In the heart of Edinburgh, there’s a charming tea room nestled amidst the cobbled streets, known for its exquisite array of pastries. Among their offerings, a particular gem caught my attention – a robust chocolate chip muffin with a delightfully crusty crown, striking a perfect balance of sweetness. Its allure was undeniable.
Motivated by the desire to extend this culinary joy to our extended circle of family and friends, a diverse group with varying dietary needs, I embarked on a mission to recreate these muffins in the comforts of our own kitchen. The challenge was clear – to craft them with the same level of indulgence, while ensuring they were both gluten-free and dairy-free. This way, everyone could partake in the delight, regardless of their food sensitivities and allergies. It became a labour of love, blending the flavours of tradition and inclusivity in each delectable bite.
What Makes a Great Gluten-Free Muffin
These scones exude a comforting warmth, boasting a dense, moist crumb that imparts a sense of wholesome satisfaction. Unlike their airy counterparts, they carry a heartier texture that feels like a hearty embrace in each bite. The infusion of generous dark chocolate morsels adds a rich, indulgent touch, perfectly balanced by a restrained sweetness.
In terms of preparation, simplicity reigns supreme. With just two bowls required and no need for a mixer, these scones effortlessly come together. From start to finish, they grace your table in under an hour, making them an ideal treat for impromptu gatherings or moments of self-indulgence.
In light of our recent wave of friends welcoming bundles of joy into their lives, these scones have become a staple in our kitchen. I find solace in baking multiple batches, ensuring our family is well-stocked, and even reserving some to freeze for those cherished opportunities to share them with the new parents. It’s a small gesture of comfort and joy during a time filled with new beginnings.
Pick a Good Gluten-Free Flour Blend
Firstly, selecting the right gluten-free flour blend is paramount. With a plethora of options available, it’s essential to choose a blend that suits your preferences. Personally, I favour Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour blend. It stands out as a versatile choice that works well for a wide range of recipes. Importantly, it doesn’t incorporate chickpea or legume flours, which can sometimes impart a savoury undertone to baked goods – a flavour profile that doesn’t always align with my tastes.
Equally crucial is ensuring that your chosen flour blend contains xanthan gum. This vital ingredient serves as a binding agent in gluten-free baking, playing a crucial role in achieving the desired texture. Before you begin, take a moment to scrutinise the ingredients list of your selected gluten-free flour blend. If it lacks xanthan gum (or an alternative binding agent like guar gum or psyllium husks), I strongly recommend incorporating 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum into the mix. This small addition can make a significant difference in ensuring a successful outcome for your baked goods.
How to Make These Gluten-Free Muffins
Mastering the art of muffin-making involves a touch of culinary science. In my experience, deviating from the conventional baking temperature slightly has proven beneficial, contributing to a more pronounced rise in the muffins. Surprisingly, you won’t need a mixer for this recipe—opting for manual mixing is ideal, especially with muffins. This precaution prevents over-mixing, which can result in tougher baked goods. When it comes to filling the muffin cups, there’s no need to hold back; this dough doesn’t undergo dramatic expansion or rise, allowing you to confidently fill them to the brim. This little nuance sets it apart from other recipes, providing a bit of baking freedom.
How To Make This Recipe
- 1 tablespoon of flax meal
- 296 grams (2 cups) of gluten-free flour blend, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour
- 105 grams (1/2 cup) of granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) of vegetable oil
- 240 ml (1 cup) of non-dairy milk, such as soy milk or oat milk
- 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
- 165 grams (1 cup) of dairy-free chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life brand
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Prepare the flax “egg” by combining the flax meal with 2 1/2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Let it stand for 7 to 10 minutes to thicken. This will serve as an egg replacement in this recipe.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, non-dairy milk, flax egg, and vanilla extract.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring thoroughly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Be mindful not to overmix; the texture should resemble a thick and sticky dough rather than a loose batter.
Fold the chocolate chips into the dough.
Fill the muffin liners almost to the top with the batter, using a scoop or ladle.
Bake for 21 to 23 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden and they spring back slightly when pressed in the center. (Using the toothpick test might be tricky as you’re likely to hit a chocolate chip!)
Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Tips Of Recipe
- Choose Your Flour Blend: Opt for a high-quality gluten-free flour blend. Brands like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour work well. Ensure it doesn’t contain chickpea or legume flours if you prefer a neutral taste.
- Xanthan Gum: Check if your chosen flour blend contains xanthan gum, which is crucial for binding in gluten-free baking. If not, consider adding 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to the mix.
- Temperature for Rise: Baking at a slightly higher temperature than usual aids in achieving a better rise for the muffins.
- Mixing Technique: For muffins, mixing by hand is preferable to avoid overworking the dough, which could result in tougher baked goods.
- Filling the Cups: Unlike some recipes, you can fill the muffin cups all the way to the top with this dough since it doesn’t expand dramatically during baking.
- Flax “Egg”: The flax meal mixed with water serves as an egg replacer. Allow it to thicken for 7 to 10 minutes before use.
- Don’t Overmix: When combining wet and dry ingredients, stir until just combined. Overmixing can lead to tougher texture.
- Dough Consistency: Expect a thicker, stickier dough rather than a loose batter. This is normal for this recipe.
- Cooling Time: Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Storage: Muffins are best enjoyed on the day they’re baked. If you have leftovers, store them covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use a different gluten-free flour blend?
- Yes, you can try different gluten-free flour blends, but results may vary. It’s recommended to choose one with xanthan gum or consider adding it separately.
- What can I use as a substitute for flax meal?
- If you don’t have flax meal, chia seeds can be used as an alternative egg replacer. Mix them with water and let them thicken.
