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Gluten-Free Ratio Rally – Muffins – Lemon Lavender

This month’s Gluten-Free Ratio Rally is being hosted by Silvana over at Silvana’s Kitchen, go there to see all the other great recipes created for this rally!

Baking by ratio is using  specific proportions of flour:liquid:egg:fat so we can easily turn out consistent gluten free baked goods that also do not require any of the odd-named gums found so frequently in gluten free baking and elsewhere.  This month’s “ratio rally” is quick breads or muffins and the universal ratio for them is 2 parts flour, 2 parts liquid, 1 part egg and 1 part fat.  2:2:1:1 for the mathematician in me.

I have been reading about baking by weight of ingredients on The Gluten Free Girl & The Chef.  It made a lot of sense to me, but I had not broken down and tried it myself.

Why?  Habit, laziness, fear, intimidation, unfamiliarity with the new, comfort with what I know, or a combination for the above…?  So when this ratio rally was proposed I thought, hey why not join and see what’s with this ‘newfangled’ way of baking… if I was a complete dud no one would know.  I had always associated weighing my ingredients with professional chefs and culinary schools.  But I am not a professional chef and I am not taking classes at a culinary school!

So here I am.  With fear and trembling, mixing spoon in hand and my scale at the ready.  I mean really, there are some “big names” involved with this ratio rally thing.  They have cookbooks in bookstores, on Amazon and everything.  Some of those cookbooks are on my cookbook shelf in my simple kitchen!

Oh my what am I doing here…  [gulp]…

How do I go about ‘creating’ a recipe?  I have never done anything like that in my life!!  OK, to be honest I did.  Once.  It was not pretty… or edible.  Follow a recipe, that I can do.  But make my up own??  So like my writing I let it all bubble in my head and prayed for creativity from the Lord.

I had the skin of two lemons left over from the lemon sorbet I made the previous week.  I needed to use them, ah I could do something with lemon zest!  I really like lemons zest.  It is such a bright, fresh scent and flavor.

I even used to wear a lemon scented perfume as a young woman… um… in the 70′s.  Yes the 1970′s.  Yes, that makes me… old.  I do like it here in my early 50′s.  I wish I could remember the name of that perfume… the memory is the first thing to go, I forget what goes after that…

But lemon muffins?  That seems so ordinary.  I wanted something a little different.  Then I thought of pairing the lemons zest with the lavender buds I have.  I really like lavender.  Hm, I am liking this!! Off to bake my first batch to see what tweaking the recipe might need.  Or would I need to go back to the ‘drawing board’??

What flours would I use?  Well, I have this bag of millet flour that I only have a little bit left of, let’s start with that.  And I have a 25 pound bag of brown rice flour & a 50 pound bag of sweet rice flour so I KNOW I will use them.  Part of the prepping thing, buy in bulk and save money in the long run.  What else, oh, I like sorghum flour and I have been trying to use coconut flour for its high fiber and detoxing qualities.  I knew I didn’t want to use too much coconut flour as it tends to make everything so dry and have that stuck to your throat quality.

Flours – check.

What could I use for the liquid?  Well I could use the kefirs I have been playing with or make a ‘buttermilk’ out of the coconut milk beverage.  I made three different batches.  Mostly to tweak the spicing and moistness of the finished muffin.  One batch I used the coconut milk beverage “buttermilk”.  Another batch I used cashew milk kefir.  The last batch I used almond milk with a splash of orange juice.  They all turned out well.

Liquid – check, check and check.

Baking by ratio and weighing my ingredients is surprisingly easy.  Yes easy!  On top of that I only have to dirty the bowl I mix in and the measuring cup for the liquids.  I could have even dispensed with a separate container for the liquids, but wanted to play it safe.  No wide array of dirty measuring cups.  Clean up was such a breeze!  A major plus for me.

I can also see additional benefits when making muffins.  My stoneware muffin pan holds 12 muffins.  I could easily halve the measurements of all the ingredients and make 2 different flavors in one baking.  If I mixed the eggs together and weighed them each out into four equal portions (very easy with a scale!) I could make 4 different flavors of muffins in one baking.  Or 3 flavors.  Ah the possibilities!!

Lemon Lavender Muffins with Lavender Sugar – the ratio way

from the kitchen of ~Mrs. R at Honey From Flinty Rocks

1 ½ oz brown rice flour

2 oz sorghum flour

2 ½ oz millet flour

½ oz coconut flour

1 ½ oz sweet rice flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ of a ripe banana

6 oz coconut milk beverage

2 oz orange juice

4 oz grapeseed oil

½ cup raw honey

½ teaspoon lemon flavoring

2 large, pastured organic eggs

1 teaspoon organic lavender buds

zest from one organic lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan.

Weigh out the coconut milk beverage, orange juice and grapeseed oil into another bowl or 4 cup measuring cup.  Add the honey, lemon flavoring and eggs.   Stir together.  Add the lavender buds and lemon zest and set aside.

Weigh out each of the flours into a mixing bowl, add the baking powder and whisk together. Push the dry ingredients to one side of the bowl. Mash the ½ banana with a fork against the side of the mixing bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir to combine completely and so there are no banana lumps remaining.

Fill muffin cups 2/3rds full.  Sprinkle with lavender sugar made with 1/8 cup course sugar and ½ – 1 teaspoon lavender buds.

Bake for 30 minutes. They are done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins rest in the pan for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from pan and eat.

Store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for a couple of days. Or in the freezer.

Makes 12 muffins.

