Linda of Free Range Cookies (while her later site is no longer active, you can still enjoy her original site) is sharing her gluten-free “Starter” Muffins today for our March Muffin Madness event. She says this recipe is very adaptable to your own personal needs and wants. Her gluten-free Starter Muffins are also vegetarian, with an easy dairy-free option. Linda gives you lots of tips to make your gluten-free muffins a success and also offers several lovely ways to make the Pretty Pink Glaze, too. I think she’s a terrific “Muffin Coach”!
Enjoy learning more about Linda and her “Starter” Muffins with Pretty Pink Glaze (see the whole line-up of bloggers, blogs, and muffin recipes here).
Linda shares on her blog Free Range Cookies that she’s a “cookievore.” She defines a cookievore as “Someone who eats primarily cookies to sustain well-being. ” Granted, she does admit to eating some other foods. Hehe.
Linda was diagnosed with celiac disease 12 year ago. She formerly owned a dedicated gluten-free bakery, where she sold more gluten-free bread than anything else.
That is absolutely no surprise to me as Gluten-Free Bread recipes are THE most popular posts on gfe. But it was her bakery’s donuts that won first place in a national contest.
Actually, neither of those facts surprises me as Linda excels at both and there are many examples on her blog, such as: Overnight Rolls (gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and vegan), How to Make Croutons for Bread Stuffing, Chocolate Cake Donuts, and Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts.
I asked Linda to tell you some more tidbits about herself and the following is what she shared:
“I like to play with microwaves.
Bananas are my favorite fast food.
I will never stop looking at gumball machine prizes.
If it doesn’t involve some fun, I’m not interested.”
I’ve known Linda for less than a year, but this small sampling of info captured what I enjoy about her and her recipes. She’s a gifted recipe creator who likes real food—preferably prepared in a quick and easy way—and has a penchant for sweets. Plus, as I’m sure you have already surmised, Linda has a tremendous sense of play and love of life!
~ Gluten-Free Bagels (The Hole Story)
~ Gluten-Free Quinoa Breakfast Cookies
~ Really Great Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (with an extra holiday touch if you wish!)
~ Fudgier Gluten-Free Brownies
Here’s Linda for March Muffin Madness …
Hi, it’s nice to meet you. Sometimes I forget things like that and just start talking only to remember later that saying hello is a good place to start.
Nearly every week, I make gluten-free muffins. Most often, it’s blueberry muffins, because they’re classic and so very recognizable. See, some of my least favorite questions include:
“Tell me again what I’m eating?
Do you have to put seeds in everything?
Is this another experiment?”
Oh, I could go on.
This muffin always scores big. The recipe is very forgiving and can be altered in numerous ways to please eaters of all persuasions.
If I were a coach, here’s how I’d prep a muffin baking team:
- Rotate pans halfway during baking.
- Leave an empty muffin cup in 2 corners. It’s much easier to rotate pans with an empty cup to grasp onto.
- For big bakery-style muffins, fill cupcake liners nearly to the top. Sprinkle with coarse or sparkling sugar for extra oomph.
- Grease the top of muffin pan, to avoid overfilled muffins from sticking.
- Freeze extra muffins to defrost later as needed. Place extra muffins on a cookie sheet and freeze before storing in a container or bag.
- If you bake muffins often, prep the dry ingredients and store in an airtight bag or container to use whenever.
- Practice makes muffins.
How are your brackets doing? Mine is stuffed with awesome looking recipes. Thank you, Shirley, and friends of Shirley, for making March Madness all about muffins.
Linda’s “Starter” Muffins (with Pretty Pink Glaze) Recipe
Gluten-Free “Starter” Muffins (with Pretty Pink Glaze)
Use this recipe as a template for making muffins that your crew will love. Vary the flavor of yogurt (or the substitute you use) or extracts, add fruit – the possibilities are endless. And absolutely delicious!
