their concern mounting with each Prime box left at the bottom of the stairs.
But why the specialty flours? As is usually the impetus for my new culinary forays, the blueberry cornmeal mini-muffins (below, which look suspiciously like the regular blueberry mini-muffins in my header image) were inspired by a colleague with a gluten intolerance. I can verify that this isn’t the Atkins-by-a-different-name, This is the End kind of gluten-free diet, for which I have little patience, so I was happy to accommodate and learn.
My past gluten-free baking attempts have resulted in tasty but slightly crunchy products: Brown rice flour, which is a common substitute for regular flour and the one I’ve used the most, just doesn’t lose its grainy texture as much as I’d like when cooked. These muffins had the same hiccup, but I’d definitely rank them among the better gluten-free recipes I’ve made. They were flavorful, rich, but still light, with a sturdy-but-still-fluffy texture in spite of the stubborn flour. I think it also helps to bill them as semi-corn muffins, just to manage expectations! The only change I’d make next time is to use lemon zest instead of the squirt of lemon juice I substituted to brighten them up a bit.
I don’t promise Jamie Lee Curtis regularity, but for now, it’s nice to see you again. Recipe below.
Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins (gluten-free)
Pro tip: Coat your blueberries with flour before adding to the batter — it prevents them from sinking to the bottom.
1 1/4 cups milk (I used almond milk, since it’s what we had, with no adverse effects — though I’d stick to regular milk for your first time)
1 T vinegar
3/4 cups sugar (I used a mix of white and dark brown)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk (I used all whites…again, what we had on hand)
1 T lemon zest, optional
1 1/2 cups rice flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup blueberries (if using frozen, do not defrost)
1 tbsp brown or raw sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two 24-cup mini-muffin tins with paper or foil liners. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine milk and vinegar. Set aside to sour (about 5 minutes). You could probably use some combination of sour cream or yogurt and milk here, too.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, yolk, soured milk, and lemon zest. Beat until combined.
Stir in rice flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries.
Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way up, then sprinkle with brown or raw sugar. I used dark brown sugar, and I think this really made the muffins — it adds a great, almost caramel-y richness. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool before eating.
Original recipe here.