Gluten-Free Quinoa Chocolate Chip Muffins

There’s this moment of almost sick anticipation just before I pull a new recipe out of the oven. I’ve had more successes than failures in the kitchen, and yet, it’s the failures that make me timidly peek into the oven to see if I’ve created gluten-free nirvana or the next oven explosion…And then…. once I’ve pulled it out of the oven, tasted and gasped with near ecstasy, I start laughing, doing the happy dance, and generally acting like a giddy kid, overwhelmed and happily surprised by my success. This is usually followed by more tastes, sighs and self-congratulation. And this is part of what I love about cooking- what keeps me going back to the kitchen- the giddy pride of a tiny success that I can then share with others by giving away whatever it is I’ve concocted that day..The failures don’t really get me down, I’ve learned to shrug them off with a wry smile and sometimes a laugh- but they always peek over my shoulder just before I open the oven.

My latest success had me doing the happy dance in public. I’d tried a new recipe, and pulled them out of the oven as I was leaving for a lunch meeting with a friend- someone who was on hand to personally experience an oven explosion. So, I gingerly carried the steaming muffins to the car on a potholder and decided to share the outcome with my friend. I confess I did the happy dance in public, and perhaps embarrassed her by drawing a few stares with my surprised “Oh My God- these are AWESOME!!!” exclamation. But I have to say- I’m really proud of how these muffins turned out- delicious and nutritious- can’t beat that.

There is a little tricksy element to this recipe though- the recipe calls for 2 eggs- they really need to be medium sized eggs. The total egg/honey liquid should amount to 3/4 cup. No more than 1/3 of that should be eggs. If you have large eggs (eggs that equal 1/4 cup of liquid per egg)- like I used the second time I baked these, it’s a little much. Not enough sweet, and a little too much binder. How do you get around this? Break one egg at a time into a 2-cup liquid measure and check. If your first egg equals 1/4 cup, give it a whisk and add honey to the 3/4 cup line. If it’s less than 1/4 cup- then add your second egg, whisk and fill to the 3/4 cup line with honey…. This is a simple recipe- and don’t let this flexible part intimidate you into not trying. I’ve had the muffins both ways and the texture and flavor is still good in both- but if you’re expecting a mild sweetness in addition to the chocolate chips, you’ll want to make sure you have enough honey in your egg/honey mixture….just sayin’…..

Lastly-  the quinoa in this recipe is cooked- it’s not the flour. Many of you- myself included don’t care for the funky taste that quinoa flour often imparts to baked goods. Have no fear, this is pure quinoa nuttiness at it’s best. And- if you want to be really nutritious substitute dried cherries, apricots or raisins for the chocolate chips, and perhaps add a few poppy or sunflower seeds…it’s up to you- whatever you come up with is sure to be satisfying and delicious!!

Gluten Free Quinoa Chocolate Chip Muffins  

makes 12

Ingredients

1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked quinoa + ½ cup water)

2/3 cup sorghum or millet (I used millet)

2/3 cup tapioca starch

2/3 cup sweet rice flour

¼ cup flaxseed meal

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg (10 grates on a grater)

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup honey

1 egg- or 2 (enough to = ¼ cup) (honey & Eggs should not exceed ¾ cup)

½ cup choc chips or dried fruit…

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 and place oven rack at the second lowest setting. If you’re not using leftover quinoa, place 1/2 cup of dry quinoa and 1/2 cup of water in a pan and cook until seeds have popped- about  15 minutes on medium. To cool, place cooked quinoa in a stainless steel bowl and place in the freezer another 10-15 minutes. * Note: Red quinoa needs more water than white quinoa, and will yield more than 1 cup of cooked quinoa. If you use red quinoa, either make your ratio 1/3 cup dry quinoa to 2/3 cup water, or just use a heaping cupful of the cooked quinoa- you will likely have leftover cooked quinoa.

In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add the cooled quinoa to this mixture and incorporate thoroughly.

In a 2 cup measuring cup, place 1 egg- if egg is less than 1/4 cup add a second. Whisk thoroughly. Add honey to the 3/4 cup line and whisk until honey is fully incorporated. Add 1 cup buttermilk (buttermilk to the 1 3/4 cup line) mix, and then add to the dry ingredients.

Gently incorporate all ingredients, and add chocolate chips. Buttermilk will start to react with the baking powder and baking soda, and the batter will get puffy and sticky. Drop by large spoonfuls into muffin cups (make your own using squares of parchment paper if you don’t have enough cups).

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 350, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick comes out clean.