Perfecting the blueberry muffin is one thing, but perfecting a gluten-free blueberry muffin, well that can take years. Luckily you won’t have to wait that long, with a whole grain gluten-free flour blend and this recipe in hand, perfect gluten-free blueberry muffins are just an hour away.
In my book, the perfect muffin must have a tender and fluffy interior, a crunchy top, and blueberries dispersed perfectly throughout; the most important being the top, it better be golden brown with a little bit of texture to it. All of these qualities are definitely achievable with a basic muffin recipe that uses all-purpose flour, butter, and sugar. But making it gluten free changes the game for many reasons, the biggest being the lack of gluten, which is necessary for structure in baked goods (as is sugar).
To achieve the qualities of all-purpose flour in gluten-free baking often requires a blend of flours and starches. This is because no one gluten-free flour provides the right amount of protein, starch, or flavor. You’ll often find blends of white and brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, and some form of added protein, often dry milk powder. Making your own blend is definitely an option, but when you don’t feel like buying five different flours and starches for one batch of cookies or muffins a packaged flour blend is handy.
There are a few gluten-free flour blends on the market but there’s one in particular that I really enjoy working with which is Nu Life Market’s Always Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour. I like this flour blend because amongst the whole grain sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch, it adds xanthum gum (one more thing you don’t have to pick up from the store), which is incredibly beneficial in gluten-free baking. You’ll often find gluten-free baking recipes call for ¼ – ½ teaspoon of xanthum gum, which fills the role gluten would traditionally play in baking. It creates stickiness and elasticity in doughs while helping bind ingredients, hold onto moisture, and create structure in baked products. So, yes, it’s very important in gluten-free baking. As a general rule of thumb, it’s about ¼ teaspoon xanthum gum for every cup of flour used in gluten-free baking.
The other reason I really like this Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour from Nu Life Market is because it’s made primarily of whole grain sorghum flour. One can only eat so much rice—at least that’s how I feel. The blend is comprised of only four ingredients; whole grain sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, and xanthum gum—yes please!
As a company, Nu Life Market is incredibly devoted to their allergy-friendly products. For ease of mind with their consumers, they ensure their processing facility is free of any peanuts, soy, dairy, or gluten products. They’re still a fairly small production in the grand scheme of things and are currently building their presence in grocery stores nationwide, but luckily they offer some of their products online.
For these muffins I used their Always Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour and it takes a lot of the guess work out of gluten free baking. These muffins are fairly straight forward with a quick rest time that makes all the difference. Once the muffin batter is mixed up, just let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate. Any longer and the muffins will come out denser than desired, but this rest time is essential for alleviating the gritty texture commonly found in gluten-free baked goods, so it’s a must. I call for fresh blueberries here for a few reasons; frozen stains the batter which creates a purple muffin (not all bad, I just wanted a more classic look), they add quite a bit of liquid which can make the muffins gummy, and—well—fresh is always best (flavor, flavor, flavor).
2½ cups gluten free all-purpose flour blend, such as Nu Life Always Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (10 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
¾ cup sugar
½ cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
1½ cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon Turbinado sugar
Heat oven to 400° with rack set to upper middle position. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, set aside.
Whisk eggs and sugar together until frothy, about 30 seconds. Whisk together mascarpone, buttermilk, oil, zest, and almond extract until smooth; whisk into egg mixture.
Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold blueberries into the batter then let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Divide batter among greased muffin cups and sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar. Bake muffins until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 22–24 minutes. Let muffins cool in cups 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool 5–10 minutes more.
Letting the batter stand 30 minutes is important for hydrating the flour and creating structure. Any longer and the muffins will become too tough, any shorter and the muffins will taste “grainy” when cooled.
These muffins are most tender when eaten still slightly warm. Store leftovers in a resealable plastic bag for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, reheat in a 300° oven for 10 minutes. If you want to store them longer, individually wrap the muffins in plastic wrap followed by foil then place them in a resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to a month. Defrost at room temperature or in the microwave at half power for a couple of seconds, then reheat in a 300° oven for 15 minutes.
This post was created in partnership with Nu Life Market. All thoughts and opinions are my own.