Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Cinnamon apple goodness- gluten-free.

A classic fall favorite- the pairing of apples and cinnamon. Stir them together in a muffin batter and you have a sweet and cozy breakfast treat that is not only heart warming and soul satisfying but super easy to wrap and freeze. That is, if you don't eat every single morsel first. These little gems would be a fabulous side nosh for Thanksgiving brunch- or a casual supper of Curried Butternut Soup.

It's a gray flannel sky kind of day here in the high desert. Chilly and damp. Steve is watching The Great Escape as I nibble on a warm apple muffin. It's been a historic week. I am still re-viewing on-line videos of our President-Elect with gratitude and awe, thankful that hope, grace and smarts prevailed despite the ugly drumbeat of fear, fueled by prejudice and the age old tactic of scapegoating and button-pushing, appealing, of course, to the lower instincts of our reptilian past. The old and rusty paradigm is giving birth to the new on a collective level. And I feel it in my bones and in the air that I breathe.

I am grateful. Hopeful. And eager to greet change.

It's all good.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins Recipe

Originally published November 2008.

Using buckwheat gives these fragrant gems a nutty heartiness I enjoy. If you don't care for buckwheat, use your own favorite gluten-free flour blend for the 1 and 1/2 cups flour in this recipe.


3/4 cup GF buckwheat flour or brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup natural applesauce
1/3 cup light olive oil
1 cup organic brown sugar- or 1/2 cup raw agave nectar or more, to taste*
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer (for 2 large eggs) mixed with 1/4 cup warm water
4 tablespoons apple juice, more as needed


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours and dry ingredients (through spices). Beat in the wet ingredients and brown sugar/agave until smooth.

Add more apple juice a tablespoon at a time, as needed to make a smooth batter.

Stir in:

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh apple
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Spoon the batter into twelve muffin cups.

Sprinkle with raw sugar, if desired, for a crunchy top.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven until firm and golden- about 20 to 25 minutes or so. Test with a wooden pick if you need to. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

Wrap and freeze for on-the-go treats. Thaw at room temperature or briefly zap in a microwave if you like your muffins warm.

Karina's Note on agave:

I made these with 1 cup organic brown sugar and found them to be the right balance of sweet; but I receive so many requests for agave as a sub I included an alternative. If you like your muffins less sweet start with 1/2 cup agave. Taste test the batter. If you need more sweetness, add more. You may need to adjust baking time.

Makes twelve muffins.


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

These are my favorite Fall muffins -- the flavors are so very New England -- and it's nice to know how to make a gluten-free version.

Jennifer Hamilton said...

I love that you used both applesauce and fresh apples! I'll admit, I've yet to try baking too much with buckwheat flour aside from bread. Thanks for this version :)

Nirvana said...

Loving this recipe! Its perfect for this time of year. Thanks for sharing them with us (and I love all your food pictures -- they are beautiful!)

sheila said...

Ohmygosh, these are great. Just baked a batch and ate one and they are truly delicious. I am new to all this and so that tells you that your recipes are easy to follow. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. My hope is restored for gluten, dairy, and corn free good food. Thanks for spending so much of your time to help people like me.

amy@inspirationchic said...

I just LOVE your blog. thanks for sharing all these wonderful gluten free recipes!I have you on my BLOG love.

Mrs. G.F. said...

I need to experiment with buckwheat flour, I have yet to do that. It's the words buckwheat I think, a mental block.

These might be the shove I need to try it.

Slacker Mom

VeggieGirl said...

Same weather conditions here - I miss the sunshine!! But hooray for delightful muffins :0)

Cherylharris said...

these look just about perfect! I can't wait to try them.

Katrina said...

Hi Karina! I travel with a touring Broadway show and am currently in New Mexico. It made me think of you! I wish, wish, wish I had an oven to bake these! I am craving your recipes. My "road diet" gets pretty monotonous. I can't wait until June so I can get home and try all of the recipes I've missed!

Hannah said...

I so love buckwheat, it seems to be one of the only grains I can tolerate. It is a seed I beleive?
I am going to try substituting the other flour with almond flour and see how it goes. Looks delicious!

Sarah Schatz - menus for people with food allergies said...

