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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake Muffins (Nut, Wheat and Fish-Free, Can Be Soy, Egg and Milk-Free)

Originally when I set out to make these muffins (and I did a lot of research on them, and they don't fit any one recipe that I found, though the closest one is this one), I was going for a strawberry lemonade flavor.  I realized right away that the "lemonade" part was lacking, but the flavor was very good, so I took them to church for fellowship not quite sure what to call them.  They were a HUGE hit, and our youth pastor's wife asked me what flavor they were.  I told her they were supposed to be a strawberry lemonade, and she said they reminded her of strawberry shortcake, and I thought that worked, so I decided to call them strawberry shortcake muffins.  (Thanks, Ms. Lyndsey, for your contribution that you had no idea you were giving! :) )

These muffins taste like their name implies - like strawberry shortcake, but with a hint of lemon.  The sprinkle of turbinado sugar on top give a little crunch, and the strawberries sort of melt into the muffin, giving the muffin the strawberry shortcake feel.  Now, I will say this - the berries do give these muffins soft, moist spots even when they are completely cooked, which is not a bad thing with this particular flavor profile (no, they do not taste like you are eating mush, but more like you are eating a muffin with jam or filling inside).  You could decrease the amount of berries, though, if you wanted less of that, though (see variations).

These muffins are nut, wheat and fish-free, and can be soy-free (if you use all soy-free ingredients), egg-free and milk-free (see variations).

Note: The gluten-free flour and baking mix I recommend do not technically contain soy, but the one contains xanthan gum and the other contains guar 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 Strawberry Shortcake Muffins
1/3 Cup lemon juice

1 Cup sour cream

1/2 Cup full-fat, salted butter, melted

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Cups gluten-free flour blend or baking mix 

1 Cup white sugar

1 Tablespoon gluten-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 Cups cut strawberries (no bigger than the tip of your pinkie)

turbinado sugar (for sprinkling) (optional)  

  1. Preheat oven to 400oF.
  2. Line muffin tins with 12 to 24 paper cups or grease VERY well.  (Note: How many muffins you get depend on how full you fill your muffin cups.  I strongly recommend the paper liners over greasing, as well.)
  3. Mix together lemon juice, sour cream, melted butter, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended.  (Note: I strongly recommend using a stand mixer for this recipe.  You can use a hand-held mixer or even mix it by hand, but it gets very difficult to mix after the next step unless you use a stand mixer.)
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the gluten-free flour/baking mix, white sugar, gluten-free baking powder and salt, and then gradually add it to the sour cream mixture until well blended.  (Note: The batter is supposed to be VERY thick and sticky!)
  5. Gently mix in the strawberries until they are evenly distributed.  (Note: This is where the stand mixer comes in the most handy.  You can do this step on the lowest speed possible, and the berries will mix in very well.  It is much more difficult by hand or with a hand mixer, but not impossible.)
  6. Scoop mixture into the prepared muffin cups.  (Note: You can fill the cups to 3/4 full or use a 1/4 Cup measuring cup.  The less batter you use, the faster they will cook and the more muffins it will make.  I normally use the 1/4 Cup and get 18 or so muffins.)
  7. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top of each muffin if desired, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center muffin comes out clean and the muffins are golden brown.  (Note: Sometimes the muffins take up to 40 minutes to bake, but this is rare.)
  8. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. (Note: Do NOT skip this step.  The muffins will do a little finishing in the pan during this time.)

You can eat these muffins warm, but they are best cooled completely.  This recipe makes 12 to 24 muffins, depending on size.

Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using substitutions!):
  • Milk-Free: Use lard, coconut oil, olive oil or a dairy-free butter for the butter.  You can use a dairy-free milk or yogurt for the sour cream, too.
  • Soy-Free: Neither Pamela's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour or King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free Baking Mix claim to contain soy, but Pamela's contains guar gum and King Arthur Flour's contains 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 alreadyYou can use regular flour (if you can have it) or a soy-free, gluten-free flour of your choice.
  • Egg-Free: Use one of egg replacement ideas listed here, though I believe either the egg replacer or flax seed egg would be most successful.
  • Different Flavors/Less Berries:  You can reduce the amount of berries to 1 Cup, if you think 1 1/2 Cups is too much, but the cooking time may be reduced by 5 minutes or so.  You could substitute, blueberries, raspberries, cherries or peaches for the strawberries or you could use any combo that appeals to you, as long as you don't exceed 1 1/2 Cups of fruit, and as long as the fruit is FRESH.  If you use canned or frozen fruit the texture would be way too wet.  You could even leave the fruit out entirely, though the cooking time would be reduced (I'd check them at 10 minutes and add more time if needed).  You could also use orange juice in place of the lemon juice or any other fruit juice that sounded good to you (pineapple, apple, white grape, etc.) or even water, if you wanted to as well. 
  • Sugar Substitutions:  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 would not recommend using honey, molasses or other liquid sugar, however, as that would greatly change the consistency, and the result would be more mush than you'd want.
  • No Sour Cream:  If you don't want to use sour cream, you can use yogurt or milk with success.  The yogurt could be greek or regular; plain, vanilla or flavored.

Trust me when I say that these muffins are so good you won't miss the gluten, and no one will be the wiser! :)

What's your favorite muffin?

What's your favorite summertime flavor?

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