gluten free cocoa muffins

Today, I have been (gluten) free for 6 months. And what a gift these last 6 months have been! I feel better than ever and have been slowing down enough to appreciate the little things. The first few warm days of Spring, dinner with friends, quiet weekend mornings with Brian, and the tulips that are blooming all over DC. I don’t miss gluten one bit.

I’m on a muffin kick.

I made these particular muffins on Sunday morning, which was a refreshingly gorgeous morning. I had the windows open with a cool breeze washing over me. A perfect compliment to the hot coffee in my hands and the warm rays of sun dancing happily around the living room. A perfect setting for baking.

This particular recipe was inspired by Lauren of Celiac Teen‘s cocoa quickbread recipe, which she created for the Gluten Free Ratio Rally. It is cocoa bread that is not too sweet, maybe even a little savory. Reading about it got me excited. I had all of the necessary ingredients in my cabinets (except a loaf pan, hence the muffins), so off to the kitchen I went, skipping merrily.

What is the Gluten Free Ratio Rally, you ask? It is a group of food bloggers and cookbook authors who have joined forces to promote baking by ratios. I am not affiliated with the rally, but I am having fun following along and getting inspired. I have written a little bit about this previously, but the concept is this: given a ratio of ingredients, you can manipulate and substitute to your heart’s content, as long as the ratio remains the same (by weight, not volume. So break out that scale!). My recipe is actually quite different from Lauren’s, but the flour : liquid : fat : eggs ratio is the same. The muffins came out beautifully, so I can only conclude that the ratio concept is legit.

That being said, I’m not going to be surprised if baking by ratio/weight does not sound appealing to you. There is comfort in familiarity, and volumetric measurements are certainly familiar. Plus, I admit you might have to break out your calculator in order to bake by weight. I did use my calculator for this recipe, but I let out a small shriek of excitement at that. I am a math girl. I like numbers. You might not.

Both baking methods lend themselves to creativity, but in different ways. Baking by volume requires confidence. You have to know how to accurately measure that cup so that it isn’t too packed but it’s not filled with air either. You have to know what the batter or dough should look and feel like. This as a form of art. You can start with a vague concept of flavors and textures and create a recipe. On the other hand, baking by weight is precise and fool proof. All you need to do is follow linear instructions; the creativity comes in substituting ingredients and adding flavors. Instead of starting with a concept, you start with a recipe. But you can turn it into your very own by playing with the ingredients and flavors until you find something that is “you”. Maybe someday I will develop enough confidence to do away with the scale, but for now, this works for me.

cocoa muffins
inspired by Lauren of Celiac Teen

183 grams GF flour*
43 grams cocoa
113 grams sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt**
227 grams low fat buttermilk
113 grams grapeseed oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
65 grams chocolate chips (or to taste)

*  Use any combination you like. I used teff, millet, brown rice, white rice, sweet white rice, tapioca, corn, mesquite powder, and potato starch

** I used sea salt, and they came out a bit on the salty side, which might be good or bad depending on your taste.  If you don’t like your baked goods too salty, tone this down a little.

Preheat oven to 350 and grease (or spray) muffin (or loaf) pan.

Combine the dry ingredients (flours, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a large bowl and whisk until uniform in color.

In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients (buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla) and whisk until combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Add chocolate chips and give another quick stir.

Fill muffin tins (or loaf pan) about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (longer if you are making a loaf), until a knife comes out clean and the tops look a bit crusy.

Makes about 12 muffins.

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