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Gluten-Free Rocky Road Muffins

MAKES 12

A crunchy-crisp top and a chewy-gooey surprise in the middle make these allergy-friendly muffins taste like pure indulgence. They can be made dairy-free and egg-free with excellent results (see instructions below).

2 cups Brown Rice Flour Blend  
2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder 
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon baking soda 
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar 
3 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
⅔ cup gluten-free semisweet chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
¾ cup gluten-free marshmallow fluff or crème
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (if tolerated) or sunflower seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour blend, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt.

3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla for 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, beat in buttermilk until well blended.

4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until well blended. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

5. Divide half the batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Spoon 1 tablespoon  marshmallow fluff into the center of each cup. Top with the remaining batter. Sprinkle with walnuts or seeds.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool.

Each muffin contains 375 calories, 17g total fat, 11g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 54mg cholesterol, 261mg sodium, 54g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 5g protein.

TIP Most brands of marshmallow fluff or crème are gluten-free but check the label carefully to be certain.

For Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Rocky Road Muffins:

1. Omit 3 eggs. Add 6 tablespoons arrowroot to dry ingredients and mix well.

2. Replace buttermilk with coconut milk but reduce amount to ½ cup. Then add 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to coconut milk.

3. Replace marshmallow fluff with regular marshmallows or vegan marshmallows. Use a total of 3 regular-size marshmallows for this recipe. Cut each one into 4 pieces, using one piece in each muffin. If using tiny marshmallows, use only two per muffin. Marshmallows will swell and may burst muffins if too much marshmallow is used. 

4. Use dairy-free, allergy-friendly chocolate chips, available from Enjoy Life Foods (enjoylifefoods.com).

5. When testing for doneness, insert a toothpick into the side of the muffin, avoiding the center. Muffin is done when toothpick comes out clean. If muffins are not done, cover them loosely with foil and bake 5 to 7 minutes more until done.

Brown Rice Flour Blend

MAKES 3 CUPS

2 cups finely ground brown rice flour
⅔ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
⅓ cup tapioca starch/flour

For 2 cups of Flour Blend: 
1⅓ cups finely ground brown rice flour
7 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons potato starch (not potato flour) 
3 tablespoons + 1½ tapioca starch/flour  

In a bowl, whisk together brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. Use as directed in recipe.

Excerpted from 150 Best Gluten-Free Muffin Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Adapted by Madalene Rhyand, director of  Living Without's test kitchen.

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