March 24, 2013

Semi-Homemade... Yep, I'll Take That!

I was trying to think of some kind of muffins or quick bread to make today, as I was having a neighbor over this evening for coffee and a chat..  I didn't have any gluten-free muffin mixes on-hand, which would have made things loads easier!!  I miss the good old days of taking a packet of mix out of the pantry; adding some milk, and whipping up some (mostly) palatable muffins in just a minute or two.  *sigh*

I decided that I wanted some lemon poppyseed muffins.  I'd been talking with another GF baking enthusiast at work last week about lemon poppy bread, and I figured I'd try my hand at creating a quick and easy recipe.

I took a pre-packaged gluten-free vanilla cake mix from Bobs Red mill  which is roughly the same volume/weight as your typical store-bought cake mix.  (the Betty Crocker GF yellow cake mix is also good, but if my memory serves, it's a smaller package - maybe 14 ounces?)

Add one small (3 ounce) package of instant lemon pudding mix..  As a side note, I learned today that Jell-O/Kraft Foods website neither confirms nor denies the existence of gluten in their products; however they are crystal-clear about their ingredient labeling.  They will disclose the origin of any "starch" by indicating that it is "starch (contains wheat)".. or barley or rye or triticale, if that happens to be the starch base.   Armed with this information, I felt that I could be confident enough to use a Jell-O branded product, since it did not contain any of these disclosures on the label.

Add 1/4 cup of bottled lemon juice, or fresh if you have it.  If you do have some fresh lemons, make sure to grate the zest and use this, too, as this is where all of the 'zing' of lemon lies! When you're grating the zest, make sure you don't get down into the pith - the white layer just under the yellow part.  My preferred method of attack is with a Microplane zester.  Today I didn't have any fresh lemons on-hand, so I used bottled juice, which worked out just fine!

Add 3/4 cup of water; 1/2 cup of vegetable oil; 4 eggs.  Stir this all together until well-blended, and use a 2-ounce scoop to portion the batter out into muffin tins lined with papers.  You'll end up with 24 muffins if you scoop them just about heaping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes.  I have an older oven, so I like to turn/rotate my tins halfway through for even baking.   They're done when the crown of the muffin is just lightly golden-browned.  Remove from the oven, and remove the muffins to a cooling rack as soon as you can.  If you're like me and believe that your fingers are coated in asbestos, feel free to pick them up one at a time while they're still rocket hot... if you're smart, you'll flip the pan onto the cooling rack and then flip the muffins with some tongs!

Store any leftovers (if you have any) in a zip-top bag for up to 4 days.

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