When I discovered that some of my health problems were due to a wheat allergy – I have to admit I found it really difficult to come to terms with the fact that I would no longer be able to eat bread. Having people comment, ‘What? Go without bread? I could never do that! I just eat whatever I want!’ doesn’t help! Sure – I would really love to eat all those yummy cakes, doughnuts, pastries, french bread and other foods that contain wheat – but I can’t. So, for the most part I just try and do my best to accept the situation and avoid the processed wheat free foods – those are pretty awful most of the time – although the UK does do a pretty good job – and I try and bring back bread in my suitcase when I visit there! Bread aside, I’ve discovered there are some wheat-free foods that are quite acceptable. Pizza and pasta seems to translate into wheat-free versions pretty nicely. Muffins are another wheat-free food that come out well. At Bobby Flay’s restaurant in Las Vegas, they always bring out a little basket of bread items, one of which is a lovely, grainy blue corn muffin. I was thinking about bread baskets a little while ago, and I had a very fond recollection of those yummy, crumbly muffins and wondered if it would be possible to make them wheat-free.
Enter this recipe! It is based on Flay’s delicious offering, with just a few changes – and now I can have my cake (well, muffin) and eat it too! These are reminiscent of that crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth, cakey, slightly sweet, spicy treat I have had many times! In the past, I have made this recipe with a gluten free ready-made flour mix, and it works quite well, and they turn out very light and crumbly. This makes them quite difficult to butter. The recipe does have butter in it already, so it doesn’t really need more after baking. But – I love butter – and as my cousin once said to me, ‘butter IS the business!’
Here then, to make them a little more dense, and hold together better (ready to accept said butter) I am using tiger nut flour. It’s a very interesting flour – it’s actually made from a tuber, and not a nut. The manufacturer of the brand I have at the moment says it can be substituted 1:1 with white flour. I haven’t done enough experiments to know that is the case – but I’m guessing that it is NOT the case! It has a slightly grainy texture – and that’s why I think it works well in these muffins. I am also using a small amount of potato flour, which will help to absorb moisture and make for a nice texture. You can always use a substitute flour of your own liking in this recipe – Flay’s original recipe calls for 1/2 cup regular plain flour. You can use a gluten free ready-made flour mix too. Whatever flour you are using – be sure to add the baking powder and the baking soda though.
I am using blue cornmeal here as it is so pretty! You can also just substitute yellow cornmeal if you prefer. Take note though – these muffins are intentionally crumbly – it’s quite hard to spread them with butter unless it’s really soft butter. That hasn’t stopped me from putting a slice of butter on each mouthful in the past though, when I just couldn’t get it to spread! These are wonderful warm, and go great with a chili or soup – or go ahead and eat them just as a snack!
As I mentioned, this muffin recipe does use butter in the recipe (I haven’t tried them with margarine or coconut oil) – but in a different way than you might expect. Rather than rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients, here you saute the onion, garlic, peppers and sweetcorn in it. Then you tip all of that buttery goodness into the eggs and milk.
Then you simply fold in the dry ingredients until you have a stiff batter.
Simply place spoonfuls of the batter into muffin tins (with or without paper cases – just be sure to butter the pan if you choose not to use the cases).
These muffins cook really quickly – anything from 9-15 minutes. I generally check after 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and insert a small toothpick into the center of a few muffins. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If it seems a little wet still, then return to the oven for another 3 minutes, and then another 2-3 minutes after that if needed. Be careful not to overcook, or they can become dry.
They will store for a few days in a covered container, or ziplock bag. They freeze nicely too – and stay good up to about 2 months. And if not eating them the same day, refresh a muffin for about 8 seconds in the microwave.
- 2oz (1/2 stick) butter
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup (120ml) milk (regular/plant-based)
- ½ small onion, diced fine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ serrano chili, chopped fine }
- ½ jalapeno chili, chopped fine } leave the seeds in if you like a spicier flavor
- 1 cup (175g, 6.2oz) cooked corn kernels - fresh, frozen or canned
- ¾ cup (115g/4oz) fine-ground blue cornmeal (can use yellow)
- ¼ cup (35g/1.2oz) tigernut flour
- ¼ cup (35g/1.2oz) potato flour (not potato starch)
- 1.5 t baking powder
- 1 t baking soda
- Large pinch ancho chili powder (Optional)
- 1 t salt
- 1 T Granulated Sugar
- Set the oven to 395F.
- Grease a muffin tin, or line with paper liners.
- Melt the butter over a medium low flame and saute the onions until translucent - about 6-8 minutes, taking care that the butter does not burn.
- Add the garlic and the fresh chilies and cook 3 minutes.
- Add the sweetcorn, stir to combine and remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes..
- In a bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, and then whisk in the milk.
- Stir the sweetcorn mixture into the eggs and milk, ensuring you scrape out all of the butter from the pan.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until all the flour has disappeared - do not over mix.
- The batter will be quite stiff and dry.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin cups/tins, until each is about ¾ full.
- Bake for 10 minutes in the center of the oven.
- Test for doneness after 10 minutes, by inserting a wooden toothpick into the center of a few muffins.
- Muffins are cooked when the toothpick comes out clean.
- If still a little moist in the middle, bake an additional 3-5 mins and re-test.
- If in cases, remove the cases from the pan immediately and leave to cool on a cooling rack.
- If the muffins are in the tins without liners, then leave to rest for 5 minutes, before slipping a knife around the edges to help removal. Cool on the cooling rack.
- Muffins will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight tin or baggie, although taste best the day they are made. Muffins will freeze well for 2 months.
- Heat up for a few seconds in a microwave to refresh.