I feel like I need one of those cheerleading horns where you scream things into them to get people really excited. I need one to tell all my gluten-free friends that I made these muffins and they taste amazing. Like so good, you actually want to lick the batter from the bowl and when you bite into one and the cranberry and pumpkin flavors are quite literally bursting with every bite, you don’t even miss the gluten. I mean it. It tastes like a normal muffin, but maybe even better.
Trust me, I am well aware that a lot of gluten-free substitutes taste like absolute poo. Sometimes when my mom orders something at a restaurant and it looks too good to be gluten-free she has me do a taste test before she eats it, and based on the fact my face looks like someone just farted in front it, that’s the universal sign for “you’re clear, this is gluten-free.” I have been doing a lot of reading up lately on different gluten-free recipes and I’m on a mission to find ways to make all of my favorite baked goods gluten-free BUT still taste really good. Also, hopefully without costing me $80 to make a batch of cookies. That second part I’m still working on. Gluten-free flour comes in tiny boxes and is expensive. And I finally caved and paid $12 for a bag of Xanthan gum yesterday because so many of the muffins/bread/cookie recipes that are GF call for about a half teaspoon of it. Luckily, you only need about 1/2 a teaspoon of Xanthan gum for every 1 cup of gluten-free flour in your recipe, so that bag will hopefully last me for a while.
Anyway, after eating gluten-free for the past few weeks, I decided to do some more GF experimenting in the kitchen this afternoon. And if you’re in Boston today, we went to sleep with summer weather and woke up in fall. It is one of those perfect fall weather days today like you see in the movies. So I donned my best hipster outfit and headed to the SOWA market with my friend Amanda for some outdoor market and food truck activities. Pictures from that are at the end of this post. But seeing all the fresh fruit and autumn veggies had me in the mood for something pumpkin. This weekend was also the Cranberry Harvest Festival down in Harwich which I didn’t go to, but used to love going every year as a kid. So I figured I’d try to make a pumpkin muffin with some cranberries and see what happened. Well it happened. And dayyyum. They are delicious. And honestly, not too hard (or crazy costly) to make.
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon xantan gum
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or thawed
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners and spray them with non-stick spray. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, molasses, vanilla extract and pumpkin puree until combined, and set aside.
Step 2: In your mixer, beat the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and pumpkin pie spice lightly until mixed well. Add in the softened butter and mix on medium to low speed until it is crumbly.
Step 3: Add in the wet pumpkin mixture about a half cup at a time. Normally, I’m all about dumping it all in, but I do think with this baking it’s a better approach to add in a little wet mixture and beat on a low speed and continue to incorporate it that way. Once it is all incorporated beat on a medium to high speed for at least a minute.
Step 4: Fold in the cranberries until evenly incorporated. Using a large cookie-scoop, place even-size scoops of muffin batter into the greased muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. (My bottom tray took an extra 3 minutes). You can also fill the tins pretty full because unlike regular muffins which seem to rise a lot and spill over, these don’t rise up that much.
Let these cool in the tins for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. I think these would be great topped with a nice light cream cheese glaze. I attempted a cinnamon sugar melted butter topping on two of them until I decided they actually tasted just great plain. Adding the topping would make it messy to bring to work tomorrow, so just leaving them as is. I’m not pulling your leg when I tell you these taste just as good as my regular gluten-filled pumpkin muffins. We’ll let my coworkers be the final judges tomorrow, since brutal honesty is their specialty.
So I’m getting used to this view again. It’s not that bad, considering my first consulting job I got on a plane twice a week every single week. Right now my travel is more spread out, but in a 5 week period I have 4 roundtrip flights for work and vacation, so lots of time up in the air. Last week I had a debacle with JetBlue and my flight on September 11th, which I was already anxious about flying that day. They meant to cancel the Wednesday night 6:30pm flight when it was so delayed, but someone fat fingered it in the back-end and cancelled my Thursday night 6:30 flight. So I was up working at 10:30 at night and got an email that said “Your flight has been moved up 495 minutes.” Uh, jigga whaaa? So after a long convo with the travel agency on the phone, I let my clients know I had to be on a 10:15am flight out because they couldn’t get me on another flight Thursday. And then I woke up at 5am to check my email and another email “Your flight has been moved back 495 minutes.” So I spent an hour on the phone at 5am with the travel agency and then Jetblue. Just a mess. But I made it home in one piece, but needless to say I was in much need of my own bed and some serious relaxation this weekend.
Speaking of my bed, I was super excited to have the rest of my Pottery Barn furniture arrive on Saturday afternoon. After repainting the room last weekend, it was looking a bit empty but look how perfect the new furniture fits into the room. I’m in the market for a nice mirror to go over the vanity but haven’t found anything (reasonably priced) that I like yet. And I am really trying to work on this whole patience thing that apparently comes more naturally for other people. But this afternoon I did snag two really nice photos for the wall next to my bed from Fiber and Water at the SOWA market. I got these two prints framed for $65 and hung them up this afternoon, and they are just perfect. I also finally tried the BonMe food truck for lunch, which sometimes sits outside of my office at work. They have gluten-free options, so I tried this rice noodle bowl with chicken, which was spicy and delicious. It took some serious will-power to not stop at the Cookie Monster truck. Walking around the open market, there were lots of people selling their own baked goods. I’m thinking The Salted Cookie needs a tent there next year. Right?? Last night Colleen came over and it was cruddy weather so we decided to stay in and make dinner and watch the movie Ted (so funny). I learned everything I know about risotto making from my Uncle Jimmy, and decided to put a spin on my normal porcini mushroom risotto. So instead of mushrooms I boiled some buternut squash and fried up some bacon, and made butternut squash and bacon risotto and topped it with some fried sage leaves. Oh yes. So good.
Oh. And I joined Crossfit this weekend. I know, I see your raised eyebrow of judgement but don’t worry. I’m not a full-blown paleo weight lifting koolaid drinking crossfit junkie (….yet). But the trainers I met during my on-ramp program were so nice and I’m always looking for new ways to switch up my workouts, so yolo. Don’t worry though, I’m not giving up my processed sugar and jumping in the paleo train. Sugar fuels me. Well, sugar, Diet Coke and sarcasm.
So that’s it. I’m trying to fight off the Sunday scaries with a TV marathon this afternoon. I’m headed back to Chicago bright and early Tuesday morning for another round of website testing. Make sure you follow @thesaltedcookie on instagram, so you can keep a pulse on my daily exciting adventures — like spending my per diem on FroYo and eating chips + salsa at the airport Chili’s for dinner. If you only follow this blog, you wouldn’t even know what I had for dinner on Tuesday! (I had this for dinner on Tuesday, which actually was delicious). But get on instagram and follow my daily adventures with hashtags.