Holding on to Summer: Blueberry Muffins

The leaves are just starting to turn in North Carolina, with a bit of a chill in the air as the sun goes down. Being the Florida girl that I am, I dread the proposition of trading in my flip-flops for actual shoes, my cool button down shirts for unwieldy coats! Mid terms have passed, and school is in full swing. The local Whole Foods market has had berries on sale for the past few weeks, which I have been partaking in as often as possible. Berries are the food that epitomizes summer for me–not too sweet, with a lovely tartness and enough juice to quench your thirst. They are even better straight from the freezer, like miniature natural popsicles. I digress!

Snap up those last few boxes of fresh berries from your local market and toss them into a batch of these light, perfectly moist muffins. Simple ingredients and simple preparation yield a cross between a cupcake and a muffin that is gluten-free, sugar-free, and even dairy-free for all of your lactose- and casein-intolerant folks. The lemon flavor is very faint, just detectable enough to add some intrigue and complement the olive oil. The topping forms a crunchy crust over the tops. Just a word of warning: These are not your average “healthy” muffins, loaded with whole wheat flour (sugar), applesauce (sugar), bran (a processed waste product made of insoluble fiber), bananas (sugar), and other low fat ingredients yielding un-muffiny flavors. Nourish the body and the soul with these flavorful, nutrient-packed muffins, full of protein from the almonds, antioxidants from the berries, and a dash of omega-3s from the flax meal topping.

Take note of the key ingredient–olive oil, as the liquid fat in these muffins. Now don’t wrinkle your nose just yet! The fruitiness of extra virgin olive oil pairs so well with the citrus zest and lemon extract. I am the first person who would balk at the idea of olive oil coming anywhere near a perfectly good sweet treat. I loathe the stuff, and prefer to keep my distance from it 99% of the time. And yet, you really can’t use anything else in this recipe to get the same complexity of flavors. Tasting is believing!

You might notice that the muffins in the photographs have flat tops! Their perfect peaks fell because I piled the batter right up to the brim of my trusty silicone muffins cups, hoping for a massive meal-in-a-muffin. Bad idea! These mammoth muffins didn’t fluff up properly, and remained undercooked on the bottoms. Stick with the 12 dainty muffins the recipe is supposed to yield, and you will have fluffy, attractive breakfast pastries to go with your morning cup of a coffee.


Blueberry Crunch Top Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cage-free organic eggs
1/2 cup erythritol or preferred sugar-free sweetener
1/2 teaspoon NuNaturals pure stevia extract
1 teaspoon lemon or vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup lite coconut milk (or half n’ half if you can use dairy)
1 cup blueberries or raspberries
oat flour, for dusting (optional)

For Crunch Topping (optional):
2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening or unsalted butter
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons golden flax meal
2 tablespoons erythritol
1/4 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon stevia extract

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mash together the ingredients for the topping with a fork, then stick it in the freezer while you make the muffins. Whisk together wet ingredients plus the erythritol in one bowl. Stir together the dry ingredients in a different bowl. Add the wet to the dry ingredients, whisking until incorporated. Coat berries with a light dusting of oat flour (to keep them from sinking), and gently fold 3/4 of them into the batter. Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full, and sprinkle remaining berries over the tops. Pinch off bits of the cold topping, dropping them over the tops of the muffins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Let cool until lukewarm, then turn muffins out of the silicone muffin cups (if using) so the tops are facing down. After completely cooled, store in baggies or tupperware with paper towels.

~3.5 grams net carbs per muffin (using bluberries)

  • Mandy

    Looks yummy! Carb counts? Also, where do you find oat flour?

  • Sophie

    I love berries too :) . I always find I enjoy muffins more when they’re moist over dry anyways :) . Oooh, I miss flip-flops too (just moved from Texas to Boston), but I do looove Fall!

  • susan allport

    Thought you’d be interested in this short omega-3 video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIgNpsbvcVM

  • dt

    these look wonderful!!!
    here’s the nutrition facts without the topping or oat flour dusting:
    12 Servings

    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 322.1
    Total Fat 29.8 g
    Cholesterol 62.6 mg
    Sodium 98.8 mg
    Potassium 35.0 mg
    Total Carbohydrate 10.3 g
    Dietary Fiber 4.4 g
    Sugars 1.4 g
    Protein 10.0 g

    I found oat flour at my local health food store. Also I substituted rice bran oil–for info check out: http://www.californiariceoil.com/index.html

  • Lauren

    Mandy – I added the carb count to the post for ya! You could definitely find oat flour at your local health food store, and maybe even at your local grocery store.

