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Gluten and Dairy Free Holiday Muffins

Gluten and Dairy Free Holiday Muffins

Like many people living with IBS, I have had to modify my diet to meet my body’s needs. I learned through doing an elimination diet that my body works best when my diet is free from gluten and dairy products. Learning that came with a bucket of emotions, as I was very sad and angry that I couldn’t eat things like French bread, brie cheese, pizza, lasagna, cakes and pastries, just to mention a few! However, I worked through my emotions and found that there are many alternatives that are available that make it feel less like deprivation.

The holidays add an extra challenge. I’m the only one in my family who is gluten-free and dairy-free, and like many families, we have traditional recipes that we make every year for our holiday celebrations. The first year after changing my diet, I just “cheated” when I got together with my family and ate everything anyway. The problem is, “cheating” on a diet where you are trying to lose weight just means your weight loss may slow down, and “cheating” on this kind of diet means cheating yourself out of feeling well. For me, it’s just not worth it. I have enough time of not feeling well to bring extra amounts of that on myself. Yet, I still don’t want to miss out on our holiday favorites.

Fortunately, through much experimentation and creativity, I’ve been able to modify most of our recipes to accommodate my needs. And, my modifications don’t change the taste or quality, and everyone (even those who normally insist on gluten) enjoys them! One of my favorite recipes is my mom’s Cranberry Muffins. She makes them for Christmas morning, and we eat them with coffee or tea while we open our presents. (We have a proper brunch later in the day.)

There are two parts to this recipe, or actually two recipes. The first is for the gluten-free flour. Although there are brands of gluten-free flour you can buy off-the-shelf, this recipe, which I found in Jeanne Sauvage’s cookbook Gluten-Free Wish List, works best for any kind of pastry, cookie or muffin. (Her cookbook also contains lots of other great recipes and ideas for replacements.)

Gluten-Free Flour

  • 1 ¼ cups brown rice flour
  • 1 ¼ cups white rice flour
  • 1 cup sweet (white) rice flour (glutinous rice flour)
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum

Whisk ingredients together in large bowl. Transfer to an airtight container. (You can store this flour in a cool, dark place for up to 4 weeks, in the refrigerator for up to 2 months, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.)

Cranberry Muffins

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp grated orange peel (Using a Microplane grater, I use most of the peel from one large orange)
  • 1 ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ginger (I like to use fresh ginger grated on a Microplane grater)
  • ½ cup butter (I use Earth Balance to make mine dairy-free)
  • ¾ cup orange juice (if squeezing from fresh oranges, it’s approximately 2 large oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups cranberries
  • Foil muffin cups

In medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives. Stir in juice, vanilla, and eggs. Fold in cranberries. Spoon into 18 lined muffin cups. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 25 minutes or until golden.

Note: these muffins are good served hot or cold. We often make the batter the night before, keeping it refrigerated until Christmas morning, and then baking them fresh.

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