- Can I use a different type of non-dairy milk?
- Yes, you can use other non-dairy milks like almond, rice, or coconut milk. However, it might affect the flavour slightly.
- Is it possible to reduce the sugar content?
- Yes, you can adjust the amount of sugar to suit your taste preferences. Keep in mind that it may affect the overall sweetness and texture of the muffins.
- Can I add nuts or other mix-ins to the batter?
- Absolutely! You can incorporate chopped nuts, dried fruits, or other mix-ins of your choice to add extra texture and flavour to the muffins.
- How should I store the muffins?
- Store leftover muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, freeze them in a sealed container for up to 3 months.
- Can I use a different type of oil?
- Yes, you can substitute vegetable oil with melted coconut oil, olive oil, or another neutral-flavoured oil of your preference.
- What can I use if I don’t have a muffin tin?
- If you don’t have a muffin tin, you can use silicone muffin cups or make free-form muffins on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Can I omit the chocolate chips?
- Certainly. If you prefer a muffin without chocolate chips, feel free to leave them out or replace them with nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.
- Why do the muffins have a denser texture?
- The use of gluten-free flour often results in a denser texture compared to regular flour. This is normal and characteristic of gluten-free baking.
- Classic Accompaniment: Enjoy these muffins with a steaming cup of tea or coffee for a delightful breakfast or afternoon snack.
- Butter or Dairy-Free Spread: Serve them warm with a slather of butter or your favourite dairy-free spread for an added creamy richness.
- Fruit Compote: Pair the muffins with a side of fresh fruit compote or a fruit salad for a refreshing contrast of flavours.
- Yogurt and Honey: Create a delightful breakfast by serving the muffins alongside a dollop of yogurt drizzled with honey.
- Nut Butter: Spread a layer of almond, peanut, or cashew butter on top of the muffins for a protein-rich twist.
- Ice Cream Sundae: Turn them into a dessert by splitting them in half and using them as the base for an indulgent ice cream sundae.
- Cheese Platter: Pair these muffins with a selection of cheeses, both dairy and non-dairy, for a savoury-sweet combination.
- Whipped Cream and Berries: Top the muffins with a dollop of whipped cream and a handful of fresh berries for an elegant dessert option.
- Nutella or Chocolate Spread: For a touch of indulgence, spread Nutella or your favourite chocolate spread on top of the muffins.
- Almond or Cashew Cream: Swap out traditional cream for a dairy-free alternative like almond or cashew cream for a lighter option.
How to Store
- Cool Completely: Allow the muffins to cool completely on a wire rack. This prevents moisture buildup, which can lead to sogginess.
- Airtight Container: Place the cooled muffins in an airtight container. Make sure the container is large enough to avoid crowding, which can cause the muffins to stick together.
- Room Temperature: If you plan to consume them within 2 days, leave the container at room temperature. This maintains their freshness and texture.
- Refrigeration (Optional): If you want to store them for a longer period (up to a week), you can refrigerate them. This helps extend their shelf life.
- Freezing (Long-term Storage): For longer storage (up to 3 months), wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap or aluminium foil and place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bags.
- Label and Date (if Freezing): If you’re freezing them, label the container or bags with the date to keep track of their freshness.
- Thawing: When you’re ready to enjoy them, thaw frozen muffins in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours.
How to Freeze
- Cool Completely: Allow the muffins to cool completely on a wire rack. This prevents condensation and maintains their texture.
- Individually Wrap: Wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap or aluminium foil. This prevents freezer burn and keeps them fresh.
- Double Protection (Optional): Place the individually wrapped muffins into a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container. This provides an extra layer of protection.
- Label and Date: If you plan to store them for an extended period, label the container or bag with the date. This helps you keep track of their freshness.
- Freeze Flat: Lay the wrapped muffins in a single layer in the freezer. Once they’re firm, you can arrange them however you like to save space.
- Stack (Optional): If you’re short on space, you can stack the individually wrapped muffins once they’re frozen solid. Just be careful not to squish them.
- Thawing: When you’re ready to enjoy them, remove the desired number of muffins from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Why You’ll Love These Recipe
- Deliciously Inclusive: This recipe caters to various dietary needs, making it accessible and enjoyable for those with gluten sensitivities or allergies.
- Perfectly Balanced Sweetness: These muffins strike a harmonious balance of sweetness, allowing the flavour of the ingredients to shine without overwhelming your palate.
- Moist and Hearty Texture: With a moist, dense crumb, these muffins offer a satisfying heartiness that sets them apart from overly fluffy counterparts.
- Simple and Efficient: This recipe is wonderfully straightforward, requiring minimal effort and equipment. No mixer needed—just a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon!
- Quick Turnaround: From preparation to baking, you’ll have a batch of these delectable muffins in under an hour, ensuring a speedy and satisfying treat.
- Customizable Add-Ins: While these muffins boast an enticing chocolate chip element, they’re versatile enough to accommodate other mix-ins like nuts, dried fruits, or seeds.
- Freezer-Friendly Goodness: Whether you’re planning for future cravings or looking to share the love, these muffins freeze exceptionally well, maintaining their delightful taste and texture.
- Calories: Approximately 230 kcal
- Fat: About 11g
- Saturated Fat: Around 4g
- Carbohydrates: Roughly 31g
- Sugars: About 14g
- Protein: Approximately 3g
- Fibre: About 2g
- Sodium: Around 180mg
Please note that these values are approximate and can vary based on specific brands of ingredients used and portion sizes. For precise nutritional information, it’s recommended to use a trusted online calculator or consult with a registered dietitian.