I know what you are thinking……”Parsnips? Yummy?” Yes they can be yummy. I can’t say that I eat parsnips all the time. What I can say is that I have prepared them before and not cared for their flavor. So when I say this is yummy, I am not kidding around. If I didn’t like them you would not be reading this. If my husband and one of my two boys didn’t like them, you wouldn’t be reading this.
Last weekend I was watching Good Eats on Food Network. Alton Brown had an entire show on preparing parsnips so that children would not only eat them but ask for seconds. The first thing he made was parsnip muffins. They looked pretty tasty. His version had roasted almond slivers on top and looked much like muffins you would buy in a bakery.
I decided I would try to make a gluten free version of these muffins since my son can’t have gluten. What is the point of making these the normal way if my child (whom I am trying to get to eat more vegetables) can’t eat them? So I can’t tell you if these taste “just like” his but I can say that we liked them. My oldest son is avoiding them because they are a new food (even though they look much like the banana muffins he loves). My younger son who is in many ways even more picky than his brother said “Mmmm these are super yum!”
My version has the texture of banana or pumpkin bread but a slight lemony flavor. Even though there is no lemon in them.
Thanks Alton for the inspiration!!! Here is Alton's original recipe.
1-ounce sliced almonds (optional)
8-1/2 ounces Gluten Free Flour Mix
1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (Alton recommends freshly grated, I say use what you got ;)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 whole eggs
3/4 cup soy yogurt (I used 1/4 cup soy sour cream + 1/4 cup soy cream cheese + 1/4 rice milk because it is what I had on hand) Plain soy yogurt is harder for me to find with out driving all over the place.
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
8 ounces sugar
10 ounces grated parsnips (I processed the gratings into a pulp to hide them better)
Place the almonds in a single layer in a pie pan and place in the oven. heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the nuts until lightly toasted, approximately 20 minutes while the oven heats. Meanwhile, spray a standard 12 cup muffin tin with the nonstick spray and set aside.
I skipped that first part because I used my mini muffin maker (kind of like a waffle maker that sits on the counter). I did spray my mini muffin maker with nonstick spray.
Combine the flour, Xanthan Gum, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Mix well.
Whisk the eggs, yogurt (or my substitutions listed above), vegetable oil, and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add the flour and parsnips, and fold with a spatula until all the flour is moistened.
Prepare the parsnips by peeling off the outer skin. Cut off the top end and grate all but the inner core. In Alton’s show he explains that the core is a little bitter. You want only the sweet flesh for this. I then put my grated parsnip into a food processor to make it into a finer pulp. This gives the muffins a similar texture to banana muffins. The parsnip will not break down when baking. Your children will be able to see the shredded parsnip inside the muffin when they eat it if you don’t process it down further. Just saying….. For us it is a texture thing.
Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups. If you are adding almonds, sprinkle the top of each muffin with the toasted almonds. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins reach and internal temperature of 210 degrees F and are golden brown. Rotate your pan half way through while baking. If needed, use a small knife to loosen the muffins and immediately remove them from the tin to a cooling rack. Alton says to cool them for 15 minutes and serve warm. We ate our mini muffins as soon as they were cool enough to bite into with out burning ourselves (which was more like a minute but remember we made mini muffins, they cool faster).
I have found that gluten free baked goods are best eaten fresh. These are best when eaten with in a day or two. I froze half of my batter for another time. I have done this for years with cookie dough, cake batter and banana muffin mixes. We bake up what we want to eat right away. When I want use use my frozen batter, I simply defrost it and bake it. With cookie dough, I defrost it enough to make enough cookies for right then and return the rest to the freezer. It will keep for up to 6 months this way. This is great when you have produce that needs to be used right away before it goes bad. We like to use the frozen batters on weekends for no fuss breakfasts on Saturdays.
P.S. if you add a touch of lemon juice to your banana muffin mix it won't turn brown in the freezer.
Oh and since I am working on remembering to be Thankful, I am so VERY Thankful to those people before more who paved the way for Gluten and Dairy Free foods to be easier than it other wise would have been. There are so many wonderful recipes and ready made foods out there and every day there are more. I am thankful to manufacturers that take the time to label their foods Gluten Free and there are so many more now that do it. It puts my mind at ease. I read every label and worry over ingredients that could be an issue. I look for the allergy warnings to see if there are hidden contaminants. Even trace amounts of gluten or dairy can mean that we have up to a week of bad temper tantrum, meltdown kinds of days. Most people think of food allergies effecting people in their gut only or as a rash. Food allergies can effect mood, mind and body. Dairy literally disconnected my child from the world. Some of my son's issues were from Autism but some of them were from his allergy to dairy and gluten. It is food for thought.