HI Karina,
I love your blog and it makes me want to visit New Mexico reading your recipes. I used to live in Colorado and we used to visit regularly.
Anyway, these muffins look delicious, and if I weren't so tired I'd go make them right now. I love the fact that you made agave nectar an option instead of using sugar. That is what I usually use or maple syrup because I can't eat regular sugar. I actually made homemade applesauce today for my 10 month old DS and he loved it. I couldn't help but have some too. Unfortunately I don't think there's enough left for the recipe but there is always tomorrow!
thanks again! I love your blog and your recipes and photos are just beautiful.

CDM said...

If I replace the 1 1/2 flour with pamela's baking mix, do I still have to add the baking soda and/or xanthan gum? I do not have all the flours needed and have become a "pamela fanatic". I have had a baking obsession ever since I came across your blog a few months bake. My recipe book is turning into a karina's recipe book, since the majority of them are now your recipes or a slight modification of yours. Thanks for al the help in eating gluten free and actually enjoying it!!

Karina Allrich said...

Lydia- New England smells like apples in the fall- I miss that!

Jennifer- I am really enjoying buckwheat in cookies, muffins and cakes. Give it a try.

Nirvana- Thank you!

Our Food Recipes- Thanks!

Sheila- Wow that was fast! I'm so glad you enjoyed these.

Amy- Thanks so much!

Slacker Mom- I love buckwheat- higher in protein, nutty taste. I always relate it to kasha so I never had the aversion. ;)

VeggieGirl- Yes, yay for sun- finally came out today! Hope it does for you, too.

Cheryl- Thanks- hope you are well!

Katrina- Really? Wow. What show? I can imagine how hard it is on the road... Ouch.

Hannah- Fruit, groat = seed I think? It's related to rhubarb. I love it- have you tried my buckwheat chocolate chip cookies?

Sarah- Thanks so much- it's challenging to bake with food allergies!

CDM- You won't get any argument from me regarding Pamela's Baking Mix- I miss it- I loved it. And yes, you can sub it in this recipe, why not? You won't need the xanthan gum, then. And as for leavening- it depends; sometimes I used half the amount anyway. Do what works for you. Enjoy!


lisa michelle said...

hi! i'm wheat sensitive and my bf has celiac. we thought these muffs were awesome! i used homemade apple strawberry sauce with a little pureed baby pear food! and the only sweetener i added was 3 Tbsp of maple syrup since i'm trying to eat less cane sugar and they were PERFECT! thank you :)
we also really loved your pear polenta muffins!! :)

Katrina said...

I'm currently traveling with Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp's Movin' Out. It's a great show! Come see it if we're in your neck of the woods!

Simply...Gluten-free said...

Yum, I don't bake with grains too much but I am going to have to try this one :)

Karina Allrich said...

Lisa Michelle- Thanks for sharing your creative ideas! I love your additions. Yay.

Katrina- How cool is that? I'll have to look in the paper and see where you're performing (not out here in rural Walmart-land, I bet). ;)

Simply Gluten-Free- These muffins would be fab using some almond flour for part of the flour mix (wish I could!).


briita said...

i have a batch of these in the oven right now! i can't wait until they are done. i have been loving dried cherries right now and was thinking about adding some next time, and maybe changing the allspice to nutmeg. your blog has really inspired me to try experimenting with recipes!! thanks for the inspiration!

Mom said...

These muffins are delicious AND easy! Not a GF tasting thing about them :)

Karina Allrich said...

Briita- Cherries would be delicious! Maybe with a touch of cardamom?

Sue- YAY. That's what we aim for!



~M said...

Hey Karina,

The thought of making these muffins is compelling to me hurry up and finish my work and go home to bake (and make cilantro pesto with pasta)! :P

What are your thoughts on using shredded apples as opposed to diced/chopped? Would you use less or more? I plan to use 3/4 cup buckwheat, 1/4 cup almond meal, 1/4 cup sorghum or brown rice flour (depends on what's in the fridge), and 1/4 cup tapioca, if that matters.

And thanks so much for giving an agave alternative!

Thanks - as always!,

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Yup, life is always good with homemade cinnamon apple muffins.

Karina Allrich said...

Michelle- Because this recipe features apple sauce as part of its structure, I would not shred the fresh apples. Diced chunks of apple will work best. Unless you want the apples to disappear?

Susan- Yes- so true! It's the little things. ;)


~M said...

