Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back to School Carrot Cake Muffins

School is back in session and Doodle is on her way as a Kindergartner this year. She has waited so long for this day to come - holding a grudge against me all last year for sending her through one more year of preschool. Excitement was in the air as she picked out her first day wardrobe, loaded up her Tinkerbell back pack with back to school gear, and laced up her new pink and white sneakers. Don't you just love the first day of school?
Who's excited for kindergarten?

I was excited to hear that her school would accommodate a gluten free and dairy free diet. Conversations with the school nurse led me to believe that they would offer a gluten free/dairy free diet for Doodle. I thought this was very progressive for a school in the middle of nowhere! However, after talking with the head of the lunch room,  I soon learned that a GF/DF diet merely meant Doodle could eat anything IF it fell into a category she could eat - but there would be no special accommodations. How disappointing! I did, then, convince this woman that Doodle needs to be able to heat her lunch up in the microwave. I couldn't bear the thought of sending Doodle to school with ham sandwiches every day - blah! So, I am packing a lunch nearly every day for Doodle in her very own Mystery Machine lunch box. I'm also sending her with 2 treat bags - one for school and one for after school care.

Needless to say, I've been busy baking! One of my best creations follows - GF Carrot Cake Muffins. I was pleasantly surprised how delicious these turned out - moist, nutritious, and just the right amount of sweet. I didn't frost them, as I didn't think they needed it. Doodle enjoyed her first batch with a small dollop of dairy free whipping cream on them. They're the perfect treat to accompany what ever lunch makes its way into the Mystery Machine.

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Carrot Cake Muffins
(I adapted this recipe from the Joy of Cooking) 

1 1/2 Cups to 1 3/4 Cups Sweet Rice Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp GF Baking Powder
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1/2 tsp Salt
2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Finely Grated Carrots
1 Cup Finely Chopped Walnuts
1 Cup Raisins
1/2 Cup Crushed Pineapple

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, spices, sugar, salt).
2. Blend in Agave Nectar, Vegetable Oil, and Eggs with a spatula.
3. Stir in Carrots, Walnuts, Raisins, and Pineapple.  If batter is too runny, add additional Sweet Rice Flour.
4. Prepare muffin tins with liners or grease tins to prevent sticking. Fill tins with muffin batter and place in oven.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.  Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in tins. Remove from tins and cool on baking rack. 

Try one for yourself - they're absolutely delicious!

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