Cheese Ham CHICKPEA yogurt MUFFIN

Chickpea flour stars in these savoury gluten-free ham and cheddar muffins.
Nothing boring about wholefoods...especially when enjoyed warm out of the oven.

The first time I had created these incredibly aromatic muffins was way back.
Only recently did I have all ingredients at hand in order to re-visit with a twist ;o)

As far as I'm concerned, although I'm looking forward to warmer weather...
I still find myself using the oven quite a lot, especially for baked goodies.

Like most of you...
I'm transitioning slowly from comfort foods to eventually much lighter fare.


As usual, I always twist my recipes in order to see if I can top an already great turnout:
The GOOD...the BAD...and the RESULT.

The GOOD of why it's necessary to improuve a recipe:  I increased the amount of plain yogurt as well as the aged cheddar.  It turned out to be the right decision.
The BAD decision turned lesson: The first time I had cubed the maple syrup ham...and in this second effort, the ham got shredded. Conclusion...I'll stick with my first method of cubing the ham. The shredded ham did give it a lingering flavour, however, it got lost as if it was never there.
The RESULT: In order to perfect the trickiness when developing gluten-free recipes...a little patience and mostly tenacity is required.  To balance out the chickpea flour, I used a Gluten-free Arrowroot starch and a small amount of apple cider vinegar.

An entrepreneur from Venezuela and a bag of Chick pea flour.

Chick pea flour brings me way back to a vague business proposition that was offered to one of my family members.  He was always keenly attentive about the next big thing, especially in food.  Many years ago, there was a Venezuelan entrepreneur who had wanted to import refined chick pea flour to North America.  While he vented its' nutritional qualities and stating that it would become all the rage in pizza and bread making...the money wheels were subliminally turning.  If interest was to be had...a fast move had to be made to have a jump on this apparently huge market in need of this textured and aromatic flour.

Needless to say...as all great "too good to be true" business propositions...this one went to the grinder just as the chick peas were grounded into a fine flour.  Actually, it would have probably been a great business, however, in those days...cutting through the red tape between several governments along with many other obstacles pushed this business into the "forget about it" zone.  Alas, our family member let go of this 'Foodie' dream of flour importing riches and opened a 'laundro-mat' instead.  You gotta do what you gotta do...right?

Gluten free flours have slowly grown on me.
Like all relationships worthwhile getting to nurture...
these friendly flours have become my tummy buddies.

For today, I will place an emphasis on the star flour of this recipe.

CHICK PEA flour 
(a.k.a. Besan, Chana, Cici, Ceci, Garbanzo, Gram):
. This fiber rich bean is considered as a valued carbohydrate and holds a property high in protein as well.
. There are generally two types of Chick pea flour: Indian variety or the Italian paler colored variety named 'Ceci' flour.
. The flour is either derived from a slightly roasted chick pea or the usually plain, non-roasted dried chick pea. If a recipe doesn't mention which kind to use in its recipe; you can safely assume that the variety required is the non-roasted kind.
. This nutritional flour is also wonderful towards adding texture as well as balanced moisture in baked goods.
. Chick pea flours is used often to replace rice flour in baked goods as well as a tasty thickener to replace wheat flour.
. Storing in a cool place is best. In an airtight glass jar for up to 6 months in the refrigerator maintains its freshness. Just make sure to bring the flour back to room temperature before use.  If you wish to lengthen the life of the flour, freeze it.  Place flour it into an airtight sealed freezer bag and store it for up to a year.

I've used this particular flour on a few recipes with satisfactory results.
These savoury, moist muffins are by far my favourite to date.

Cheese Ham CHICKPEA yogurt MUFFIN
gluten-free *
makes 12 muffins

No electric mixer required

Click HERE for a PRINTER version of RECIPE

* Note:
Please feel free to opt out and use the flours you're most comfortable with.
The Gluten-free flours can be replaced by All-purpose and/or Whole Wheat flour...
HOWEVER, only for a total of 2 cups (290g) of All purpose flour. 

(American / Metric measures)

...Dry mix:
. 2 cups (255g) fine Chickpea flour (Indian variety)
. 1/2 cup (60g) Arrowroot starch (or Tapioca starch)
. 2 tsps. (10ml) baking powder (GF)
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking soda
. 1/8 cup (25g) organic sugar
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) sea salt
. 1/4 tsp. (1.25ml) granulated garlic powder
. 1/4 tsp. (1.25ml) each dried herb: basil, marjoram, tarragon
. 1 cup (175g) cooked ham, cubed small
. 1-1/2 cups (150g) aged cheddar cheese, shredded
...Wet mix: (use a medium size volume measuring cup)
. 1 cup (240ml) plain, thick yogurt (Greek style)
. 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil 
. 1/4 cup (60ml) e.v.Olive oil
. 2 xLarge eggs
. 1 tsp. (5ml) Worcestershire sauce
. 1 Tbsp. (15ml) Dijon mustard
. 1 Tbsp. (15ml) Apple cider vinegar

. sprinkle of Hungarian Paprika (optional)
. 12 cupcake paper liners
. vegetable oil spray

 Alternative ingredients:  I certainly would substitute with sun dried tomatoes as well as sliced black olives without hesitation.  Some fresh herbs such as basil or parsley would be a great complement also.

. Pre-heat the oven at 350F/180C/Gas 4.
. Position the rack: 2nd level from the bottom of the oven.
. Prepare a muffin pan with paper liners.  
Note: oil spray will be used only right before spooning in the batter.

...Dry mix:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together ALL the DRY ingredients except for both the ham and cheese.  Then, toss in the ham and cheese and coat before making a well in the center.  Set aside.
...Wet mix:  
2. In a medium size measuring cup or bowl, combine ALL the WET ingredients.  Blend until well combined. 
3. Add the WET into the DRY ingredients and combine with a strong spatula until there is no appearance of flour.   Do not over mix batter.  Let the batter rest 10 minutes.
4. Spray a very generous spot of oil into every paper liner.  Fill them evenly to the very top with the batter in order to achieve muffin caps.
5. BAKE them for about 28 minutes in a dark muffin pan or 30 minutes in a lighter tray. 
Note: When you take them out, do NOT wait longer than 5 minutes to extract them out of their cavities.  Yes, they will still be hot, but not unmanageable.  This will stop the muffin from over baking and will keep the liners from sticking too much to the muffin.   When ready to peel the cupcake paper liners, be patiently gentle.  

Storing and re-warming:
.  If not planning to eat the muffins within the next two days...it's best to freeze them with their paper liners up to 1 months time is fine.
. When re-warming the frozen muffins, keep the paper liners on.  Set the oven on low (250F/120C/Gas1) and slowly thaw and warm onto an oven tray for about 20 minutes.

Have you been experimenting with different flours lately?
If you have, did you succeed better at savoury or sweeter goodies?

With aspirations of turning most wheat-based goods into non-gluten baked delicacies...my experiments have slowly been paying off.

There’s still much more to accomplish.
Its been a pleasure to share my gluten-free journey with you today.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

More Gluten-Free baked recipes that may be of interest:
- CLEMENTINE CHOCO NUT flourless torte cake
- Citrus Chocolate Coconut Ginger Nut flourless torte cake
- FIG and NUT torte cake and Gluten Free
- NUTTY cookie CRISPS _Brutti ma Buoni {flourless}
- ORANGE spice ALMOND flourless torte cake