When I first came to grips with the fact that my blood sugar issues weren’t going anywhere, I found myself scouring the internet, looking for information on the low carb lifestyle and sugar-free cooking and baking. I was fortunate that early on, I found Splendid Low Carbing, a blog by low carb cookbook author, Jennifer Eloff. Her creations inspired me and gave me hope that my diet need not consist purely of meat and vegetables, that there were many delicious ways to bake and cook with low carb ingredients. I perused her site constantly, looking for tips and ideas, and it was invaluable to me. So imagine my delight when a few months ago, Jennifer stopped by my own blog to tell me how much she liked it. We’ve been in contact a number of times since then and I am pleased to count Jennifer among my many food-blogging acquaintances.
In a recent email exchange, I told Jennifer how I had my eye on her Cream Cheese Gingerbread Muffins. Her response was interesting, she seemed to think that they could stand some tweaking and told me she thought I could improve upon them. I did have some changes in mind, only because I didn’t have the exact same ingredients and because I have my own preferred sweeteners that I like to use. Being snowed in for two days gave me the perfect opportunity to try out the recipe. To make them gluten free, I followed her suggestion of vanilla whey protein powder in place of the gluten flour, and skipped the extra vanilla extract. I also skipped the sugar-free gingerbread syrup, and upped the ground ginger and the molasses. Finally, I added a bit of almond milk to make up for the bulk I was missing by using stevia as one of my sweeteners.
If you are diabetic or carb-conscious, chances are you’ve heard of Jennifer. If you haven’t, get over to her site STAT! And even if you are not counting carbs, you should check out her blog. Not only does she have some great recipes, but she also posts interesting and informative news articles about health and diet that are always worth a read. Splendid Low Carbing with Jennifer Eloff
The Results: As I haven’t actually tried the original recipe, I cannot say for certain that mine were an improvement over hers. But I can say for certain that these were incredibly delicious! The flavour was wonderfully gingerbread-like, without being overly sweet, and the texture was light and cakey. And they were a huge success in that my kids, who often distain my low carb treats, just loved them. So much so that about 10 seconds after I’d served them, I looked over to see one child with chipmunk cheeks and no muffin in front of her, having stuffed it in her mouth all in one go.
If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me lamenting their appearance; they rose too high on the sides and not enough in the middle, and they stuck to the pan quite badly. This may be the result of my pan, which appears to be losing its non-stick qualities. It’s one of those Wilton pans with a dark coating, and it absorbs heat more than some of the lighter pans, hence the over-risen edges of the muffins. The batter for these muffins is quite delicate and fluffy and I think the issues could be solved with some muffin liners (preferably silicone) and baking at a lower temperature. I fully intend to find out because these were a hit with everyone and I want to bake them again this weekend.
Gingerbread Cream Cheese Muffins – adapted from Splendid Low Carbing
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp molasses (optional, but gives better flavour and colour)
16 drops stevia extract
1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325F and line a 12-muffin pan with paper or silicone liners.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl and beaters as needed. Add almond milk, molasses and stevia extract and beat until just incorporated.
In a medium bowl, stir together almond flour, whey powder, erythritol, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add to wet ingredients and beat until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and center is set.
Serves 12. Each muffin has a total of 8.9g of carbs, but only 4.9g if you subtract erythritol.