Blueberry muffins are a favorite and, while I have a “go-to” recipe for blueberry muffins that calls for regular gluten flour, I did not have one that was gluten-free. So, I set about developing one of my own and this is the result. My aim was to create a bistro, or deli-style, muffin and I am pleased with the end result.
I have discovered several things about gluten-free muffin making. First, some gluten-free flours have a “grainy”, or an almost “gritty”, texture to them and this will come through in the baked item. Some flours can result in, what I would describe as, gummy texture products. Hence, not all gluten-free flours yield good textured muffins. And, in my view, some gluten-free flours just don’t have a pleasing taste. Second, I find gluten-free flours seem to react differently than gluten flours to leavening. And, third, it often takes more ingredients and flavor boosters to end up with a tasty muffin that, as closely as possible, replicates a regular muffin. The remedies? It often takes a combination of more than one gluten-free flour to arrive at a satisfactory result. I add more leavening to my gluten-free muffins than I would usually add to gluten muffins to get that lovely gentle dome shape on the top that is so desired in muffin making. I bump up the spices and other flavorings (e.g., orange juice, maple syrup, orange rind, and applesauce) to get deep appetizing flavor.
My favorite gluten-free flours to use in muffins are a combination of coconut flour, almond flour, and gluten-free oat flour. I use these in combination with gluten-free all-purpose flour. I find that, if I use just the gluten-free all-purpose flour for the recipe’s entire flour content, the muffins often lack sufficient structure, flavor, and I sometimes detect a grainy/gritty texture. Adding a combination of other flours with different textures tends to solve this problem for me. The coconut and almond flours add beautiful flavor to baked foods. The addition of some potato starch and zanthan gum also helps with structure and crumb texture. With the availability of bulk food stores, it is easy and convenient to purchase just the amounts of specialty flours and starches called for in recipes rather than having to buy large, expensive bags of them. It’s also a better way to ensure fresher product.
My gluten-free blueberry muffin recipe calls for either eggnog, almond milk, or whole milk. I have tested this recipe with all three products and had equally good results but must say that the eggnog makes the richest muffins with the most pleasing and complex flavor. However, to make the muffins dairy-free, by all means, use almond milk – it works very well. The recipe calls for maple syrup and plain works fine. I had some lavender and chai infused maple syrup on hand and, since the lavender plays well with blueberries, it added a layer of pleasing flavor complexity. Some recipes just do require a layering of flavors and, sometimes, one might think that such a small amount of an ingredient called for could be left out of the recipe with no notice; however, I believe all called-for ingredients in a recipe contribute to the end result, even if they are just playing small supporting roles and are not the main star of the recipe.
This recipe for blueberry muffins makes one dozen muffins and the muffin cup size should be one-half cup capacity. I like to use my square muffin tins for many muffin recipes. Apart from simply liking the shape, the square muffins are easy to wrap, store, and freeze. Several times a year, I go on a muffin-making frolic, making different kinds of muffins for the freezer. I will bag up different varieties and freeze them so they are quick and easy to pull out for weekday coffeebreaks at work. If a muffin does not freeze well, it will not get added to my repertoire of batch-making muffins. These blueberry muffins freeze very well.
To get the desired dome-shaped muffin, the muffins need to start out in a relatively high oven temperature – i.e., 450F. Using the high temperature to begin the baking process allows the outside of the muffin to quickly set while still allowing the inside to continue to rise. This also gives that nice soft muffin top. As soon as I place the muffins in the oven, I drop the temperature back to 400F.
The texture of a good muffin should have a loose, coarse interior crumb, like those shown in the photograph above. Do not overmix muffin batter as this will cause the muffins to be tough, rubbery, and somewhat heavy. Stir only until the dry ingredients are just barely incorporated. In fact, in muffins in which I am adding fruit (which gets added last, using the “folding” technique), I don’t completely incorporate all the dry ingredients to the wet because, when the fruit is folded in, the dry ingredients will get further incorporated then. The batter should be lumpy, not smooth.
Muffins will quickly dry out if they are overbaked. I have found, in my oven, that about 20 minutes bakes these muffins perfectly but, as every oven is a bit different, I suggest checking the muffins at about the 16-17 minute mark and, just as soon as they spring back to a light finger touch, insert a cake tester or toothpick into the center of a muffin – if it comes out clean, the muffins are done. Let the baked muffins rest in the baking tin for 5-7 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]
The Bistro’s Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup almond flour
¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
2 tbsp potato starch
1½ tsp zanthan gum
¼ cup gluten-free large flake rolled oats
5½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
1½ tbsp ground flax seed
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tbsp finely grated orange rind
2 large eggs (room temperature), lightly beaten
2/3 cup eggnog, almond milk, or whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup orange juice
1½ tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup, plain or flavor-infused (e.g., lavender and chai)
1/3 cup applesauce
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Use muffin tins with cups that have ½-cup holding capacity. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying each muffin cup with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tin is also well greased.
In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and grated orange rind by whisking very well. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and set aside.
In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, whisk together the lightly beaten eggs, eggnog (or almond or whole milk), oil, orange juice, vanilla, maple syrup, and applesauce.
Pour wet ingredients into well in the dry ingredients. Combine just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling almost to the muffin cup rim. Let batter sit for 5 minutes before baking.
Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400°F. Bake 18-20 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Let muffins rest in muffin cups for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: Apx. 12 muffins
These flavor-packed deli-style gluten-free blueberry muffins are light and moist with a tender crumb.Hard to believe they are gluten free!
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- ¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
- 2 tbsp potato starch
- 1½ tsp zanthan gum
- ¼ cup gluten-free large flake rolled oats
- 5½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp allspice
- 1½ tbsp ground flax seed
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tbsp finely grated orange rind
- 2 large eggs (room temperature), lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup eggnog, almond milk, or whole milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1½ tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp maple syrup, plain or flavor-infused (e.g., lavender and chai)
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Use muffin tins with cups that have ½-cup holding capacity. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying each muffin cup with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tin is also well greased.
- In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and grated orange rind by whisking very well. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and set aside.
- In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, whisk together the lightly beaten eggs, eggnog (or almond or whole milk), oil, orange juice, vanilla, maple syrup, and applesauce.
- Pour wet ingredients into well in the dry ingredients. Combine just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling almost to the muffin cup rim. Let batter sit for 5 minutes before baking.
- Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400°F. Bake 18-20 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Let muffins rest in muffin cups for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Please be sure to read the entire blog posting that accompanies this recipe as it contains several tips and hints on making gluten-free muffins.
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