    Sophie – I guess we Southern girls will always miss our flip-flops! :)

    Susan – Thanks for the link to the video!

    dt – How did you calculate that info? I just use CalorieKing.com’s numbers and add them manually, then round off. Do you have a special software program?

  • dt

    I belong to SparkPeople.com and use the “recipe calculator” at SparkRecipes.com. It’s an awesome site–you can search for recipes, calculate, store.

  • Naomi Devlin

    These look just delicious – I might try them with the last of the English raspberries, as all our locally grown bluberries are over now.

    You might find that adding a little less coconut milk to the batter, and baking them at a slightly higher temperature for less time, gives you the rounded top you’re after? I know it doesn’t affect the taste though, I bet they still tasted delicious.

    x x x

  • jeri

    OMG-these are great! We just finished our batch-I used milk instead of coconut milk-I let my coconut milk go bad. I used splenda for the batter, but not the topping-I used what you recommended.
    These are excellent!!

  • Amanda

    I’ve just discovered your blog, and am in heaven! Usually gluten-free recipes aren’t sugar-free, let alone made of wholefoods. Also, no soy! It’s as if your recipes are made for me!

    These blueberry muffins are the first recipe I’ve tried, and they are unbelievably delicious. Truly a revelation. I cannot thank you enough.

    I have your cranberry brownie recipe cooling right now!

  • Lauren

    Dt, thanks for the tip on the recipe calculator!

    Naomi, thank you for that tip about the muffins!

    Jeri, so glad you enjoyed the muffins.

    Amanda, it is nice to someone else with a similar food philosophy. :) Glad you like the muffins! Those brownies are at their best after sitting around in the pan overnight, if you can wait that long!

  • Amanda

    Lauren – Thank you! I’m so excited about your blog: low-carb, gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free wholefoods! Bliss! I’ve read so many cookbooks looking in vain for baking recipes like this, so I’m awestruck by you right now!

    I left the brownies overnight, and just had one now. Wonderful! I made them with raw cacao powder and the taste was incredible. Very fudgy. I’m astonished I can actually eat a brownie that tastes amazing, but doesn’t make me sick afterwards. Thank you SO MUCH! I know I probably sound ridiculously effusive, but I’ve spent so long looking for recipes just like this, I couldn’t be more grateful for all your hard work. Forgive me for being beside myself!

  • Donna

    These are pretty tasty, but I have to disagree with you about the EVOO being essential here – I used it and I find the flavor is distinctly discernible in the finished muffin, despite all of the lemony accents from the zest and juice. I will definitely make this again, but will probably use a lighter oil, such as almond oil, which would complement the almond flour nicely, or some Enova, which would be mild and not stand out in the muffin.

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    Hi!
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    Thank you so much for shearing.

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    Very nice dear blogger, but for "healthy" muffins to have any shelf-life without artificial preservatives, the sugar and fat content needed to be increased, to the point where the "muffins" are almost indistinguishable from cupcakes. j2j3

  • Hannah

    I would like to know if I could use beans in this recipe, just like the cakes you did? I did the chocolate cake and it came out amazing! Am I able to make blueberry muffins using beans as well?

    -Hannah

  • http://www.learningwithcharlotte.wordpress.com Christie

    These were very yummy! Thanks for making our transition to low-carb and gluten free so much easier.

  • http://manpriya.com Manpriya

    Hey there! These muffins are ridiculously delicious. If you taste the olive oil, you are using olive oil that might be rancid. Olive oil kept in a dark glass container or metal container is usually not rancid and has a light, fruity taste that absolutely combines well with the flavor here.

    I added chia seed instead of flax. I grind my own in my blender. Try it! It's crunchy and fantastic.

    You can find my recipe experimentations at manpriya.com in case you want to keep up with it. I often times “improve” recipes I see and this chia seed substitution is a winner. Just don't cook above 350 degrees as the heat ruins the fat in the chia.

    Happy eating!

  • Brenda

    I just made these and they are very good!! — however waaay too sweet for me and I like sweet. it seems like the stevia could be cut back to almost 1/2. Thanks for the great recipe! I used heavy whipping cream instead of coconut milk and added some cinnamon to the batter. Plus I used 1/2 the olive oil and substituted the rest for butter so that they didn't taste too much like olive oil.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12992918908739085132 Lauren

    Brenda – My taste has changed since starting out so they could use a little less sweetener! Thank you for sharing your twist on them. :)

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  • http://wyomingdivawritespoetry.blogspot.com/ Susanne Lee

    These are awesome! I didn’t taste the olive oil at all. They have a great crumb texture very like a traditional muffin. I also didn’t think they were too sweet – just right. Will make again!