Some time ago I ate a heavenly fluffy muffin in a café in Edinburgh. Which is surprising if you know that I avoid gluten due to a hypersensitivity. It really is much easier to avoid gluten when you live (or are) in Great Britain in general and in Scotland in particular. It is so easy to walk into a pub or a pizzeria or indeed a café when you know you are not cursed to keep at your tea and get sceptical side glances when you refuse to take a cookie. In Scotland, most culinary establishments have icons on their menues indicating what’s gluten free, lactose free, vegan, contains other allergenes and so on. That’s just for what it’s worth. Anyway, I ate that muffin and was hooked. I love outstanding sumptous sensations, said exactly that to the nice lady who runs the shop, but although she felt flattered and happy, she deprived me of the recipe. Sob, sob, sob… But when I really want something, I go for it, so I ate another one and started experimenting as soon as I was home. Based on my sense of taste I developed a recipe which probably is not the original Edinburgh one. But it’s originally Maria, and I think it’s nice. But I have to warn you, you might need to adjust the measurements a little, I never cook or bake with weighed amounts, I’m a creative mess in that respect, so it’s rule of thumb estimate. And you can vary the icing as well, of course. Enjoy.
Ingredients (16 muffins):
250 g/8,8 oz ground almonds
40 g/1,4 oz maize starch
80 g/2,8 oz brown unrefined sugar
15 g/0,3 oz cream of tartar
30 ml rose water
60 ml sunflower oil
4 eggs (but please, please, please avoid eggs from unhappy animals kept in mass stocks!)
For the proposed icing (X-rated, haha): some sugar powder, rose liquor (high proof), food colourings red and blue
Preheat the oven (190°C/374°F), prepare the muffin cases (I always use paper ones). Separate the eggs (yolks from whites). Stir the whites until stiff. Stir the yolks with the sugar until creamy. Add almonds, starch, cream of tartar, rose water and oil into the yolk-sugar-cream and stir it with care until it’s a plain dough. Fold the stiff whites in and stir (with a wooden spoon and much care!). It should be quite fluid, the spoon must not get stuck. The consistence is alright when it reminds you of pancake dough. If it’s not fluid enough, add some more oil and a hint of milk. Apportion it to 16 muffin cases and bake for approx. 20 minutes. You will see when they are ready, They elevate and get a nice golden crust eventually, that’s the right time to take them out. Don’t wait until they get brown, they get too dry then.
For the icing just stir the ingredients and decorate the chilled muffins. They also go well with a decadent topping of stirred cream, curd, sugar and whatever you want to add.