Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. ~Winston Churchill

The most successful gluten-free baked goods are made with a gluten-free flour blend. But a lot of gluten-free recipes rely on single flours (usually almond or coconut), which can produce heavy results.

If you have a gluten-free favorite that bakes up too dense, try adding arrowroot powder in an amount roughly equivalent to the total of the recipe’s other dry ingredients. You’ll know when you’ve landed on the right ratio: The crumb of the end result will look and feel like a “full-gluten” item.

One of the hallmarks of arrowroot is that it’s a useful ingredient to help lighten the textures in cakes, quick bread, and cookies in gluten-free and grain-free baking. … If you’re baking and need to use eggs as the primary binder, adding arrowroot powder will significantly help the process. ~Jessica Gavin, culinary scientist

Give the little morsels below a try now, or tuck away the recipe for Valentine’s Day. The stronger spice flavor lends well to two-bite treats — and with about 40 muffins per recipe, you can easily divvy them up and share the love with your GF/DF friends!

Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Mini Muffins

(Adapted from Danielle Walker’s Cranberry Chocolate Gingerbread Cake.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a mini muffin pan with baking papers. (You can skip the papers and instead spray the tin with coconut oil, but the muffins won’t rise as neatly.)

  1. Cook over medium-high heat:
    2 c. whole cranberries and 1/2 c. maple syrup until berries burst, about 10 min. Mash lightly to ensure all berries have burst. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (Take advantage of holiday cranberry prices: Make extra batches of this compote and freeze. Thaw in the fridge the day before you make the muffins.)
  2. Melt over medium-low heat:
    1/4 c. palm shortening, 1/4 c. maple syrup, and 1/2 c. coconut sugar until the sugars are dissolved, about 10 min. Remove from heat and set aside. (Lower heat as needed for your stovetop to avoid scorching.)
  3. Sift together:
    1/4 c. coconut flour
    2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/3 c. arrowroot powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda (This amount is for high-altitude baking.)
    1 Tbsp. ginger
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. cardamom
    1/4 tsp. sea salt
  4. In a food processor, combine on high for 30 seconds or until smooth:
    dry ingredients from step 3
    4 eggs

    3/4 c. unsweetened almond butter
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    zest from 1 lemon
    2 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  5. Add the melted sugar mixture and the cranberry compote to the food processor, and combine again for 30 seconds or until smooth.
  6. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes. (Don’t skip this step; gluten-free flours need time to absorb liquids so the final product isn’t gritty.)
  7. Add 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips to the food processor, and pulse a few times until chips are distributed. (Don’t add the chocolate any sooner. If the chocolate melts, the final muffin texture won’t be as good.)
  8. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling full. Bake for 15 to 20 min., until a toothpick comes out clean and muffins tops are fairly firm.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving. (Muffins can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the freezer; the tops will simply turn a little sticky.)

© 2018 Carol Stillings