Thursday, April 8, 2010

I have been experimenting with chia seeds over the past few weeks. As I wrote earlier, I tried them with good success in the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe from our upcoming Welcoming Kitchen book.

I tried them in cake and muffins, too. I would say that the results in a softer-textured treat are a little more mixed, in my opinion. Making the chia gel (instructions to follow) definitely worked as a great egg replacer -- giving good lift and binding to both. The seeds didn't completely dissolve, though, so the finished product had a little bit of crunch that I didn't love. My boys, though, didn't seem to mind.

On the plus side, it's nice to know that you can add a little more fiber, protein and nutrients to your baked goods than you can with applesauce or powdered egg replacer.

I am also experimenting with using the chia gel as part of breaded vegetables. My first attempt was kind of gross, so I'm going to keep working on that before I give a final verdict.

Here's a recipe for Spicy Pumpkin Muffins from our book, The Everything Guide to Cooking for Children with Autism with chia seeds and water taking the place of the applesauce/baking powder mixture. Although the title of this book indicates that it's for kids with autism, it's really a gluten-free and casein-free cookbook, so good for anyone who needs GF/CF recipes. You can click on the picture of the cover on the side of the blog if you're interested in ordering it.

Chia Seeds as Egg Replacer in Gluten-free Pumpkin Muffins

Spicy Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins


2 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons chia seeds
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla
1 (15-ounce) can solid-packed pumpkin
1/2 cup dried cherries


1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Oil a standard muffin pan.
3.  In a small bowl, combine chia seeds and water.  Let sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
5.  In a large bowl, combine oil, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin and chia seed mixture.
6.  Mix dry ingredients into wet, one half at a time.
7.  Stir dried cherries into batter.
8.  Spoon batter into oiled muffin pan.
9.  Bake 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Note:  These muffins will taste best if served warm.  Toast for a couple of minutes.  They taste pretty great with Earth Balance or jam!

Happy Cooking!
Kim and Megan 

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes

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  1. Those look great! I love working with the chia seeds too, to bad they are so pricey. Grinding them in a spice grinder works well when you don't want the added crunch.

  2. I will definitely try that next time. Thanks for the tip, Alisa!

  3. I love chia seed. The super food of the town.

    @Alisa, Chia seed is not pricey. Last week,we bought chia seeds for as low as 3.825 per pound.