Being of a certain age and generation, I always had a bag in the car which contained a blanket, a flashlight with extra batteries, water, and extra socks, and I had been taught by my dad how to change a flat tire. Now, with the prevalence of cell phones, folks believe they are just a phone call away from help. That is, until we read the news story like the one about the couple who broke down in the middle of a snowstorm with stalled cell coverage and died from exposure.
So, being a bit OCD, I tend to err on the side of preparation rather than not, when I am travelling, and I acted no differently when I recently attended a college reunion. My husband chuckled at one of my bags. It was a large bag of allergy friendly snack items, filled completely to the top. “You do know they’re feeding you, right?” he said.
“Yes,” but I don’t know if I will be able to eat any of it,” I replied.
As it turned out, I was able to eat, but as expected, my choices were limited. One buffet of a dozen items had three side dishes which I could eat but no main entree, and at another meal, even the salad had cheese, nuts and croutons already on it, though this time I had a nicely grilled piece of chicken to make up for the missing entree the night before.
Though I didn’t need all that I had packed to eat, my daughter and I did gratefully dig into the dairy, nut, and wheat free package of double chocolate cookies I had thought to throw into the bag and which called to us after we spent two meals watching others eat decadent desserts which would kill us.
So, when I had to attend a brunch this past week, I thought it best to go ahead and bring something to contribute to the food options. I wanted to make muffins because they’d go with anything else that was offered but I wanted something “breakfasty”. In my search I discovered coffee cake muffins, but of course, the recipes were not allergy friendly and had more butter and sugar than I cared to use.
The original recipe for just a dozen muffins called for 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup melted butter, and 2 eggs for the batter. Then it called for 1/3 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup butter, and 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour for the streusel, as well as 1/4 cup powdered sugar with 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp of milk for a drizzle.
The first thing I decided was that all that sugar and butter had to be dealt with. I switched the melted butter in the batter to extra light olive oil, and I decided to omit sugar altogether from the batter. For the milk, I used a gluten free oat milk, and for the flour, I chose a whole grain gluten free blend. I omitted the salt and added nutmeg to complement the cinnamon. For the streusel, I reduced the sweetener to 1/2 cup and used coconut sugar instead, and I cut the butter to 1/4 cup, using a vegan soy free butter in its place. I omitted the salt from the streusel, too, adding in nutmeg to the streusel as well, and I used a gluten free oat flour for the flour to add protein and fiber, reducing the amount to 1 cup. The drizzle, I omitted altogether.
Since I have no issues with eggs, I didn’t make any substitutions but folks can always use all egg whites or flaxseed mixed with water or aquafaba or egg replacer, if need be. Also, because I switched to gluten free flour, I increased the baking soda by 1/4 tsp to help the batter rise.
Because I knew the batter wouldn’t be sweet, I poured half the batter into the muffin tins and layered a streusel topping in the middle of the muffin as well as on top. The result was a tasty, healthier version, which the folks at the brunch enjoyed as much as my family.
Coffee Cake Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole grain gluten free flour blend of choice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup favorite plant based milk (I used a gluten free oat milk)
1/3 cup extra light olive oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 cup gluten free oat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup vegan soy free butter
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
- Mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda for the batter. Set aside.
- Whisk together the “milk”, oil, and eggs. Add to the dry ingredients and blend well until smooth. Let it sit while you make the streusel.
- Mix together the coconut sugar, oat flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using clean hands, mix in the vegan butter until you have large crumbs and no leftover dry ingredients.
- Divide half the batter among the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the batter with half of the streusel topping.
- Top off the muffin cups with the rest of the batter, and sprinkle the remaining streusel topping on all the muffins.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. The muffins will have puffed, be golden and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
- Let the muffins cool for at least a few moments before digging in.