Wednesday, October 15, 2014

As a professionally trained pastry chef, being told I might want to go on a gluten-free diet sounded like some kind of cruel punishment.

I’ve worked at some of the top restaurants in the U.S., and I love dessert!

The problem is I have a hyperactive thyroid, which probably has been preventing me from getting pregnant these last three years. My hormones have been all over the place. At this point, I was willing to try anything so that hopefully we can have a baby someday. My acupuncturist and a fertility-specialty dietitian both recommended the gluten-free diet so I jumped on the bandwagon.

Going gluten-free isn’t easy, especially when you like to dine out often like I do. I’ve learned to eat a lot of salads, soups and Asian foods, which seem to be the most gluten-free friendly. A gigantic bowl of Vietnamese pho with chicken and rice noodles is my go-to dish for lunch. Italian restaurants are the worst – no bread, no pasta and no pizza.

After nearly three months of a gluten-free diet, I’ve figured out some healthy baking recipes and thought I’d start sharing these with you. Instead of using wheat flour, I’ve learned to use flours made from nuts, coconut, corn, rice and potatoes. My kitchen experiments don’t always turn out like my failed crumbly cornbread and my too fennel-y pizza crackers, but I keep playing in the kitchen. That’s what pastry chefs do!

And the results seem to be working. My blood work has shown decreased hormone levels; but since I’m also taking a thyroid medicine and doing the gluten-free diet, I don’t know which one has helped the most. (Oh and in case you’re wondering, I only had a few tiny sips of hubby’s beers at the recent Warszawski Festival Piwa I wrote about on Monday. I do miss beer!)

Since it’s fall, I’ve been baking a lot with pumpkin and sweet potatoes lately. I’ve adapted a pumpkin recipe I found online and have made these several times now. 
These gluten-free muffins are perfect for a breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack. Just limit yourself to one! I liked these so much that I ate two muffins the first time, and then realized that was just too much fiber to eat at one sitting.

These gluten-free pumpkin muffins also are girlfriend and husband tested and approved! I hope you enjoy them too!

Remember: only eat ONE of these fiber-rich muffins at a time! 
Gluten-Free Spiced Streusel Pumpkin Muffins
Yields: 12-14 muffins
Adapted from Poet in the Pantry

Spiced Streusel Topping
2          Tablespoons                organic coconut oil, melted
2          Tablespoons                pure maple syrup
2          Tablespoons                ground flax seeds
½         teaspoon                      ground cinnamon
½         teaspoon                      ground ginger
¼         teaspoon                      salt
½         cup                  (60 g.)  almond flour*
¾         cup                  (95 g.)  chopped pecans or walnuts

Muffin ingredients
1          cup                  (240 g.) homemade pumpkin puree OR canned
4          large                              eggs
⅓         cup                  (98 ml.)  pure maple syrup
½         cup                  (120 ml) organic coconut oil, melted
1          cup                  (120 g.)  almond flour
⅓         cup                  (45 g.)  coconut flour, lightly packed
1½       teaspoons                    ground cinnamon
½         teaspoon                      ground ginger
Pinch of                                   freshly grated nutmeg
½         teaspoon                      salt
½         teaspoon                      baking soda
½         cup                  (75 g.)  dried cranberries or raisins
*Note:             You can substitute the almond pulp from your homemade almond milk for the almond flour. Just be sure to dry your leftover almond pulp in the oven before using.

Preheat oven to 350F/175 C. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the streusel ingredients, tossing with a fork until you get small crumbs. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs and maple syrup. Once combined, whisk in the coconut oil, pouring in a steady stream.

Then, add the dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.

Lastly, fold in the dried cranberries or raisins.

Using a large cookie scoop or two spoons, portion out the batter, filling each muffin cup about ¾ of the way.

Sprinkle and press the streusel topping on top of each muffin.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

These muffins can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for 1-2 days and then should be moved to the refrigerator. I had a batch of mine go sour after sitting out on the counter for 5 days. If needed, extra muffins could be frozen as well.

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BacktoBodrum said...

I feel for you . My daughter has an under active thyroid and I hadn't realised until now how much the body relies on this gland.
You might also like to try Vitex Agnus Castus - a great herbal hormone regulator. I wish I'd known about it when I was trying for a baby.

Manya said...

Thought I would share my favorite gluten-free breakfast (after poached eggs in greens with pul biber, of course) : garbanzo flour "omelet." Seriously, it is delicious.

Mix 1/3 cup garbanzo flour with a pinch of salt, pul biber, any spice you like (garam masala is nice) and pepper. Add enough water to make a pancake batter. Pour into a skillet which has a film of olive oil. While the pancake is cooking, add any vegetable or cheese of your choice (I like green onions, serrano peppers and any cheese). When bubbles appear on the surface, fold over like an omelet and cook until it is done to your liking. This is delicious! and kielbasa would be a nice addition :)

Heidi Florance said...

We have a gluten free beer here in the states- Keep your eyes open especially if you have any home brewers around. My son-in- law needs to be gluten free so I have been helping my granddaughters adjust receipes as they get to eat all the mistakes! have a great day. Heidi

Jennifer said...

How do you think these would taste without the topping (since I'm lazy! and also want to do some non-sweet muffins for breakfast?) Also, where did you find coconut flour in Warsaw? At the bio shop?

Joy said...

@Annie, I was shocked to find that one tiny gland in your body can cause sooo many problems! I wish your daughter the best too.

And yes, I've heard of the chaste tree berry. Apparently, it's quite popular in Turkey for fertility as well!

Joy said...

Excellent recipe idea! I bought aome garbanzo flour to make a pizza crust but haven't tried it yet. However, I do like your breakfast idea. Thanks so much for sharing! :-)

Joy said...

@Heidi, thanks for your reply! GF beer in Poland is NOT very common, but I can find it a few places. Otherwise, local cider beer has been a nice alternative but it does get a bit too sweet after 1 or 2.

Joy said...

Cześć! The topping just adds extra texture and fiber so yes, you could omit it. :-)

Coconut flour is at the BioBazar, and at the Organika store in Arkadia. I'm sure you'll find it near you!