The Truth on Gluten-Free
These muffins are so delicious and so easy to make! They are also totally gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free morsels of goodness. They are super bouncy, sticky and moreish and don't taste "gluten-free" at all! They are also good for you as a little breakfast treat, a healthy snack or a hearty dessert!
These divine little muffins were created as an impromptu dessert to accompany our TV series Friday night in (Olly was actually the mastermind behind this recipe). His ideas and my execution… Often the way our little team works. And I was amazed at how easy and quick they were to make. I decided to try making them with gram (chickpea) flour and WOW it really is the miracle ingredient in gluten-free baking (see my recipe for Gluten-Free Brownies that also uses gram flour for the most delicious, squishy, chocolatey brownies). Not only is gram flour, naturally gluten-free, it is also high in protein and folate and it is significantly cheaper than other gluten-free flours. I have found that most other gluten-free flours are either too dense, too flavoursome or too… well frankly quite unpleasant (and heavily processed)!
Beware of your average white gluten-free flours, as they usually contain a combination of potato, tapioca, corn or white rice. None of these are particularly nutritious and all have quite a high GI so try to avoid these and instead opt for organic gram flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, coconut flour or any nut flour (such as ground almonds). If you are not gluten-intolerant (like me), it is actually wheat that you should watch out for more than gluten. And then you have the option of using rye and spelt flours which are totally wheat-free and taste absolutely amazing in breads and cakes.
A lot of people think that "gluten-free" is synonymous to healthy. But this couldn't be further from the truth… Most store-bought gluten-free products are filled with added sugars and preservatives to make them look and feel like their gluten-filled counterparts. Moreover, traditional gluten-free flours are often heavily processed and contain refined starches that have a high GI and low nutritional content. To highlight this point, my herbal nutritionist who has a sensitivity to wheat and gluten (not Celiac's disease, just to be clear) will, when eating out, choose the "normal" bread over the gluten-free version due to the highly processed nature of these alternatives. She reports having had worse reactions on the gluten-free version of restaurant-made or store-bought cakes, pizza bases and breads than to the original. So just stay informed, see what works for you but please please please avoid store-bought cakes (gluten-free or gluten-full) and make them yourself!
Happy Banana Bread Baking!
Banana Bread Muffins
Makes about 9 muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes
3 overripe organic bananas
1/2 cup of gram flour (chickpea flour)
1/2 cup of gluten-free muesli
1/2 cup of almond flour (or wholegrain spelt flour if you are not gluten-intolerant)
1 egg (or chia egg for vegans)
1/2 cup of coconut sugar
1/2 cup of plant milk
1 tsp of vanilla essence or paste
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tbsp of coconut oil
2 tbsp nut butter (I prefer almond or cashew)
1 tsp of gluten free bicarbonate of soda
berries, fresh or frozen
1. Preheat oven at 180C/350F.
2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
3. Mash the bananas and mix with dry ingredients. Mix in egg (or chia egg) and all the rest of the wet ingredients and whisk so that you can a nice smooth batter.
4a. Line muffin pan with baking cases and pour the batter in each baking case two-thirds full.
4b. If you would like the same effect as in the photo, you will need the frozen berries. Pour the batter in each muffin cup until 1/3 full and then place a few frozen berries in the centre and then cover with more batter till 2/3 full.
5. Place in oven for about 25-30 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly tapped.