This summer we picked blueberries as a family at a picturesque orchard that was perched up on top of the rolling Ohio hills about half an hour from our home. We had picked strawberries earlier in the season at this same orchard and loved its unpretentious charm.
We loaded up our trunk with the purple fruit anxious to go home and bake blueberry-peach cobbler and blueberry pancakes. We filled our freezer with the rest of the berries in anticipation of brightening the gray days that fall upon us in Ohio in Fall and Winter.
I admit that we haven’t truly felt the dreariness here yet, except for the week that Hurricane Sandy made her mark, of course. Nonetheless, I have raided my freezer twice now in one week to make these ridiculously yummy blueberry muffins, sans gluten, dairy, gums, and an option for refined sugar free. The second batch of a dozen, made by Hubby, literally disappeared from the counter almost before they were cool to the touch. The kids had been asking for them for days since the first time I made them.
When I first began baking gluten free, I felt obligated to utilize strictly “gluten free” recipes I found online and in the few cookbooks I purchased. I thought that was what I would have to do. I either used the proportions of gf flours and starches recommended in the recipes (if they were included) or I opted for a packaged flour blend off the supermarket shelves. While many of the creations were passable, I found that I sorely missed the recipes that had become part of my repertoire both in my home baking folders (yes, recipes are categorized and stored in binders and folders in my house and not in a tiny recipe box), and also ones that I had perfected after years of experimentation in my catering/bakery business. As I learned about the properties and nuances of each gluten free flour and starch, I began to combine them in different proportions, documenting the results. To further immerse myself in this new world, my husband and I attended the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo in Chicago for the last two years where we had the opportunity to meet the industry’s bloggers, cook book authors and vendors. I was on a quest to bring satisfaction and ease back into my kitchen. At the gluten free shows and in the gluten free blogasphere, information and ideas are shared and we seem to feed off of one another’s wisdom, taking the field of gluten free baking to a new level, seemingly every week. But I digress. After gaining enough knowledge of and confidence using these new ingredients, I experimented for several months trying my hand at making my own all purpose flour blend. The first renditions included xanthan gum, because it seemed a necessary evil. I have since eliminated it from my flour blend (many people have ill effects from gums) finding instead that citrus pectin provides a lovely binding quality in baked goods, much as it does when adding it to jams and jellies. I now have a flour blend with a balance of super finely milled flours and starches along with pectin that produces gluten free products so similar to their gluten-filled predecessors that I screech in delight with each new accomplishment. I urge you to try my recipe for my flour blend. It will make a significant difference in the products you create. It has been such a winner for me, that I feel confident using my “old” recipes again. I rarely need to change a thing except swapping out my blend for the all purpose flour called for in the recipe. So give it a try. You know you wish it was in your pantry right now…
- 2 cups The Culinary Artist's Gluten Free Flour or all purpose flour of your choice
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain or vanilla yogurt (I have used coconut and almond yogurt with success. I have also used all almond milk or coconut milk beverage when trying to eliminate the processed sugar from the recipe as most yogurt contains some sweetener)
- ¼ cup melted butter, coconut oil, or palm fruit shortening, cooled
- 1½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place paper liners in a regular sized 12 cup muffin pan. Alternatively, grease muffin pan to prevent sticking.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Whisk together the eggs, honey, vanilla and yogurt in a medium bowl. Stir in the cooled, melted oil.
- If blueberries are frozen (do not thaw), toss gently with 1-2 tablespoons of the blended flour mixture set aside from above. This will prevent them from streaking your batter purple. If berries are fresh, there is no need to toss them with flour.
- Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Gently stir in the blueberries until just combined.
- Using a #40 ice cream scoop portion the batter into the prepared muffin tin.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
- Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. This will prevent the muffins from steaming in the pans and causing the muffins to become soggy.