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Luce's Gluten-Free Artisan Bread is closed as of December 31, 2018. Updated information follows.

An Update and a Treat

It's been a month since I broke the news that I was closing my business, yet my email in-box tells me you've neither lost your love of great bread nor your loyalty. I greatly appreciate your queries, and want to answer them with up-to-date information (and a sweet reward .... read on.)

As I mentioned in December, I've negotiated with an experienced provider who wants to make and distribute my mixes. We've recently come to a detailed agreement and have sent it off for legal review. It's my hope that this phase will conclude speedily with production to follow.

The new provider will use my exact techniques and recipes to make mixes, finished breads, and other savories. In addition, I'll work with them to develop new products and improve existing ones. As soon as they give the go-ahead, I'll post details, including links to sites. In the meantime, make and eat bread and pancakes from the mixes you've got, and check my website from time to time. Updates will appear there the same day I send email blasts.

The good news is, with so many gluten-free grains available, my work will never be done. Nor will the rewards of that work, as you'll see from the gluten-free cupcake recipe that follows.

The recipe uses an oft-neglected gluten-free flour, Amaranth, a bold, grassy-tasting seed from South America. To adapt Amaranth's unique flavor to North American tastes I've blended it with familiar ingredients - bananas and almond flour - and topped the results with a tart lemon buttercream.

The idea for Amaranth cupcakes grew out of a post-Christmas experience. My wife and I returned home after the holidays to discover that a half-dozen bananas left on the counter had chilled and darkened. Rather than throw them away, I skinned and froze them. Weeks later I was shopping and, gliding down the Peruvian aisle of my local international market, chanced upon Amaranth. The two flavors (Amaranth and Banana) clicked in my brain, and that afternoon, testing began.

Amaranth is readily available online and in cities with large Latin populations. The remaining ingredients, as well as the techniques, should be familiar to most home bakers. I hope you'll give these sweet and intensely fruity cupcakes a go. I think you'll find them very tasty. I also hope you'll continue checking my website, and if new information seems slow in appearing, email me with a "What's Up?"

Amaranth-Almond-Banana Cupcakes
with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 8 cupcakes (recipe may be doubled)

Ingredients:

1/2 stick (58 grams) unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup (50 grams) mashed banana (see note)
3/8 cup (75 grams) granulated sugar
3/8 cup well-packed (75 grams) light brown sugar
1 cup (132 grams) Amaranth flour
1/2 cup (44 grams) almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup whole-milk sour cream

For the frosting:
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter at room temperature.
1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, divided
2 TBLS fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind

Note: The best bananas for this recipe are over-ripe. These can be frozen. When thawed, frozen bananas "weep" a watery but flavor-filled liquid. This may be used in place of water in step 1, below.

Procedure:

1) Preheat oven to 375 F. Place 8 cupcake papers in a cupcake pan. Spritz lightly with cooking oil. Place the water and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a light boil over medium heat. When all butter is melted, remove from heat, add mashed banana, stir to blend and set aside.

2) In a large bowl, combine sugars, Amaranth flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.

3) In a small bowl, combine one yolk, the sour cream and the almond extract, and stir with a fork until smoothly blended.

4) In a medium bowl, whip the two egg whites until stiff peaks form. (Hint: This will be easier if you wipe the beaters and the inside of the bowl with lemon juice before beginning)

5) Add banana/butter mixture to dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until well-integrated. Add yolk/sour cream/almond extract and stir on medium speed until thoroughly blended. Gently fold in egg whites until no white streaks remain. Divide batter among the cupcake papers.

6) Bake 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached, on a middle rack, rotating baking pan after 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool 10 minutes before removing cupcakes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

7) Make frosting: In a medium bowl, cream sugar with hand-held mixer, or use a stand mixer with paddle attachment, until butter is pale and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the lemon juice and the lemon rind and beat until blended. Add remaining sugar and whip on high speed until frosting lis light and fluffy. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.

Enjoy!