It is DAY 26 of Gluten Free Baking With KitchenAid and we continue to celebrate our KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway with these SUPER DELICIOUS gluten free, vegan banana chocolate chip muffins from Jennifer Ward at Be Free Bakers. Jen calls these muffins "Chocolate Monkey Business." I LOVE that name and I LUUUUUV these muffins, as well Jen's proprietary flour blend, "Jen's Blend," that she uses to make them. This amazing gluten free flour blend is composed of five different grains (teff flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, brown rice flour and tapioca flour) and works beautifully in muffins, cupcakes or even pizza crust.
I have this burning desire to champion the cause of this small Missouri business, not only because I used to live in MO, but because, after exchanging countless emails with Jen over the last month, I am totally in love with her! She is utterly adorable! She has constantly entertained me with stories about cleaning and reseasoning an antique cast-iron muffin tin she rescued from the barn shed on the farm she just purchased, and whipping up treats in her "well loved" ancient KitchenAid stand mixer with a Hobart motor! I can just imagine the white paint flecking off the cast iron! She is also lovingly making her way through all of my recipes in a style that she says makes her feel like she is in the movie "Julie and Julia." I am more than flattered.
Jen and her family live with multiple food allergies and are very particular about their whole foods diet. After teaching gluten free baking classes and doing private consultations, Jen started Be Free Bakers in 2009. She began selling her delicious baked goods at the "City Market" in Kansas City, Missouri. Word spread quickly and she now supplies to stores, restaurants and coffee shops all over Missouri. You can also purchase her baked goods and Jen's Blend flour mix online.
The thing I love most about Jen and her company is the attention to detail and uncompromising quality control. She uses only the highest quality local ingredients, 70% of which are organic, and the main ingredient in most of her products is whole grain teff flour, which is high in protein, fibre, potassium and iron. Jen has spent the last year perfecting her packaging, ensuring it is completely green. She uses boxes and packaging that are made out of 100% recycled stock sourced in the Midwest, and soy inked labels made by a local printer. Jen sent me a care package of her Jen’s Blend flour mix, as well as four flavours of her delicious cookies. The packaging was eco chic and GORGEOUS! I was amazed to find that the inner bag the cookies were sealed in was made of Natureflex, a sustainably harvested wood pulp, that you can compost in your back yard! How cool is that?! Just incredible.
So, here is one of Jen's delectable creations! These banana chocolate chip muffins are TO DIE FOR! They are ultra moist, and packed full of flavour! These muffins are gluten free, soy free and vegan (if you use almond milk), corn free (use guar gum in place of xanthan gum and choose a glycerin based vanilla extract) and nut free (use soy or rice milk). For a flavour variation you could add nuts or berries in place of the chocolate!
You don’t have to use the brands Jen recommends and uses, but she wanted to emphasize that using quality brands will get you the best results. Jen says these muffins cook up absolutely gorgeously with cast iron, but using regular muffin tins work well too. ENJOY! These are very hard to quit eating. I have now gained seven pounds and counting! NOT A JOKE! I am off for a run!
Thanks for sharing these delicious muffins with us Jen. I ADORE you!