Jennifer Barnhart is a master party-planner, but she also lives on a strict gluten-free diet, so baked goods are almost always out (at least for her!). A party without baked goods, you ask? I know! Poor dear. I think she's finally solved it though. This is worth checking out, whether you're on a gluten-free diet or just cooking for someone who is. She has some great tips!
My friend Mandy loves King Arthur flours. Knowing that they had a gluten free line, and that I can only eat gluten free food, she’s been asking me if I had tried any of their gluten free products. I kept telling her that gluten free mixes are mostly outside of my budget, financially and calorie wise. That changed last week. When I get irritated with my husband, I head to my favorite natural grocery store, Central Market. It’s a running joke in our family that I don’t do retail therapy, but the more irritated I am, the more organic our food is. Last week I was able to try a whole bunch of wonderful, natural food…I brought home several kinds of organic, fingerling potatoes, the most wonderful European yogurt and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but several King Arthur mixes. I picked out a couple and brought them home to try.
The gluten free muffin mix looked wonderful. It’s a plain mix that you can add your own berries, fruits or nuts. I decided to make mine blueberry. You also add eggs, butter and milk to the mix.
When I opened the package the flour looked very fine. Gluten free foods can be gritty. The flour was white with little dark specks in it. As soon as I added my wet ingredients, I knew what the specks were. Yum, nutmeg. The mixture smelled really good. The box said that it made 12 muffins, but I was able to get 16 from it. I used my 1/2 cup measure to fill the muffin cups. That was the perfect amount. They rose perfectly in the oven.
The whole kitchen smelled wonderful. Just as I pulled the muffins out of the oven, the doorbell rang. It was the mailman delivering a package. As soon as I opened the door he remarked on how good it smelled in my house. “What are you doing, baking?” he asked like no one ever does that any more. I sent him on his way with a muffin. He was pretty excited that it was still hot. I ate one fresh from the oven. It was perfect. It didn’t stick to the cupcake wrapper like a lot of gluten free foods and it wasn’t crumbly. It wasn’t too sweet. I ate one when they were cool too. Still perfect. I gave one to my husband. Yep, they passed that test too.
My take on the King Arthur gluten free muffin experiment:
Pros: They taste great and have a perfect texture. No one will ever know they are gluten
Cons: The mix cost about $6. That makes each muffin cost about $.35 just for the mix.
That’s a little steep for home baked muffins.
The verdict: I would recommend them for anyone who is not gluten free who needs to cook for a gluten free guest. If you are cooking for a gluten free friend, don’t use your regular mixer, it’s full of gluten crumbs and use a metal spoon to mix with. Wooden ones are full of hidden gluten. I will also buy a box to keep on hand for the convenience factor. Some days you just need food fast. I am looking forward to the next mix: bread mix.
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