December 5, 2007
One of my favorite muffins, prior to becoming gluten free, was the humble bran muffin. I used to make the bran muffin recipe off the box of the Kellogg's All Bran Cereal. We would enjoy these hearty muffins for breakfast or I would pack them up and take them to work to have for a mid-afternoon snack. They were satisfying enough to keep you going until supper time.
I wanted to add this nourishing and fiber filled quick bread to my list of favorite gluten free foods. It was time for baking and experimenting. Using the recipe from the Kellogg's All Bran box as my source of inspiration, I added my own touches and made it gluten free. Instead of wheat bran, I used rice bran from Bob's Red Mill. I used maple syrup instead of sugar and gluten free oat milk in place of milk. Then I experimented with adding a larger quantity of ground chia meal, not only for it's ability to act as a binder, but for it's healthy Omega-3 oils.
Maple syrup has long been used by the Native Americans for sweetening food. According to an Iroquois legend, Chief Woksis one evening, had set his tomahawk into a maple tree. When he needed it the next day, he removed it and the sap from the tree started flow into a container laying at the base of the tree. Chief Woksis' wife used this watery liquid to cook their meat which then had a sweet maple flavor. Colonists who came to North America followed the Native American tribes example and began to harvest the sap from the maple trees. They made maple sugar and later made maple syrup.
"Native Harvest" by Barrie Kavash, uses maple syrup to sweeten stewed wild cherries and elder blossom fritters. Siksika Boy from the blog, Native American Recipes notes that maple syrup was commonly used in Native American recipes. Siksika Boy has a recipe for Native Holiday Cake that uses maple sugar for the cake and maple syrup in the frosting.
The muffins turned out beautifully. They tasted like the hearty bran muffins I remembered. The chia seed meal added an extra layer of flavor to the muffins and the dough wasn't gummy at all. The chia seed meal experiment was a success.
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup + 2 Tb sweet rice flour
1/4 cup + 2 Tb arrowroot starch
1/4 cup rice bran
1/4 cup chia seed meal*
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup + 2 Tb oat milk**
1 egg, beaten
2 Tb melted vegetable shortening
Optional: Turbinado sugar or maple sugar to sprinkle over the tops of the muffins
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place 1 dozen silicone muffin cups on a cookie sheet.
2. In a medium sized bowl, dump in the flours, chia meal, baking powder, baking soda, raisins and salt. Then stir to blend the ingredients together.
3. In another medium sized bowl, pour in the maple syrup, oat milk, beaten egg and melted shortening. Then stir to combine the liquids.
4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and quickly stir them together. Stir just until blended.
5. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, sprinkle with Turbinado sugar or maple sugar and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Cool and serve. Makes 1 dozen muffins.
What did my family think of my Maple Bran Chia Muffins? Everyone thought they tasted wonderful. Although they were the best when warmed and served with butter. This one is a keeper.
* Chia Seed Meal: I purchased my chia seeds from Native Seeds/SEARCH. I ground them in my Braun coffee grinder that I use only to grind spices. Chia seed meal will act as a gluten free binder just like chia seed gel (made with chia seed and water).
** Oat Milk: I used 1/2 cup of cooked certified gluten free oats, 1 Tb agave syrup and 2 cups of water. Dump the oats into your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Then add the agave syrup and pulse. Pour in the water and pulse to blend. Be careful not to pulse too long as the water might/will leak out from under the lid of your food processor and onto the counter. Store oat milk in the refrigerator.