More than a long time ago, I met a wonderful woman who would become a good friend. We were stranger-neighbors until the day of my daughter’s first birthday when Em found us hanging out in our 6 inch patch of backyard grass with the newly
lurching walking toddler. She’d been in her kitchen baking one of her truly amazing cakes when she noticed us and came over to say hello. The rest is, well, history.
In my messy but well-loved food-notes box is a card that Em gave me a long time ago with a recipe for Almond Cake. It was in there because I nagged her to death for the recipe after undoubtedly devouring the whole cake. She is a fabulous baker.
We lost touch for those years when school then jobs and raising kids separated us by a continent.
But now we are back in touch regularly all due to the wonders of social networking. Time may fly, but food memories are indelible like good friendships. In honor of my good friend I reinvented the beloved Almond Cake into these Almond Cherry Berry Banana Muffins, Gluten-Free, of course.
Think fruit bowl muffins surrounded by nuts.
This episode of Ratio Rally is brought to you by Quick Breads which are a 2:2:1:1 mixture – two parts flour to two parts-ish liquid to one part fat and an egg. These muffins come very close to that ratio but may be a little bit light on the liquid. For more information on Ratios, visit Michael Ruhlman’s blog or see his book.
Streusel Topping (optional)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Freshly grated nutmeg or ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons butter melted
- 7 oz. gluten-free flour (4 oz. gluten-free oat flour plus 3 oz. white rice flour)
Almond Cherry Berry Banana Batter
- 12 oz gluten-free flour (2 oz. white rice, plus 2 oz. gluten-free oat flour, plus 2 oz. potato starch, plus 3 oz. almond flour, plus 3 oz. brown rice flour)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 6 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 oz. gluten-free almond paste (Solo or Love ‘N Bake)
- ¾ cup brown or white sugar
- 10 oz. Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 large very ripe banana, mashed
- 3 whole large eggs plus one large egg white
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond flavoring
- Zest of one orange or lemon
- 8-9 oz. of frozen cherries or blueberries (or both)
- at least two pots of coffee and/or a gallon of milk
Preheat oven to 350. Grease two regular muffin pans with spray or use paper liners.
Measure flours into one bowl. Add other dry ingredients and whisk. Pour in the butter and mix with a fork. The mixture will solidify while you prepare the muffin batter. Just use your fingers to break it up when you get ready to use it.
Mix sugar and almond paste in a stand mixer on low-medium low for a few minutes until fully incorporated. It will look like giant sand particles. Add the butter and cream until fluffy.
Mash the banana and add the zest and flavorings in a separate bowl.
Weigh the flours and add the baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk to incorporate so no lumps remain. Almond flour is lazy lumpy sometimes.
Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time until well mixed. Add the banana mush. Add the yogurt or sour cream.
On low so the kitchen doesn’t get covered in flour dust, add the flour mixture until it is well mixed.
Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.
Toss the cherries (berries) in a bowl (re-use the banana bowl) with a pinch of any gluten-free flour. Mix well. This should keep the cherries (berries) from sinking to the bottom of the muffins when baking. It works about 50% of the time for me.
Using a rubber spatula, dump in the cherries (berries) and gently fold them in so they remain whole and the batter doesn’t turn pink.
Scoop the dough (ice cream size) into the prepared muffin tins. One very generous scoop per muffin should do it.
Now is the time to pop the streusel topping on each muffin. The stuff will be pretty solid by now – just break it up with your fingers.
Bake about 15 minutes and rotate the pans. Bake about 10 minutes more or just until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t over bake them or they will be a bit chewy and the bottoms will burn.
Cool for a few minutes and remove to a rack to finish cooling off. Cool until the centers are just barely warm. Dust with confectioner’s sugar if you want to be a little festive.
Serve with the optional coffee or milk and/or lots of steaming hot tea
Options: they also will make great mini muffins. Adjust the baking time accordingly. Skip the streusel, add some berries on top.
This is a quick bread ratio which is 2:2:1:1
2 parts flour to 2 parts liquid to 1 part fat to 1 part egg.
Baking ratios are traditionally based on the use of AP flours. GF flours behave differently – actually each gluten-free flour behaves differently. One might absorb more than the other, and the weights are never the same, nor are they the same as AP flour. Ever. So while ratios are a great guide – they are a guide.
Ratios are like knowing that a building needs walls, a foundation and support thingys. Where you put the kitchen or how big the rooms are is a matter of adjustment. That’s like ratio baking.
If you use this ratio, you can make almost any kind of quick bread. To get to the recipe I wanted to share, I made about a half-dozen similar versions using the ratio. I made adjustments including cutting way back on the liquid to more like a 2:1:1:1 ratio and found the muffin to be heavy and dense for its size. It was not pleasant.
For this recipe I used almost exactly the 2:2:1:1 with minor adjustments and additions. 12 oz of GF flour to 10 oz. of yogurt (liquid) plus the part of the banana that would qualify as liquid added up to about 11-12 ounces.
The egg white takes the place of xanthan gum or other binders. I don’t like xanthan gum in baked goods anymore and it doesn’t much like me. If you are fine with x-gum, by all means, use it and drop the extra white – or keep it in.
The additions to the ratio to complete the recipe include gluten-free almond paste, the banana, flavorings, zest and the cherries/berries and of course, the powdered sugar topping or streusel. And read labels carefully – some well-known almond paste/marzipan sources that are available at many grocers are NOT gluten-free (after I spent $$$ buying the stuff….). The brands in the recipe list are GF.
Et volia! Almond Berry Cherry Banana GF Muffins.