Grain-free, (Added) Sugar-Free Almond Blueberry Muffins
Last week, I embarked on a baking project to come up with a yummy grain-less muffin. I’m not crazy about baking, but the cost of specialized baked goods forced my hand to pick up the whisk. Figuratively speaking anyway. I used a processor for this, which means it was totally easy to make. 😀
If you’ve been here before, you know that I wasn’t blessed with the strongest (digestive) constitution. Dairy is a no-go. Neither is gluten. When I get a craving, I can’t just run to the bakery around the corner. So when I found a restaurant that specialized in gluten and grain-free baked goods, I was ecstatic. But the prices? Not so much. $4-5 for a tiny muffin or a brownie square. I admit I indulged in their goodies for a few months despite the ridiculous prices, because I’ve been so busy. But when I had some downtime last week, I decided to come up with a recipe (and save some $$ along the way).
I usually bake with brown rice flour, but I decided to try almond flour for the muffins. Let me tell you, almond “flour” doesn’t act like flour. It doesn’t absorb nearly as much moisture as regular flour, and it doesn’t rise the same way as flour. If you add even a little too much liquid, the outside will look beautiful (yay!) but the inside will still be wet (ugh). If you add even a little too much baking soda/powder, it rises (yay!) then it falls (plop, ugh). Needless to say, I had some mishaps. But we had fun eating through our mishaps. The texture was funky, but the flavor was great.
If you look at the recipe below, you’ll see that it makes 7-8 muffins. Weird number right? Well, I started out wanting to make 6 muffins. But I soon realized that filling up the cups to capacity made the muffins too crumbly (not easy to eat!). AND it took too long to bake. So I decided to make smaller muffins. They were pretty awesome.
If you are doing a cleanse or a detox, these muffins would be perfect! These are not only grain-free and dairy-free, it’s egg-free and has no added sugar except for the dried dates that were added for sweetness. But if you don’t mind a little bit of added sugar, dark chocolate chips can be substituted – in part, or whole – for the blueberries. Either way, they are so good!
Guilt-free, Grain-Free Blueberry Muffins Recipe
Makes 7-8 muffins
1 1/4 cup almond flour (used Bob’s Red Mill)
8-9 dried dates (used Deglet Noor)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 TB coconut butter/oil or applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 TB + 2 tsp finely-ground flax seeds
1/4 cup almond milk
1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup (generous) blueberries
sliced almonds for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with muffin cups.
- Beat together ground flax seeds and almond milk using a fork until well combined. Set it aside until a egg-like consistency is reached.
- Stir together the dry ingredients: almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Set it aside.
- Loosely chop the dates. Add the chopped dates, coconut butter, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and flax seed mixture from step one to a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the lemon zest. Then add dry ingredients to the processor in 2 – 3 batches. Pulse until the mixture comes together. Gently stir in the blueberries. Scoop out the mixture into the muffin cups. Don’t overfill the cups; fill only about 1/2. Sprinkle with sliced almonds if using. Tap the muffin tin on the aside to flatten out the batter and to get rid of air bubbles.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until the outside is golden brown and the inside is no longer wet. Cool the muffins for about 10 minutes in the tin. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
The final batter will look almost too thick to be a muffin batter. That’s OK. If it looked like a regular muffin batter, the inside will be wet and inedible. The batter should look like a fluffy, whipped cookie batter. It, however, will be a whole lot softer and airier than a cookie batter.
I don’t know if you’ve done a lot of gluten-free baking, but there isn’t too much uniformity when it comes to GF flours. Some brands grind their flour finer than others and absorb more liquid. This lack of uniformity is pretty pronounced in almond flour. So the amount of liquid required may vary a tiny bit depending on the brand of flour used.
I used Bob’s Red Mill. Their almond “flour” was pretty coarse. That’s one of the reasons for using a processor for this recipe – to break down the “flour” a little further. Don’t overdo it tho. It will turn into almond butter!