- 2.5 cups gluten-free flour mix
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon guar gum (or xanthan gum)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup lemon Greek yogurt (see easy subs in notes)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon flavor (optional; see notes)
- Lemon zest to taste
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice (use blood orange juice if you want the pretty pink color)
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place 14 paper liners in muffin pans.
- Combine gluten-free flour, sugar, baking powder, guar gum, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Blend dry ingredients thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, combine eggs, yogurt, oil, applesauce, extracts, flavor, and zest.
- Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and stir well.
- Fill paper-lined muffins nearly to the top. Bake for 23-24 minutes. Let muffins cool slightly before removing from pan onto a cooling rack.
- For glaze, blend orange juice with powdered sugar. Drizzle as needed.
Use your favorite gluten-free all-purpose blend. I’ve used a sorghum flour blend and a rice blend with good results. One easy option is Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend, a fantastic cup-for-cup replacement flour. There is guar gum in the Artisan Blend, so there’s no need to add any additional binder. Add 3-4 extra tablespoons of liquid to the recipe if you use this blend. King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free blend works well, too. It’s a rice flour blend without any gums or binders, so you will need to add the guar gum (or xanthan gum) as noted in the recipe. Be sure to blend the guar gum (or xanthan gum, if you use that) thoroughly with dry ingredients.
Substitute non-dairy Greek yogurt if you like. No yogurt? Substitute soured milk. To sour dairy, hemp, or coconut milk, pour 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice) into a measuring cup and add milk to measure 1/2 cup.
Additions are always a great idea---blueberries (fresh or frozen, unthawed), nuts, chocolate chips---whatever you like. You’ll get a bigger muffin yield with more additions.
Not all lemon extracts are the same. Since Simply Organic lemon flavor is oil based, the flavor is more intense (but not harsh) and better dispersed in baked goods than other extracts. If you can’t find it, leave it out.
Blood orange juice turns the glaze pink naturally. I love blood oranges, but they’re not always available. Beet juice works just as well, if flavor isn't your primary concern. Strawberries, raspberries, and oddly enough, grape juice can add a lovely tint as well. Not muffin related but if you ever want naturally pink lemonade, just add a splash of grape juice!
Originally published March 26, 2014; updated March 21, 2022.
Linda, thank you for this basic recipe! I think I’ve just found yet another blog to follow, since I like people with a sense of humor. And GF as well! Double points!
High fives all around!
Wow, you covered so many bases in your comments and I’m glad to see the hint about replacing lemon juice for the vinegar as so few people seem to know that one. I think this may be the perfect recipe to try those Tapioca Gel eggs I’ve seen on your site.
Oh, if you try the tapioca gel in this recipe, I’d love to hear about your results.
Thanks for giving gluten free muffins the full court press this month, Shirley!
What a great recipe, I love the use of natural ingredients to tint that glaze. Sounds so yummy.
I absolutely love blood orange juice, for the flavor and its pink color!
I know the perfect person to make these with! They are awesome, thanks 🙂
Hope you enjoy them!
susan reed says
this may turn out to be my go to muffin recipe, adapting other recipes to add on to this
Yes! I love adapting a recipe that works, to make other things.
They look supercripy on the outside. I love this.
Good eyes! Add a tablespoon or two of extra sugar (or reserve some from the recipe) and stir into the batter just before filling muffin cups. Gives it a crustier top. This tip was gleaned from either Shirley Corriher or Ina Garten.
What a great idea! I also like sprinkling the tops of muffins with cinnamon sugar (if they’re a sweet muffin, that is).
Pamela Hurlbert says
Looks like a wonderful recipe. Its a good day to bake since its raining.Thank you
These are so pretty. Can’t wait to try them!
These sound yummy! I like the blood orange for frosting, great idea!
Yeah, it’s so simple but truly delicious!
I am going to add blueberries and Raspberries to these muffins! Yummy…Thank You!
These sound good! Thanks for all the hints and tips!
Thanks and you’re welcome!
Very pretty and I’ve got another Blog to follow!
Love this. Can’t wait to try it.
