Gluten-Free Orange Cornmeal Muffins

Post image for Gluten-Free Orange Cornmeal Muffins

by Lauren | Celiac Teen on November 3, 2010

I hadn’t baked in two and a half weeks. My mind was spinning off in circles, and my body was only starting to recover. I had a sinus infection. Saying it like that sounds so simple, so easy. This? Anything but. I’d missed too much school to know what was going on in any of my classes. I couldn’t quite focus, falling just short enough that I couldn’t really process what I was reading. I came away with a general gist, rather than my normal understanding. It was foreign, and a bit frustrating. My thoughts were scattered. The lightheaded episodes of my past came back. Over-the-top exhaustion came back. Crashing hard; that came back too. I’d get a moment of clarity, then everything else regained it’s typical confusion. I’m not a fan of all of this, but I could manage it. What I couldn’t handle? No baking.

We all have a refuge. Maybe you read a good book. Maybe you draw, paint or write. Maybe you dance. Maybe you quilt. Me? I bake. It’s second nature. It’s my comfort, my joy. It is the thing I do when I’m bored, when I’m happy and when I want to give. It’s also what I do for me; not just for the result, but the process. The sound of the oven as I turn it on. The ease with which I pull open drawers and grab just what I need, without a single glance. That comfort which comes with measuring the flours, with beating the eggs. It’s the satisfaction of licking the spoon after the muffins have been tucked into the oven. Biting into the still warm treats and tasting the love. Tasting the time, the joy, and the comfort that banded together to make them. It’s my therapy.

These past few weeks, it’s also been my benchmark. “I’ll be okay if I can just bake” I thought as my mind began to emerge from the brain fog. In the past two or three days, where the brain fog has finally started to lift, my days have ended with collapsing into the couch, but I knew I had to try. I had the energy to stand, and frankly that was enough. The moment the flour touched my fingers, that all floated away. I was home. In no time, the muffins (or are they cupcakes?) were in the oven. The couch called my name as they baked, but this time my body breathed a relaxed sigh. The stress? It was gone.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a busy time and I’ve got a lot to do – but finally being able to do this one little thing? It made all the big worries go away. I’m working through the homework. I’m working through the quizzes, the tests. I’m getting back on track. It was a long and nasty sinus infection, but it’s just about gone and hasn’t added anything else to my health resume. I’m incredibly grateful for that.

This recipe just needed that last final test before coming to see you.  It was inspired by Garrett McCord’s recipe on Vanilla Garlic. It’s lovely. They’re muffins, which could sort of be cupcakes, depending on your definition. They’re not as sweet as a normal cake, but a bit lighter than muffins. Warmth from cornmeal, a slight orange flavour and always disappear in a heartbeat. No matter what you call them, they’re a winner in my house. My mom, dad and brother each came up to me separately to tell me how much they enjoyed them (and ask for another!). I even threw one in my bag this morning to make sure I didn’t miss out on the last few. They’re all gone now, but I have a feeling it won’t be too long before they make their next appearance.

I made these lovelies over the summer. They’re the 10 version. Sweet little domed tops! So simple, so easy. I love that they can be thrown together in minutes.

These ones decided to be cupcakes. Topped with whipped cream and a touch of zest? Oh yes. They left a smile on our faces :).

These were the 12 version. If you had to press me to choose, I’d go for these. They’re not actually any different in flavour, but I’m always happy to have more! My family is too.

We had a wide range of liners, but I couldn’t find any simple ones this time. Some were baked in Halloween ones, some in Christmas ones, and a couple more lived their short lives in a few we received at BlogHer Food.

I know I haven’t been around these parts much lately, but I hope that now that I’m getting better, everything will be back on track! I hope you’re all doing well, and that you’re fighting off the autumn colds. I should also mention that I’ll be writing a monthly column for Zenfully Delicious. My first article is on why being gluten-free isn’t a burden to me, so check it out if you have a moment!

xoxo
Lauren

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carrie November 3, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Lauren, What a beautiful post….your words….lovely. So glad you are feeling better and are back to baking. Cheers….

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2 Christine November 3, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I’m glad you’re feeling a bit better – I hope you continue to have a speedy recovery with lots of baking! :)

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3 Zoe November 3, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I’m glad you’re feeling better! The muffins looks delicious, so light and fluffy. Everything a store bought gluten free muffin isn’t!

