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It all started with Burs first trip to the states to meet my friends and family. I had created a long list of all the food he needed to try: Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits, Popeye’s butter biscuits, Cinnabons, Ray’s Pizza, General Tso’s chicken. It was a bonanza of wheat/gluten constructed food and he was posed with fork in hand, ready to gobble it up.

But by day two, (which had only been an Auntie Anne’s pretzel and an amazing dinner of chicken fried steak and battered okra) he was down for the count. His stomach was not liking this culinary exploration. My normally bubbly and hungry man, was reduced to a lethargic, bloated mess. Of course, he kept eating what I suggested, until he got ill. And as we sat going over what the element that wasn’t making him feel good was, the only stand out ingredient was wheat. 

Since that time three years ago, he’s monitored what he eats and how he feels afterwards. It is always crap when a large amount of wheat is consumed; one cookie – fine. A big bowl of pasta – not fine.  Piece of toast – okay. Stack of pancakes – horrible.

This is what has lead me to begin baking gluten-free. Without the ease of throwing a bagel in the oven, Burs found that he was hungrier than usual. A bowl of oatmeal could only carry him so far. And it was better for him to carry snacks then depend on what would appear for lunch at a meeting.

A google search for gluten-free recipes will bring you a cookbooks worth of choices and options. I started off with muffins and cookies because, well, they’re tasty and quick. My issues are with the wide variety of flours you’ll read about: sorghum, tapioca, millet. And let us not forget the massive alert of potato flour versus potato starch (be sure to not confuse the two). I decided to start with simple recipe: Gluten-free blueberry muffin.

I got my recipe from Damy Health. I chose it because it’s main non-gluten ingredient is almond flour. Simple. It takes 15 minutes to whip up and 20 to bake. I was sold. These here were the first batch I made a month ago. photo-20

However, they looked a wee bit sad to me. I wanted them to look more like the ones you see at Costa Coffee/Starbucks. You know, round, raised top, the kind where all you want to eat is the muffin top. Luckily, google had the answer. Which is what the pic on  top and blow resulted. Nice! The secret: It’s all in how you heat your oven.

ImageSo I figured I’d share. On the second batch, I also altered the amount of honey, otherwise they’re a tad bit bland. Go to the link above and follow the recipe with the exception of pre-heating the oven to 450f (220c) and adding 1/2 cup honey (if you chose another sweetener it may be too sweet).

When putting the finished mixture into the cups (or directly into the pan because they do stick to the cups) fill them to the top not just 1/4 of the way. A 1/4 of the way gives you my initial muffins (or the ones that are pictured on the site). Filling them all the way gets you closer to cafe quality muffins. Next – and this is important – put the muffins in the oven at the higher temperature for about ten minutes. You’ll see the muffins begin to rise and form the raised shell. After ten minutes, lower the temperature to what was recommended in the recipe, letting them bake for another 10-15 minutes. Check to see if they’re done, if not, give a wee bit more time. These had the exact shell that I wanted and were the right level of sweet too. Definitely will repeat again.