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.
Have you tried gluten-free oat flour? I’ve had a lot of success with it in place of all other flours for things like pancakes, bars, and muffins. It is soft and fluffy and cheap (compared to GF alternatives).
I have tried it and I find oat flour to be a good substitute in certain applications. When I do use it, I have a tendency to make my own from certified gluten-free oats (not all oats or oat flour is gluten-free though, due to the ways in which they are harvested, stored and processed.) But most of the time now, I’m trying to keep my overall carbohydrate levels down (oats don’t help me in that arena.) Quinoa on the other hand is categorized as a Super-food AND it’s also a green — not a grain. So, it’s nutritionally dense and has a great deal of protein (it’s considered a complete protein.) I also find that it makes the most amazingly moist and fluffy cakes and muffins, employing little to no flour of any kind. (My Best Chocolate Cupcakes EVER!! use NO FLOUR at all and they are exactly as their name describes — wheat eaters love ’em too!) You could make these muffins using oat flour though, if you liked, with wonderful results, I’m sure.
“Oats can easily be contaminated with wheat during harvest, storage, or other stages of processing, it has been stressed that the oats be certified as pure. Although the classic 33-amino acid long oligopeptide that acts as the immunogenic stimulus in gliadin had not yet been found in oats, other peptides isolated from oats do activate T-cells isolated from celiac patients. A new study performed in Spain by Isabel Comino et al. suggests that it is not that some celiac patients can’t tolerate all oats, but rather that all celiac patients can’t tolerate some oats. Their results are reported in the January 2011 issue of GUT: An International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.” From “Should Celiacs Eat Oats: Depends on the Oat”
Hi. Just made and tried your muffins and they are fabulous. I substituted xylitol for sugar. Excellent recipe. Thank you. D
So glad you liked them! Share with your friends. 😉
Hi! Just had too many blueberries around so i googled this recipe and they are succulent!
Thanks so much for the great feedback! Glad you enjoyed them. 🙂
These taste great! I sort of ate about 4 trying to decide if I liked them 🙂 Warning, they do not rise high but are light inside. I doubled the blueberries which was probably too many. THAT must have been why I had to eat 4 in a row…
Yeah, anything baked with mostly quinoa doesn’t rise particularly high (though you could add more leavening if you’d like them a bit higher — but they are super moist and delish!)
For calorie sake, is there a way to sub out the butter in this? Sugar substitute that you have tried?
Kristina — I’m sorry but I can’t give you a great answer on this. You’ll have to experiment with your favorite substitutes. I use coconut oil on the regular (and grass fed butter) because I am unconcerned with fat, as long as it’s “good fats.” I prefer to use these fats as they are better for the body (though they are higher calorically.) Hydrogenated fats (like those in margarine) are not something I would eat/use because of the overly processed nature (lower fat but higher health impact on the body) and I avoid all vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, etc. for similar reasons. You could try subbing applesauce or some other mashed fruit (banana) to replace the oil (and some of the sugar) just watch your liquid to dry ratios. It’s a pretty forgiving recipe as long as you keep those things in mind.
I’m so thankful, I found this recipe, this muffins delish!!! I’m trying to do some GF recipes for my son, who’s a very picky eater.. If I reduce the amount of quinoa, will affect the recipe somehow? Can I ad other ingredients like pumpking,banana to the recipe instead of blueberries? this came out really good, so I would like to try others ingredients.. Thanks a lot!! 🙂
The recipe is pretty flexible, you can reduce the amount of quinoa (just make sure you increase the amount of dry ingredients — GF flour — proportionally.) Remember that the quinoa is what gives these muffins their moist, non gritty texture, so the more dry ingredients you add, the more chance you have for flavor and texture shifts. For example, using Bob’s GF flour blend and less quinoa will result in a lightly beany flavor (because their flour is largely garbanzo bean based) whereas using King Arthur’s GF blend may yield grittier results (there’s is mostly potato and rice.) You can substitute other chunks of fruit like raspberries or peaches for blueberries easily, with no changes to the rest of the recipe but adding other things that are more liquid like, like pumpkin or banana, demands a shift in the recipe. Remember these act as additional wet ingredients in the mixture, which means you should reduce or omit other liquids, such as milk, in order to maintain the muffin’s balance and therefore, it’s structural integrity. But honestly, if you keep wet ingredients and dry ingredients, straight and separate in your head, you can swap them out one to one for other wet or dry ingredients and have stellar results. I use this muffin recipe as a base for nearly every muffin I do. (And I have been known to make a pumpkin cream cheese muffin with candied pepitas in the fall. If I can find my notes on that one, maybe I’ll post the recipe next fall.)
This is by far the best gluten free recipe I’ve found. I didn’t know what to think at first because of the quinoa but let me tell you…..delicious!!! thank you i tried other recpies and they came out so gritty. ok i have to make another batch and hide them i also added dark chocolate
Thanks so much for the kind and generous feedback Nina! This is why I LOVE quinoa in baked goods (especially cakes and cupcakes — it keep them moist and NOT gritty!) If you like these, look for my BEST Chocolate cupcake recipe ever — it’s even better than this one! If you make it, let me know what you think. Enjoy!