[I didn't have time to go to the store today and pick up the coarse sugar, so I used what I had, but the final presentation would have been better with the course sugar as it doesn't melt when subjected to heat.]

I like muffins.  With the right ingredients they are healthy.  They travel well.  Are tasty.  Freeze well.  Make a great addition to the Patriarch’s lunch.  And a tasty, healthy treat for Arrow and me at tea time.

Shh, don’t tell them that I consider these muffins to be “nutrient-packed, muffin-shaped vitamins”.   It’ll be our secret… ok?

A big thank you to my church family who is my ready-made tester group.  Many of whom are gluten free.  Thank you  to Mrs. L who ate 4; Mrs. N who is not gluten free yet ate 1 and took some home; Mr & Mrs OB gluten free caterers and extraordinary cooks and bakers who’s judgment & candor is so appreciated.  Special thanks to the lovely young ladies Miss P and Miss Y.  Coarse Lavender Sugar Topping, brilliant.  A truly terrific finishing touch.  Your culinary expertise helps raise my simple muffin above the kitchen counter and into the tea room!


~Mrs. R

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{ 20 comments… add one }

  • Caneel April 6, 2011, 5:47 AM

    Lemon lavender? Oh, yum! I had some of the same feelings about starting the ratio baking – you aren’t alone! But these look wonderful! :)

    • ~Mrs. R April 6, 2011, 6:18 AM

      Hello Caneel,
      Thank you for your kind words about my simple muffin.
      ~Mrs. R

  • WithStyleGrace April 6, 2011, 8:18 AM

    I love the combination of lemon & lavender – and this recipe sounds delicious!

  • Jenn April 6, 2011, 9:47 AM

    Beautiful! I love the flavor combination of lemon and lavender together, sounds perfect for an early Spring day – so glad you are participating!

    • ~Mrs. R April 6, 2011, 12:09 PM

      Hello Jenn,
      I had envisioned these as a Ladies Tea muffin. I think they would also be great gracing an Easter buffet. Participating in this rally has really opened my eyes to the simplicity of ratio baking! Very glad to be here!!
      ~Mrs. R

  • Gluten Free Canteen April 6, 2011, 10:02 AM

    Lavender sounds like a wonderful addition – what a great idea!

  • melanie April 6, 2011, 10:27 AM

    your recipe sounds (and looks) lovely – I love anything lemon! The perfume you mentioned – is it something like “jean nate?’ – I may have the spelling not quite right – your words about the lemon scent brought back vivid memories (memories of scents / smells are always so strong & intense!) of a scent I wore as a teen-ager, which I loved and haven’t thought of for many years (well actually decades…) I wonder if its still made? Anyway, I love your recipe – if this is your first original recipe – you’re off to a great start!

    • ~Mrs. R April 6, 2011, 12:04 PM

      Hi Melanie,
      I think it was Love’s Fresh Lemon. I don’t think I ever wore any Jean Nate. And to answer your question, yes the Love’s Fresh Lemon is still available for purchase, go figure! I am pretty sure I found the Jean Nate stuff too. Just google it! LOL I would wear a lemon scent today, but not with the artificial chemicals. I would wear an essential oil… maybe even a lemon lavender combination…!
      Thank you for your kind comment on my muffin recipe. Yes, this is my first original recipe. I pray it isn’t that last!
      ~Mrs. R

  • Tara April 6, 2011, 12:32 PM

    Welcome to the Ratio Rally! Your muffins look and sound delicious. I especially like reading about your new outlook on baking by ratio & weight – that it’s not only easier and more efficient, but that you could also conceivably make lots of different flavors from one ‘mother’ batch! A great selling point, for sure.

  • Carolyn Y April 6, 2011, 4:31 PM

    I’m wondering how I sign up to be a tester! Looks wonderful!

    • ~Mrs. R April 6, 2011, 6:56 PM

      I will make sure you know when I bring the next batch of to-be-tested baked goods! I thought I told you…
      ~Mrs. R

  • Kimberly April 6, 2011, 4:40 PM

    These muffins look like the embodiment of spring! Putting lemons on my shopping list *immediately* and feeling MOST sorry for myself missing church last week :-).

    • ~Mrs. R April 6, 2011, 6:57 PM

      Missed you dear! I am sure you will “catch” the opportunity to taste test something in the near future!
      ~Mrs. R

  • shauna April 6, 2011, 7:25 PM

    I want some! These look so delicious.

    • ~Mrs. R April 6, 2011, 8:17 PM

      Thank you! I had SO MUCH fun baking by ratio. My next ‘project’ is to bake 4 different “ratio offerings” in one pan, all pared down… by ratio of course! Makes me smile to think of it.
      ~Mrs. R

  • chocswirl April 7, 2011, 9:26 PM

    I’ve never baked with lavender but it sounds lovely! Awesome job on the challenge this month! Beautiful pictures of the lavender :)

    • ~Mrs. R April 7, 2011, 10:35 PM

      Hello Robyn,
      Thank you for your comments on my recipe and photos! This is only the second time I have baked with lavender. It is lovely to smell and tastes good too!
      ~Mrs. R

  • The Healthy Apple April 8, 2011, 5:38 PM

    I love lavender muffins; such a beautiful picture and what a fabulous recipe. Thank you for sharing; so happy to be a part of this Rally with you! Enjoy your weekend.

    • ~Mrs. R April 9, 2011, 9:13 AM

      Thank you for your comments on my recipe and photos! I am really enjoying being a part of the rally!
      ~Mrs. R

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