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Friday, October 26, 2018

Family Favorites - October 2018: Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Nut, Wheat and Fish-Free, Can Be Milk, Soy and Egg-Free)

This year, I decided to list a family favorite recipe from the blog (with any adaptions that we use regularly, if applicable) on the fourth Friday or Saturday of every month.  This recipe will be one that we make quite often and that we all enjoy greatly.  This post is the tenth Family Favorites recipe of 2018.

If you have a recipe on your blog that you consider a family favorite that you'd like to share, please comment below with a link to the recipe, and I'll make sure to pop on over and visit your site to check it out (and leave a comment), and hopefully some of my other readers will, too.

This month's Family Favorite recipe is Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins.  This is basically a re-post of my Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins, but with some extra tips and tricks.  This recipe is nut, wheat and fish-free (as long as all of your ingredients are), and can be milk, soy and egg-free (see variations).  It is also the recipe that my dad (who is not gluten-free, by the way) requests every time he comes over or whenever I go over to their house.  These are also the muffins that get eaten the quickest by my family when I make muffins.  In fact, my husband purposely buys more apples than we can eat so that I can make these (along with a pie or crisp or fruited coffee cake - or all of the above).  I promise you - these are some of the best apple cinnamon muffins on the planet - gluten-free or gluten-full.  No one ever suspects them of being gluten-free (and I still don't know why people assume gluten-free = awful because it is simply not true), and they always want more!  Give them a try - you won't regret it!

Note: The gluten-free baking mix I recommend does not technically contain soy, but it does contain xanthan gum (see "Soy-Free" under variations for more details) which can cause issues for people with soy sensitivities or allergies, and that is why I will not claim that this recipe is soy-free.

Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

3 Cups gluten-free baking mix 
(I always use King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix, and yes, it has to be a baking mix, NOT a gluten-free flour or the recipe will not turn out right.)

1/2 Cup white sugar
(I always use cane sugar.)

1/2 Cup brown sugar
(I always use cane sugar.)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
(My favorite brand to use is O-LIVE, but I also have used others, but I always use extra virgin olive oil.)

4 large eggs

1 Cup milk
(I always use whole milk.)

1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

1 1/2 Cups small diced apples, peeled or not based on preference
(I use Ida Red, Honey Crisp, Ginger Gold, Granny Smith or a combination, but you can use any baking apple of your choice.)  
(Our favorite apple to use is Ginger Gold, followed by Granny Smith and Ida Red.  I also always peel my apples.  Also, the 1 1/2 Cups is the amount of apple AFTER dicing it.  This normally takes 1 to 3 apples depending on the size of the apples.)

Cinnamon and Sugar (for topping) (optional)
(I always use the topping, and I always use a teaspoon of cinnamon to 2 Tablespoons of white cane sugar to make it.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
  2. Prepare muffin tins with 24 paper cups or grease tins well with fat of choice.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the gluten-free baking mix, sugars and cinnamon until well blended and set aside.
  4. In another larger bowl, mix the oil, egg, milk and vanilla until well blended.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until the  mixture is just blended.
  6. Fold in the diced apples until evenly distributed.
  7. Evenly distribute the muffin mixture between the 24 muffin cups and top each one with cinnamon and sugar, if desired. (Note: The amount of cinnamon and sugar you put on each on each muffin is up to you, but I recommend about a teaspoon per muffin, but you could put as much as a Tablespoon.  To make the mix of cinnamon and sugar, I recommend about a teaspoon of cinnamon for every 2 Tablespoons of white sugar, but you can certainly use whatever ratio you like best.)
  8. Let the muffins rest about 10 minutes before baking.  (Note: This ensures the best results, so please don't skip this step!)
  9. Bake the muffins for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
  10. Let the muffins sit in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan and allowing them to finish cooling on the counter or a wire rack.
  11. Enjoy them warm or let them cool completely before enjoying - whichever you prefer!
Makes 24 muffins.

Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using variations):

  • Milk-Free: Use non-dairy milk of your choice in place of the milk, and use either paper cups to line the tins or a non-dairy fat to grease the pans in this recipe.  You could also substitute apple juice or cider for the milk.
  • Egg-Free: Use an egg replacer in place of the eggs.  For ideas on what to use in place of the eggs, check out my ingredient substitutions page.  The flax seed "egg" or applesauce replacement would be a good fit with these muffins.
  • Soy-Free: King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix does not claim to contain soy, but it does contain xanthan gum, which can cause issues with people who have soy sensitivities and allergies, and hence the reason I won't claim this recipe is soy-free already.  You can use another soy-free baking mix (if you can have wheat/gluten) or soy-free, gluten-free baking mix of your choice.  Keep in mind that if your baking mix doesn't contain guar gum or xanthan gum, you may need to add between 3/4 to 3 teaspoons of ground flax seed, guar gum or xanthan gum to help with textural issues, too.  You'll have to make sure all your ingredients are soy-free, too.

  • Different Flavors: If you are not an apple fan, you can substitute raisins, dried cranberries, peach, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, or another fruit of choice (though I don't recommend pumpkin, banana or any other "mushy" fruit).  You can use a combination of fruits, too, as long as you don't exceed  1 1/2 Cups of fruit.  I recommend using fresh fruit or dried fruit ONLY, as canned or frozen fruit will alter your texture greatly.  You can also leave out the cinnamon if you don't like it, as well.  You can also top the muffins with plain sugar or nothing, if you so desire.  You could also play around with different juices for the milk like orange, lemon, lime, or pineapple, leave out the cinnamon and cinnamon sugar topping (unless you want the cinnamon flavor), and pick a fruit or dried fruit of choice to mix in.  For example, for a Cranberry Orange Muffin, I would sub orange juice for the milk and stir in dried cranberries vs. apples, leave out the cinnamon, and top with just plain sugar.  That would be heavenly, I think!  You could also try stirring in chocolate chips vs. fruit, with or without the cinnamon and cinnamon sugar topping.  That would be delicious, too!
  • Sugar Substitutes: You could use any sugar substitute that is approved for baking for the sugar.  Make sure that you sub it according to the recommendations for that sweetener.  Not all sugar substitutes are subbed with a 1:1 ratio.  I also don't recommend using a liquid sugar substitute as it would greatly alter the moisture content. 
I promise, you won't regret trying these muffins!  They taste as wonderful as they look!

I hope you will give this recipe a try soon and that it becomes a family favorite for you, too!

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