Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gluten free, low carb pecan pie muffins

Gluten-Free, Low-Carb Pecan Pie Muffins

American pecan pie muffins meet German grandma's Rosenthal porcelain which meets Romanian grandma's doily ...

There are two reasons why I maintain an English blog besides my German one: First, most of my foodie friends are based in English speaking countries, and second, I love this language.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that I despise my German native tongue, but yeah, it would come pretty close. Why is that?
When I made these muffins, I first planned on posting them in my German blog.
Usually the text for a post starts forming in my head while I'm still in the kitchen, stirring my cauldron and muttering arcane incantations such as "Shall I add one more tablespoon of sweetener??"
In this case, I discussed something not kitchen related with myself while putting the muffins together, so no text appeared in my mind - neither English nor German.
Only when I got them out of the oven, I thought: What a mouthwatering smell!
And that's why I'm anything but fond of my mother tongue. You cannot say "mouthwatering smell" in German because no such adjective exists. Instead of "mouthwatering smell" you have to say "at the smell of these muffins the water in my mouth runs together."
Thirteen words instead of two. THIRTEEN!!! How utterly idiotic.
And there are many more examples for short English expressions which translate into long-winded phrases in German.
That's neither on the point nor poetic, it's laborious and clumsy.
Don't get me wrong - I'm quite comfortable with German being my native tongue, because I wouldn't want to have the misfortune to be forced to learn it. Besides being laborious and clumsy, it's a difficult and illogical language.

And then there are measuring cups.
Ever since I discovered them, I've preferred them to the weighing method - I love them because I find them *way* more practical than using a scale.
Again - why that?
Just recently I came across an article about why Americans keep sticking to their measuring cup method, even though the weighing method is so much more practical.
"Rubbish," I thought, "it isn't! Cups are the best method!"
But I started to wonder and ask myself what made me think cups are more practical than a scale. From a logical point of view, they aren't. But for me, they are.
The answer actually is my way of thinking. I think visually - in pictures. If I try to imagine the amount of flour which I need for something, I cannot imagine one hundred and fifty grams. My mind is unable to make a picture out of numbers because they are abstract. But I can imagine two cups of flour, because they are tangible, they have a bodily form which I can visualize.
So if I make up a recipe, I do it with cups. And sometimes I forget to weigh what I put into the cups, and I have to write a German recipe with cups instead of grams and litres. Or post it in my English blog.

Today I was too lazy to weigh something, and my musing about the long-winded German language and my odd fondness of measuring cups made its way into the computer, so here we are.

As usual, feel free to use any sweetener you like: Sugar, Erythritol, Truvia, Swerve or Xylitol.
And as usual, feel free to up the amount of sweetener to your taste. DH and I found these muffins to be pleasantly sweet, but I know most people would double the sweetener.
The muffins are low-carb, no flour and no sugar except for the two tablespoons of maple syrup. Feel free to omit them and use more sugar, erythritol, xylitol or whatever you like instead.
For the chocolate, I used 85% chocolate sweetened with xylitol.

Ingredients for 10 muffins:
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 3.5 ounces almond flour
  • 1/8 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husks or ground chia seeds (or 1 teaspoon xanthan or 2 more tablespoons ground flax seeds)
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon erythritol or xylitol
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter or non-hydrogenated margarine, cold
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 7 ounces Greek yoghurt (can be made from soy yoghurt, too: just put one pound of unflavoured soy yoghurt into a cheesecloth and let drip for some time - you'll find precise instructions via google, it's really easy to make)


  • Grind 1 cup of pecan halves. Then separate 1/3 cup of ground pecans from the rest and set aside for the topping.
  • For the batter, combine the rest of the ground pecans, the almond flour, ground flax seeds, psyllium husks (or substitute), 1/4 cup erythritol or sugar, baking powder and vanilla, mix well.
  • Chop chocolate and add to batter mixture.
  • Chop the remaining 1/2 cup of pecans.
  • In another bowl combine the 1/3 cup ground pecans with the chopped pecans, 1 tablespoon erythritol, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and the tablespoon of cold butter. If desired, add some more vanilla to the crumble mixture. Using your fingers, crumble the mixture. You will get a wet crumbly mess, that's fine.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Cream together 2 eggs, Greek yoghurt, 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Beat at high speed for about 3 minutes until you get a slightly foamy pale yellow liquid.
  • Grease and flour 10 muffin tins or use silicon tins (I don't know if paper liners will work, but feel free to try and tell me what happened).
  • Combine egg cream with the dry batter ingredients, stir well. The batter will be quite liquid. Fill about 2/3 of the muffin tins with batter, then divide the topping between the ten tins.
  • Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes (not longer or the topping will burn!).
  • Remove the tray from the oven and let cool until the muffins are only slightly warm and feel solid to the touch. Remove from tins and let cool completely.
  • They are soft and mellow with a crunchy topping.
  • Enjoy with your favourite cup of coffee or tea!

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