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4 Iris November 3, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Welcome back, Lauren! I was wondering where you’ve been. So sorry you weren’t feeling well, but glad you’re feeling better and back into the kitchen. I know how you feel about baking. Everything else just melts away while that oven’s on.

As usual, your photos are beautiful!

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5 Laura November 3, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Hi Lauren. I really enjoy your blog, and am glad to know you’re feeling well again. These muffins look so nice. I’m definitely going to give them a try next time we have orange juice in the house.

Cheers,
Laura

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6 Celiacs in the House November 4, 2010 at 2:21 am

Lauren
Happy to hear you are back in the kitchen. I was down with an upper respiratory bug for over a week after San Francisco. I think I got glutened while there, too, so mental fog, no energy on top of the bug. Take care of yourself and keep those recipes and beautiful writing and photography coming. My son is learning to bake and these muffins look like a good recipe for him. He’s trying to get his cooking skills ready before leaving for college.
Wendy

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7 Jenn November 4, 2010 at 2:46 am

I’m glad you are feeling better Lauren! I love this post about refuge. I think mine is photographing…I love that you made cupcakes out of these muffins – just perfect :)

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8 Erica Lea November 4, 2010 at 10:04 am

You have such a way with words, Lauren! I love how you described baking. Sorry that you’ve had a rocky time. Hope you can find time to do lots of baking! :D

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9 Jessica November 4, 2010 at 10:04 am

I hope you get to feeling 100% soon! Love the muffin recipes. And as always, your pictures are beautiful and inspiring! :)

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10 Tracey Mardon November 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm

So glad you’re feeling better! How do you always seem to know what I have in the cupboard? Liked the article in Zenfully, way to go!

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11 Dee D. November 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm

glad you’re back!
The muffins look yummy ;D
and your writing is amazing!
~Dee

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12 Sheena November 4, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Such a lovely post Lauren! The muffins look so light and fluffy, hope you get to spend more time in the kitchen now :)

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13 Kaitlin November 4, 2010 at 6:20 pm

These photos are gorgeous! Great work!

I’m glad to hear that your feeling better, and also that being in the kitchen is helping. You’ll get on top of things again – I know it!

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14 Valérie November 6, 2010 at 10:16 am

I know what a real sinus infection can do to someone, it can really take you down. Glad you’re feeling better. Thos muffins are darling!

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15 Tracey November 7, 2010 at 11:49 am

I have a bag of Yellow Corn Flour in the cupboard from Planet Organic and don’t seem to be using it for anything. Do you think I could substitute it for cornmeal or would it be the wrong consistency?

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16 Lauren | Celiac Teen November 8, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Tracey, no I don’t think you could. The consistency is quite different, and that’s a big part of this particular recipe.

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17 jas @ gluten free scallywag November 8, 2010 at 11:57 pm

yum – my man loves citrus, will try making these for him as a treat for his weekend away!

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18 Sharon November 10, 2010 at 11:07 am

OT: request

Do you have a recipe that you’ve used and tested for “dried fruit, nut and seed” bars which are entirely no-bake and with no cereals of any kind added? Needed for Xmas mailing. Thanks.

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19 Lauren | Celiac Teen November 10, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Hi Sharon, No I don’t. I haven’t done much with bars of that sort. The only thing that might qualify could be these date treats, but I have no idea how they might travel: http://www.celiacteen.com/2010/date-thingys/ Good luck finding something that works!

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20 Chaya November 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Lauren, this blog is an example for others. You have done a beautiful job with it. There are so many recipes, I want to make. I have to sit hubby down and see which ones, he wants since he is the one with celiac. Thanks for the work, you put into this.

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21 Cheryl Arkison November 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Those look very yummy. I can’t even imagine what you’re feeling these days. Hope you are baking full time again soon. I hope to be quilting again in a day or two myself.

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22 Meg March 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Great recipe! Do you have a suggestion for a substitution for the almonds? I am GF and Nut-free too (allergies) (and low-sugar :< )

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23 Lauren | Celiac Teen March 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Meg, you could try a whole grain flour – such as millet, replacing by weight rather than volume :). Almond flour sucks up moisture, so the batter may be wetter and the baking time longer without it.

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