Yeah, I was thinking that the shredded apples would semi- disappear like the way the shredded carrots do in your amazing quinoa breakfast cake/muffins.

Anyways, the first night I made these I thought that they were just OK. My husband *loved* them since he likes buckwheat, teff, and other whole grain spongy gf flours but I didn't think they were quite sweet enough (I used the recommended amount of agave).

The next morning, I ate another and liked it much better...the flavors settled down like soup, I guess. I've been eating them with cashew butter and raspberry preserves and WOW, they rock, and are almost all gone.

Next, I think, is your banana cake, since I have three large 'nanas in the fridge that are uber ripe. My husband usually eats half a lasagna sized pyrex within the first 24 hours of baking it; it's his favorite of your desserts!

Karina Allrich said...

Hi Michelle- Thanks for your feedback on the agave. I actually made mine with the first choice- brown sugar.

Do you think I should amend the amount of agave suggested to say, 3/4 cup? I might change it to say, "to taste"; many readers prefer less sweetener; but some (like me) need a little more sweet in a treat.

I'm also not a fan of teff- how much did you use?


~M said...

For the agave, I might recommend "1/2-3/4 cup, based on personal preference" or something to that effect. I also think you might want to suggest something to help provide more structure (like the brown sugar would) like upping the xanthan gum or maybe an egg white. Of course, grilling these could help this too!

I didn't use any teff here, though I used 1/4 cup (unblanched) almond meal, 1/4 cup sorghum flour, and left the rest of the dry ingredients as written.

As far as teff - we like pancakes made 1/2 with teff flour and 1/2 with Pamela's; they're especially good with chocolate chips and banana rounds. Speaking of pancakes, I also recommend buckwheat pancakes with smoked salmon slices (and cream cheese for those who can have it); I believe that the original blinis were made of buckwheat. Both make a fabulous breakfast-for-dinner.

Karina Allrich said...

Michelle- I agree re: amount of agave. Cool. The problem with subbing a liquid sweetener for sugar is it will impact the structure. An egg white might help. And perhaps an extra tablespoon or two of flour.

I think every batter is different from day to day- according to the balance of liquid to dry ingredients and the humidity of the day...

I always recommend adjusting batter (more/less liquid/dry as need be).

Yes- blini! Yum. Basically, a buckwheat crepe. I'm going to make some blini in December and blog about it.


~M said...

I can't wait to read about your buckwheat crepes/blini. I recall you also mentioning making a buckwheat polenta did that go? I try to avoid corn and white potatoes so buckwheat polenta sounds SO good and homey - and healthy!

Re: these muffins, I definitely recommend that those using agave skip the apple juice (I didn't add apple juice and still should have added something for additional structural support). :)

Have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving, Karina & Steve!

CDM said...

I decided to break away from Pamela's and give this a go....they were delicious and very easy to make. I didn't have all the flours you called for but used the same measurements (making my own mix of millet, rice, sorghum, and cornstarch). I also loved your use of agave nectar in place of brown sugar. I used 1/2 and 1/2 sugar and agave, but only because I ran out of agave. Thanks for proviging the best GF recipes.

Lauren said...

Just found your website and I wanted to say thank you...I found out a little over a month ago I am allergic to corn and sensitive to wheat, dairy, eggs, and rice (among many other things). Finding recipes have been a challenge but this one was out of this world! To make if corn-free I substituted with featherweight baking powder and used flax seed meal in place of the xantham gum. It was delicious!

Kathy said...

Thanks Karina. This is a great muffin mix. I added dark chocolate chips, and goat yogurt!

alison - said...

Is there anything I could sub for the tapioca starch in this (or other recipes)? I have a friend who lives in Mexico and can only find the following flours:
brown rice
white rice
Would these work together, or is tapioca a must -- she may have to buy some here and bring it down there, along with xanthan gum.
Thanks for your help,

Nadine said...

Wow! Excellent muffins! My 3 year old daughter has to be on a gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, tomato free diet - gee, anything else I'm missing? She helped me make these this morning (minus the allspice) and in the midst of licking the batter off the spoon and bowl, exclaimed " delicious!". They don't even taste gluten-free. Thank you for your recipes and sharing them in your blog!

Anonymous said...

My 10 year old son said this is a keeper!
Trust me he knows the difference.
We have tried many and they were to heavy.
These are light and wonderful!
Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

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