Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Muffins: Gluten-free & Vegan English Muffins

I feel like a cat lounging in a sunbeam.  I'm sitting at my kitchen table with the glorious sunlight streaming down on me, and boy does it feel good.  I traded my normal Saturday morning routine in for a run outside today, and I'm so glad I did.  When you live in Seattle, you take it when you can, and you enjoy every second of it.  Spring is quickly approaching, and for many reasons I couldn't be happier.  The warmth is nice, clear skies are even better, but most of all I'm ready for fresh air and an end to cold and flu season.

This winter has been a rough one in our household.  It's frustrating when you do all that you can to keep your family healthy and safe, but they all still get sick.  It seems like everyone I know has been hit hard by viruses this year, and we are certainly no exception.  It feels like since November, someone in my house is constantly coming down with something, and I've had enough of watching us all drop like flies.  We're currently battling our first ear infection potst-tubes, though one tube has come out of place and will need to be reinserted.  My poor little Emma has been put through the wringer, and this will certainly not be a fun one, as she will also likely be having her adenoids removed at the same tim.  And I hear the recovery from that is not fun, particularly for an almost-2-year old.  We'll find out for sure on Tuesday.

In the meantime, how about some English Muffins?  These are quite delicious, if I do say so myself.  I really don't notice I'm eating something gluten-free when I make these, and that says a lot right there!  There is one trick I neglected on my first batch a couple months ago, which turned out like rock hard mounds instead of soft English muffins - and that is to bake them with a parchment sheet and baking pan on top, then flip about halfway through.  This keeps them in their disk form and also "toasts" both sides of the muffin.  Glad I did this the second time around.

I didn't have a chance to take many pictures due to my little grumpus who kept interrupting me for a hug and ear rub.  But, don't they look tasty?

Gluten-free & vegan English Muffins

2 ½ cups basic gluten-free flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
2 ¼ teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¾ cup rice milk
3 tablespoons Spectrum vegan shortening
Up to 3 tablespoons warm water (as needed)
¼ cup cornmeal

1.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Have a second parchment-lined sheet ready, as well.
2.  Combine the flour, xanthan gum, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
3.  Blend the apple cider vinegar, rice milk, and shortening in a large bowl for about a minute. 
4.     Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing on medium-low speed until combined. 
5.     Beat for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until the dough is pulling away  from the sides of the bowl.  Add up to 3 tablespoons of warm water, ½ tablespoon at a time, as needed.
6.     Sprinkle the cornmeal on a smooth surface and scoop the dough on top of the cornmeal.
7.     Use your hands to roll the dough into a log. Use a bench knife to slice the dough into eight equal sized portions.
8.     Gently shape each portion into a disk and coat both sides with cornmeal.
9.     Place the disks on a lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle drops of water on the second piece of parchment paper and place it on top of the disks.  Place the second baking sheet over the muffins to keep them from expanding to high upward.
10. Proof for 45 minutes.
11. With 5 minutes left to rise, preheat the oven to 375.
12. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.  Then, flip the baking sheets so the top is now the bottom, and remove the top baking sheet.  Bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes.  

Don't freeze these, they get to hard.  Add in some cinnamon and raisins if you like! Or chocolate chips, nobody can resist the yumminess of chocolate chips, right? 

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