I get excited about Christmas. I think it’s actually getting worse as I get older. Sure, I loved Christmas day as a kid, but there seems to be so much more to the season as an adult. I have a list. It’s not like Santa’s list, it’s more activity-based: knitting projects, foods to be baked, places to visit and traditions to be upheld. And let’s not forget joining my Aunty’s church choir for the month of December. It’s important to be ready for the day.
Before you go thinking, ‘this girl is totally lame’, just know that I am having fun. And also try these muffins. I guarantee that they’ll win you over, and if they don’t, grinch away my friend.
Cranberries are not in season in spring time New Zealand, but you can get hold of frozen ones at any supermarket. Bright red and tart, they light up any dish and pair well with the heady spices associated with Christmas time. Are you ready to get excited for Christmas? (or just get excited about these muffins, because I promise you it’s they’re worth it).
Recipe: Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins
1/3 cup soy milk with a squeeze of lemon
2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 2 of vanilla essence)
8 tbsp rice bran oil
1/4 cup molasses
Combine wet ingredients in a glass measuring jug and beat until eggs are completely mixed through.
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cornflour
3/4 cup rice flour
(if you’re not making gluten free, you can just use 1 1/2 cups of wheat flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated on a microplane (you can use ground, but fresh adds an extra spicy element)
1/4 tsp cardamon
Prepare 8-10 muffin tins by greasing or lining with paper muffin liners. Preheat oven to 180.
Stir dry ingredients together, making sure to break up the brown sugar and distribute it throughout the whole mixture. Add 1 cup of frozen cranberries, each cut in half. Briefly stir the cranberries through the dry mixture – now you’re ready to pour in the wet ingredients. When you’re making muffins with wheat flour, you need to be careful not to stir too much once you’ve added the liquid to the dry ingredients. This is because the stirring ‘wakes up’ the gluten molecules, and because gluten is protein, it makes the cooked muffins tough. Of course, when you’re baking gluten free, your biggest concern is in fact getting enough protein in to the mixture to ensure that they don’t fall apart!
Once you have stirred the wet and dry ingredients into a lovely gooey mixture, pour them into greased muffin tins or paper liners (I used paper liners because cleaning muffin tins is the worst).
Pop them into the oven and bake 15-20 minutes, bringing them out when a knife inserted into one lucky muffin comes out clean. Actually, I took them out while the knife was still just a tiny tiny bit sticky because they do keep cooking just a bit after coming out of the oven, and gluten free baked goods are no fun when dried out.