Sunday Funday: Blueberry Muffins!

This is an unplanned post.  I had already decided that today’s Sunday Funday was about Book Club; typed it up and posted it, but then I whipped up these beauties and just had to share them with you all.  So it’s a 2-for-1 day on The Blog.

The blueberries are so good right now; super sweet, nice sized, and nicely priced.  Last weekend I whipped up some mini blueberry tarts to go with a lemon sorbet my friend Dana made for Book Club.  I didn’t take any pictures, but I can assure you they tasted and paired perfectly with the tart lemony goodness of Dana’s sorbet.

So I grabbed two more pints while I was at the grocery store on Friday, and when I opened up the fridge this morning, I decided to make some muffins, gluten-free and dairy-free of course so my hubby can enjoy them.

Some things I’ve discovered about gluten-free and dairy-free baking:
1.  A mixture of flours works best.  Most all purpose gluten-free blends are a mixture of the various types of flours, plus some xanthan gum which is good enough.  Depending on what I’m making, I like to mix it up even more.  For these, I added some coconut flour because it has a unique, sweet flavor that lends nicely to baked goods.
2.  Plain unsweetened coconut milk yogurt alternative is an excellent alternative for buttermilk or sour cream.  I use SoDelicious; in fact it has become a staple in my fridge.
3.  Mix it well.  Gluten-free batters and doughs do not get tough from over-mixing like traditional ones made with wheat flour, because there is no gluten, and gluten is the stuff that can get tough if worked too much.  In fact, I have found that mixing more is better – it helps reduce the graininess that comes with some of the gluten-free flours.
4.  Let it rest.  I always let my gluten-free batters and doughs rest about 20 minutes before baking.  I think it helps reduce the graininess because the dry ingredients have more time to absorb the liquid.  This is not a scientifically proven theory, it’s just something I discovered by accident one time.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Sauce:
1 pint fresh blueberries, washed and stems removed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Place blueberries in a sauce pan.  Pour the sugar over them, and sprinkle with starch.  Stir in the water, making sure all of the starch and sugar dissolves; you don’t want any gooey globs of starch in there.  Bring to a boil, stirring to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn, then reduce to a low simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce begins to thicken and blueberries are cooked through and soft (about 3-5 minutes).  Remove from heat, transfer to a clean bowl.  Stir in the vanilla and lemon juice and set aside to cool.

1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour blend (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1-to1 Baking Flour)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 brown rice flour
1/4 tapioca flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dairy-free coconut milk yogurt (two 5.3 ounce containers)
1/4 almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and stems removed

In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the vinegar to the almond milk and let sit for a few minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, and salt together.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk the almond milk mixture into the yogurt; whisk in the egg and oil then add the sugar and mix thoroughly.  Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and mix with an electric mixture for 30 seconds until all the flour is incorporated.  Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula, and mix again on high for 3 minutes.  Stir in the vanilla and lemon juice and let the batter rest for 20 minutes.

img_0042-2Prepare a regular size muffin pan with non-stick spray and pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Gently fold 1 cup of fresh blueberries into the batter, then using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin cup about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.  *You may have some batter left over; I usually have enough to fill a 12-cup muffin pan, plus make 4 more muffins.  Make a small well or indentation in the top of each muffin cup of batter, then using a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon, add a spoonful of the blueberry sauce you prepared earlier to the top of each muffin.  Bake for about 18 minutes at 375 degrees.

*Note:  you will have about a cup of the blueberry sauce left over, and this is a GOOD thing.  Put img_0046-2it on your oatmeal, spoon it over ice cream, smear it on toast, or just eat it out of the bowl.  It will keep in an airtight container in your fridge for about a week.

Let the muffins rest in the pan for about 3 minutes or so, then gently remove with a fork to a cooling rack.  These are best enjoyed immediately, however if you have leftovers, keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Ziggy loves blueberry muffins.  Actually, there’s not much that he doesn’t love!


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