Featured Ingredient: Quinoa Flour
There are few whole-grain flours that can stand up nutritionally to gluten-free quinoa flour. Quinoa was a sacred source of strength for the Incas and its flour contains all the essential amino acids making it a fairly good protein source. Plus there is hefty dose of fiber, zinc, folate, iron and about 40 percent your daily recommended magnesium per cup serving. A 2009 study of more than 64,000 women published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that those who had higher intakes of this often underconsumed mineral were at lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You can find quinoa flour such as that from Bob’s Red Mill (http://www.bobsredmill.com/) at some health food stores and specialty baking shops.
But its robust flavor can easily over power a baked item, so start by adding it as no more than a half of the total volume of a flour blend. If baking on the wild side and using quinoa or other gluten-free flours on their own, add xanthum gum or guar gum to the mix, which binds gluten-free ingredients so cookies and muffins don’t turn into a pile of crumbs. A rule of thumb for cakes, muffins, cookies and quick-breads is 1/2 teaspoon of xanthum or guar gum for each cup of gluten-free flour used.
A recipe such as this is usually in loaf form. But I prefer to break it apart using a muffin tin to slash cooking time and give me something I can eat out of hand. The end result is very light and incredibly moist treat. Try it out and let me know what your taste buds think.
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup quinoa flour (see recipe note)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup neutral tasting vegetable oil such as grapeseed
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flours, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, spices and molasses together. Combine wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until all the flour is mixed in. Stir in the nuts and cranberries. Pour into 10-12 greased muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let rest 5 minutes before unmolding.
Recipe Note: If you don't have quinoa flour you could use whole-wheat flour instead.