Sometimes the weekend comes (especially Sunday mornings!) and you just want a little something special. Something sweet and baked and satisfying — something that makes you feel like a kid again. Blueberry muffins can do that for me — well, GOOD blueberry muffins can.
Muffin Morning Memories
Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. Though we had a mom who cooked and baked, making blueberry muffins from scratch would have been a luxury we could not afford (the price of the ingredients being much more than my mom could justify for one little breakfast treat.) So blueberry muffins in our household meant a Jiffy mix.
For the uninitiated, Jiffy is a company that’s been making quick, cheap mixes for the American household since 1930. Back when I was a kid, my mom could whip up a Sunday treat to feed three growing kids (and Dad too) that we would love (and get full on– we’d eat a couple of these tiny muffins) for about $0.25 a box. Even though these mixes are cheap (they’re $1 today), now that I’m older, I know why — it’s because they’re full of artificial flavors, dyes and hydrogenated oils.
Heck — they don’t even have real blueberries in them (the package reads “imitation blueberries” and uses a purplish powder pellet concoction to stand-in for blueberries.) When I was a kid, I thought these muffins were the bomb. I also thought that the blueberry skins disintegrated when you baked them and left only the sweet, gooey, berry-like residue dotting your muffin. (There’s no accounting for the things a kid thinks. )
Regardless of my food standards then, what my mom gave us with those muffins was something special. The warm feeling of something different, something that set our weekend apart from the ordinary school day and the message that she cared enough to do a little something extra to make it special for us. This is why a GOOD blueberry muffin brings me comfort and can sometimes make my weekend feel just a wee bit more decadent.
Blueberry Muffin Redux
As my loyal readers know, I’m a long way from a Jiffy mix these days and practicing (I say practicing because I have not yet perfected it) a gluten-free lifestyle, so blueberry muffins are not a luxury I get often. When the craving hit me, I went from excited to completely deflated pretty quickly. I have perfected a number of gluten-free recipes that I like as well or BETTER than their wheat-laden counterparts but had thus far been unsuccessful in the scratch form of a vanilla cake or muffin batter.
Gluten-Free Confession: I don’t care for most gluten-free flours or MOST gluten-free (GF) recipes. I don’t like the grittiness, the aftertaste, the variety of smells or slightly off textures that the majority of these products carry. This has resulted in my total abandonment of many carb-y foods until or unless I find the solution (read right recipes) I can deal with. Bob’s Red Mill seems to make the best of the bunch when it comes to gluten-free products and mixes — their vanilla cake is the best on the market. These muffins employ Bob’s GF All Purpose Flour and use my favorite, show-stopping, moisture-making grain — Quinoa!
When I headed to Whole Foods (who carries a huge selection of Bob’s Red Mill products) for this week’s ingredients, I opted for their private label 365 Everyday Value frozen organic blueberries instead of fresh, in an effort to keep the coloring of the muffin batter to a minimum, you can use fresh or frozen (just do NOT defrost the frozen berries first or else your muffins will be purpley grey.) If you do use frozen, first toss your berries in some of the GF flour before folding them into the batter — this will keep them from sinking to the bottom.
Moist and Fluffy REAL Blueberry Muffins (Gluten-Free)
These are not hearty muffins, I am not a hearty muffin fan — the kind that can double as a super-healthy hockey puck are NOT for me. I like soft, fluffy and especially moist muffins surrounding juicy blueberries with just a hint of vanilla (you could use citrus too but I prefer vanilla.) You know, not a cupcake but just a few ticks away from cupcakedom is fine with me. The other great thing about these — they’re super easy to make compared with most gluten-free recipes because I use an all-purpose GF flour blend from Bob’s Red Mill. No Xantham gum necessary!
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/3 cup soymilk
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup frozen organic wild blueberries (from Whole Foods 365 line — great prices for frozen organic berries)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the cups of two 1 dozen non-stick cupcake pans (no flour) or use cupcake wrappers.
Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Add cooled, cooked quinoa and blend until smooth. Add the melted coconut oil and butter, blending until smooth (it will thicken as it blends.)
In the meantime, mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in your mixer bowl. Add the contents of the blender and mix well. Carefully fold in the frozen blueberries. Scoop the batter with an ice cream scoop into the cupcake pans and bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until the muffin bounces back when lightly pressed.
Remove from the oven and cool to lightly warm (at least) in the pan before serving.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.
Makes 24 cupcakes
Calories Per Serving: 139, Sugars: 7.3g, Protein 2.6g
Disclaimer: Whole Foods ingredients were provided free of charge in order to facilitate these recipes. No monetary compensation was received for my opinions — they are as always truthfully, my own.