Beautiful. Looks so yummy! It is economical and so professional looking, you could box them or the mix, my grandniece feels better going gluten free, and my niece complains the difference in price for a box of cake mix is unreal, this proves it can be done at a reasonable cost.
Dorothy, I agree! There are many ways to approach gluten free baking – with single flours like almond, mixing a batch of flours at home, or using an all purpose commercial blend. I like Pamela’s Artisan Flour because it performs well as a cup-for-cup replacement and is very reasonably priced – $4.99 for a 24 oz. bag here.
Thanks for the extra notes
Cindy W. says
These muffins sound wonderful. Thank you for sharing the recipe!
Thanks to Shirley for letting me share it here!
Charlotte Moore says
These sure look good. Have you ever used Jules GF flour?
I haven’t. But looking at the list of ingredients, I’m guessing it would work fine in this recipe. Leave out the guar gum, of course. And it may need additional liquid (say 3 TB or so) to “loosen up” the batter.
[email protected] says
oh yum, I love citrus, and these look rocking! Pinned, will try to make them egg free!
Excellent, I love it when recipes get tweaked to fit more needs!
Molly (Sprue Story) says
Very helpful template recipe! Great list of “least favorite questions,” too. Hoo, boy.
Thank you, Molly. I bet we’ve all heard some real gems . . .
These muffins look so nice a pretty. Another GF recipe for my file to try.
Linda S says
These look beautiful and delicious, too! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for this wonderful starter recipe. It looks like the perfect base recipe for me. I am very excited to try my first batch.
Love that these are naturally colored. What terrific suggestions for avoiding food coloring!!
Cheryl Harris says
Love the idea of using blood orange juice. I never would have thought of using that for the glaze!
Janis S says
thanks for another muffing recipe to try!
Thanks for all your extra tips! Very nice to know. And also for mentioning the Pamela’s Artisan Flour. I will definitely be on the lookout for that! This recipe will be a good one for a base.
These look so pretty. Love your muffin baking tips.
I can’t wait to make these ( going to make them today)!! DH and I are muffin ADDICTS. We love anything MUFFIN! Thanks for MMM, Shirley…Wonder what kind of muffins to make for Supper!
Wow what pretty muffins! Between the pink and the lemon, my daughters will love these!
Can’t wait to try these!
Very creative with the recipes. Thank you!
[email protected] says
I made these for. Real fast this morning, a cinnamon sugar variation that was delicious! I made them vegan. Here is how I personalized them:
I used 1 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup each millet, sweet rice flour, tapioca.
Left the eggs put, added 1/4 cup coconut milk (knew the applesauce and yogurt were enough binding)
Used light olive oil
Used 1/2 cup palm sugar and 1/8 t stevia powder.
Used coconut milk yogurt and left all lemon out
Really good, thank you!
Mary Tokar says
Great for a snack!
These look amazing!
Lewann Rice says
What a great starter recipe!
Laura O| Petite Allergy Treats says
These look great. The yogurt keeps them moist too!
Blood orange juice makes the glaze pink?! Neat!
Tamara Hamilton says
Oh wow This is perfect. So many variations to try too. Thanks bunches
Tracy mann says
Thanks for so many helpful muffin tips overall! I love that I can play with this recipe. Fun and trial baking go hand in hand! 😀
These look cute! Seriously, who would’ve thought a CUTE muffin! lol
Love the citrus flare in the batter & glaze.
Lori Lewis says
So pretty & love that they’re so healthy! Never would have guessed blood orange juice for that lovely glaze! Thanks for the recipe!
Perfect! I’ve been needing a good GF muffin base recipe 🙂
[email protected] says
featuring these tasty muffins this week on AFW, I loved them!
Awww, thanks, Tessa! Linda will be delighted to see the feature and that you love her muffins so much, too! 🙂
Donna Gawson says
These sound delicious, and I will be trying your recipe. A problem I have with my current recipe is that the muffins stick to the cupcake liners – badly. I’ve been using oat flour as my gf flour. What’s your advice on avoiding this besides not using liners at all? Thanks!