A friend introduced me to Frances Shaw via email after sampling her gluten free muffins at a local event. I met Frances a week later and she was sweet enough to bring me a lovely package choc-a-full of muffins! The muffins come in six flavors – chocolate chip, banana, lemon zest, blueberry, zucchini and banana (vegan). I sampled the vegan banana muffin and gave away the others to friends who volunteered to act as tasters. I was amused to see how seriously they took the task… 🙂 Here are the snippets from the conversation.
“Zesty without being tart, crumbly texture, mildly flavored and that is good!”
“Dense but not heavy… it feels kinda compacted. There isn’t much blueberry in here!”
“Little bits of zucchini in here. Mildly sweet, I like! Coconut has a toasted flavor and adds to the crunch/crispness.”
“Less gritty than the chocolate chip one, nice flavor, not overly zucchini-y, 4 on 5.”
“The texture is a little mealy. Is there apple sauce in there? This is not a chocolate chip muffin from heaven. Would I buy it? Probably not. But it tastes good. It has a mild sweetness that I like. I am not a fan of the chocolate-coconut combination but this was good.”
P and I sampled the vegan banana muffin. Soft and crumbly, mildly sweet and coconut-y, light and airy… I liked the toasted coconut flavor that blended excellently with the sweet banana.
Here’s Fran’s story.
“In 2009, due to my own new dietary restrictions, I began baking gluten, dairy and soy free. I had to get creative in the kitchen and began experimenting with different types of flours and milks. One night I came up with the zucchini muffin recipe using my favorite ingredients, which became a huge success with my family and friends – including those with and without food allergies! Wanting to share the experience of enjoying delicious baked goods with others who have food allergies and sensitivities inspired me to begin Frannie’s Gluten Free. We’ve taken the time to not just ensure that our products are gluten free, but healthy in other ways as well. All of our muffins are made from organic fruits and vegetables, as well as using organic eggs that have been raised free of hormones and antibiotics. From there, I went on to develop our other delicious recipes, including our vegan version of the banana muffin, so that there is a variety of flavors for everyone to enjoy.
My favorite kind of muffin varies on the time of day. Zucchini is the perfect morning muffin and chocolate chip is a delicious dessert. I love running and my current favorite after-run snack is a lemon zest muffin. It is so light and refreshing, and the organic coconut and lemon have a very tropical and rewarding taste.
The next step for Frannie’s Gluten Free is continuing to reach out to the gluten free community. I created the muffins’ recipes from medical necessity, so reaching families and children with food allergies is incredibly rewarding. As a company, we are extremely involved in the community. You can find a Frannie’s Gluten Free tent at many local races as well as at food and health events such as Farm RX and the FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) Fair.
For those with a celiac or a gluten sensitivity… if you are sharing your kitchen with products and flours that do contain gluten, be sure to thoroughly clean your workspace and baking equipment to avoid cross contamination. This is also something to keep in mind when dining out. Be sure to ask about the preparation of any gluten free items. Just because a dish on the menu claims to be gluten free does not mean that it has not been cooked with some of the same items used for dishes that contain gluten. Depending upon your level of sensitivity, this can still affect how you feel after your meal. My main tip for other gluten free bakers is to continue experimenting with new ingredients and to enjoy the challenge. You never know when you’re going to come up with a wonderful surprise!”