Caregiving from my kitchen

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins, hearty with buckwheat flour, are a wonderful way to welcome the first chilly weather!

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins, hearty with buckwheat flour, are a wonderful way to welcome the first chilly weather!

Two years ago, when I was very new to gluten free baking, I posted a recipe for Apple Cinnamon Muffins. I said in that post that I would use muffins to learn about the properties of various gluten free flours and how to use them, and that I was sure my baking would improve.

Looking back, both statements have come true – though honestly, that wasn’t a bad muffin… This one is better, though, with a very slight tweak because of my new knowledge, which I will now share with you.

First, I don’t care what everyone else uses, I don’t like rice flour in muffins. Even the finest can be gritty at the crisp edges – and sometimes even in the crumb. I think we use it so universally because it used to be the only game in town. I have read things from thirty or more years ago saying that it was the only grain someone with celiac disease could eat, and we now know that’s not true. For a long time, though, it was the only one most people could reliably get their hands on. We have options, now, though. (The jury is still out, for me, about rice flour in bread… the hydration makes a major difference. I really need to get back to the bread experiments I was doing a year ago.)

I reach first for millet flour. It behaves, and tastes,  more like regular white AP wheat flour than any other I’ve found. I can usually get it without too much trouble, and it’s one of the least expensive gluten free flours, which matters, for me… It’s also a whole grain, though you’d hardly notice from the flavor. (I do notice, though, when it satisfies me the way whole grain does… White bread always left me missing something.)

Even millet flour can’t be substituted straight for wheat flour… and I don’t  like the very bland taste. I find sorghum flour balances it well. Better taste, good texture… You can actually use all millet or all sorghum – I’ve done it in a pinch – but it never seems quite right to me, somehow.

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins, hearty with buckwheat flour, are a wonderful way to welcome the first chilly weather!

Now the key lesson of the last two years… something to replace the stickiness of gluten. In quick breads you don’t need the structure you do in yeasted bread, so you do not need xanthan (or other) gum or psyllium. Still, something needs to hold it together enough to rise, and give a nice smooth crumb – I’ve eaten some very crumbly gluten free products. This is one of the several reasons that people are convinced that they need lots of added starch (another is to combat the grittiness of rice flour, but if I don’t use rice flour…) But then baked goods with the starch first are mushy, and then stale quickly – all caused by the added starch. I found early that masa harina helped with texture, and it has given me fine cornbread, but it never worked quite as well in other baked goods. (Still better than without it, but…)

Then I found buckwheat. First, making traditional buckwheat pancakes, I noticed that the batter was viscous – I’m onto something… but when I tried an all buckwheat muffin it was heavy. In small amounts, though? I’ve done a lot – you’ll see it all eventually – with small amounts of white, raw buckwheat flour, as in the Strawberry Muffins last spring (and the same batter used all summer, for other berries and stone fruit!) And you can absolutely use that mixture in this recipe – the apple and spice will sing out against the mild muffin.

But the season has changed, and I want something heartier, more assertive, with the cool weather. Time to play again with traditional toasted buckwheat flour, and make hearty apple spice muffins!

Directions

The technique hasn’t changed at all in two years. Preheat the oven. Grease a six cup muffin tin. Mix the wet ingredients – egg, milk, oil – in a mixing bowl. (I did not use vanilla in this – it didn’t hit the right flavor note for me. Maple flavoring might – I didn’t have any on hand. Clearly must get some!)

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins, hearty with buckwheat flour, are a wonderful way to welcome the first chilly weather!

Weigh the flours into a small bowl. Two parts millet flour, two parts sorghum flour, one part buckwheat, by weight. Then the spice blend.  Why yes, these muffins are the reason I needed an Apple Pie Spice Blend...  if you haven’t mixed that up, you can just use cinnamon, but this is better, I think. A pinch of salt, and baking powder. (You may note that I use less than I did two years ago. I can, because of the buckwheat.) And if you are new to Inhabited Kitchen, no, I don’t add sugar. A reader asked if I’d forgotten to mention it, and I realized I should let you know. The apple provides enough sweetness for me.

Then peel and chop an apple, waiting until now so it doesn’t brown. (Which I forgot – you can see the apple in the picture… Oops. No big deal.) Toss it in the flour mixture to keep the pieces from sticking together. (I recently read an article sternly telling us that was silly, the technique doesn’t keep fruit from sinking to the bottom. Well, I never thought it did… a thick enough batter does.)

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins, hearty with buckwheat flour, are a wonderful way to welcome the first chilly weather!

Now stir the dry flour/apple mixture into the liquid, and mix well. You’ll notice that it makes a surprisingly sticky, thick batter – almost shaggy. Don’t add more liquid, though you may want to, that just makes the muffins soggy. Fill the muffin tin, and bake at 425° for 25 minutes, or until done. (Do you know how to test that? Stick a table knife into a muffin – if it comes out moist, give them a few more minutes, if it comes clean, they’re done.) Let them rest a few minutes when they come out of the oven before trying to remove from the pan – they’re less apt to stick or fall apart.

You see how craggy they look! They’re heavier than the ones I’ve eaten all summer, and feel moist and rich. The flavor is assertive – you do taste the apple and spice, of course, but the buckwheat is as strong. I’ve eaten them as breakfast, so far, but I think they’ll be wonderful all winter with lentil soup, for instance, or baked beans. (I might skip the spice, in some cases.)

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins, hearty with buckwheat flour, are a wonderful way to welcome the first chilly weather!

Yields 6 muffins

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins, hearty with buckwheat flour, are a wonderful way to welcome the first chilly weather!

10 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • Butter or oil for muffin tin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 T neutral flavored oil
  • 80 g millet flour
  • 80 g sorghum flour
  • 40 g traditional (toasted) buckwheat flour
  • 2 T Apple Pie Spice Blend
  • 1 t baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 apple

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Grease a six cup muffin tin.
  2. Beat the egg, milk, and oil in a mixing bowl, and set aside.
  3. Measure the three flours, the spice blend, baking powder and salt into a small bowl, and mix well.
  4. Peel and chop and apple, toss the pieces in the flour mixture to coat.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and mix well, Pour into the greased muffin tin, and bake at 425 for 25 minutes, or until done.
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https://www.inhabitedkitchen.com/apple-spice-muffins/

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins, hearty with buckwheat flour, are a wonderful way to welcome the first chilly weather!

 

Gluten Free Apple Spice Muffins, hearty with buckwheat flour, are a wonderful way to welcome the first chilly weather!



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