Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins- No Xanthan Gum

Baking Without Xanthan Gum, I Am.

When I first set foot on this lonely gluten-free road (it was 2001, remember, pre-gluten-free boon; there was nary a gluten-free bagel or wheat-free blueberry muffin in sight), I wrestled with converting my beloved tried and true wheat flour recipes, gamely baking and tossing too many gluten-free hockey pucks and brick loaves to count. Until I discovered xanthan gum- the weirdo secret ingredient that gave gluten-free batter and dough a hint of that elusive stretchy tenderness that gluten once gifted. Xanthan gum was a find. And it has been a nifty little problem solver for many years.

Until it wasn't.

After a decade or so of cooking, baking, and eating strictly gluten-free I began to feel- shall we say- less than wonderful after eating something with xanthan gum (or guar gum, or locust bean gum, or carrageenan). Ingredients my grandmother never heard of. Ingredients I never used to eat. Or bake with. I had a gluten-free shakabuku. I was seeing gums and emulsifiers added to everything. From coconut milk to olives, from gluten-free gingersnaps to vegan ice cream.

Then I read this.

And I decided to go back to the way I used to eat- still gluten-free, of course— but no xanthan gum. No guar gum. No carrageenan. Guess what?

My tummy is (WAY) happier. My digestion is normal (translation- no pain, no bloat, no kill me now existential ennui). I've been experimenting with baking without xanthan gum. And I'm here to share my blueberry muffin success. I'm using flax seed meal to help the batter a bit. And so far? So good.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins- No Xanthan Gum

Ingredients:

Dry:
1 cup Gluten-Free Oat Flour
2/3 cup Gluten-Free Corn Flour
2/3 cup almond meal/flour
1/2 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1 tablespoon organic flaxseed meal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Wet:
2 teaspoons good vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 tablespoons light olive oil or Organic Canola oil
2 large organic free-range eggs
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup blueberries, patted dry

Instructions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.

2. In a smaller bowl, mix together wet ingredients, without the blueberries. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Beat the batter until it is smooth, much like a thick cake batter. Add in blueberries. Stir gently and briefly.

3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper liners.

4. Spoon the batter into lined muffin cups. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 22 minutes if using convection. If not using convection, bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. A wooden pick inserted into the center should emerge clean.

5. Cool the muffin pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Gently pop the muffins out to continue cooling on the rack (it's always best to cool them out of the hot pan, to avoid soggy bottoms). These muffins taste simply divine warm from the oven. The convection gives these gems a slightly crusty golden top.

Additional Info:

Yield: 12 muffins

Wrap and freeze cooled muffins for future breakfast treats.

I baked these tasty little gems in my new Cuisinart Deluxe Convection Toaster Oven Broiler (our new apartment has no oven, so after researching counter top toaster ovens, we ordered one of these from Amazon.com). I love it- it keeps the kitchen cool (gives off very little heat) and the convection baking is super efficient for baking gluten-free goodies. So far we've made my xanthan gum free Dark Chocolate Brownies, and the new Blueberry Muffins in it, using the convection method.

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