The Perfect School Day Snack:
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (bonus, they’re gluten free!)
As the first day of school approaches, I have one thing on my mind. Not school supplies or first day outfits, will the kids like their teachers?….oh no, nothing as simple as those mundane thoughts. What I’m thinking about is way more important. What I’m thinking about is….muffins. Muffins! I’m a little obsessed with muffins. I love baking all kinds of muffins, that perfect little bite, not quite a cake or a cookie, but something a little healthier, but with just the right amount of sweetness (and I’m not going to lie, sometimes/many times there is even chocolate) to keep you coming back for more.
I’ve always baked a lot of muffins, but last year is when it became a weekly ritual for me. Evan was in first grade and had a later lunch time with a mid morning snack in the class. I just didn’t feel right sending him in with some pretzel sticks or popcorn like I had for his afternoon snack time in kindergarten… it was practically breakfast time! I needed to step it up a notch. My high schooler, Skyler, ended up with a schedule with no lunch period at all, so she needed quick, easy, healthy snacks she could eat on the run. Mini muffins became the snack of choice for both kids, and for me, they made the perfect little bite when I just needed something to tide me over until I had time for a proper breakfast.
These lemon poppy seed muffins are one of our family favorites. I adapted the recipe from Emilie Raffa’s of The Clever Carrot blog. While the original recipe uses a combo of all purpose flour and cornmeal, I chose to make mine gluten free and replaced the all purpose with a combination of brown rice and millet flours, but kept the cornmeal for its taste and crunch. I also cut the amount of sugar from the original, swapped in some coconut oil (love that good fat!), increased the buttermilk and threw in some chia seeds for fun. You can certainly leave out the chia seeds if you like, but my theory is to always add in as many healthy ingredients as possible while still maintaining all the yumminess that keeps them coming back for more.
If you’re new to gluten free baking, I encourage you to try this recipe. I bake with both gluten and gluten free flours and I really like the variety of tastes, textures and nutrients I get from all the different grains. Brown rice flour is easy to find in most supermarkets’ health food or gluten free aisles. Millet flour is a little less common, although I always find it at Whole Foods or order online. Another option is to buy millet seeds which I find in more stores than the flour and mill it yourself in a high speed blender (I find my little bullet blender does a fantastic job).
My lemon poppy seed muffins are lightly sweetened with a tender crumb and a nice little crunch from the cornmeal and poppy and chia seeds. The perfect little something for a school day snack, an early morning bite, or an afternoon tea.
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins – gluten free
½ cup Brown Rice Flour
½ cup Millet Flour
*OR use 1 whole cup of either millet or brown rice flour instead of ½ cup each as above
½ cup corn flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 extra large eggs – room temperature
½ cup natural cane sugar
¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil – either softened or liquid
1 cup buttermilk – room temperature
Juice & zest of 1 – 1 1/2 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1 Tablespoon chia seeds – optional
* I use Organic ingredients whenever possible
Preheat oven to 350° F. Oil about 15 muffin cups OR 12 regular size plus 6-8 mini muffins OR 26-30 mini muffin cups (Options!). Make sure to oil your muffin tins well and skip the paper liners as I find these muffins stick a lot more to the paper than they do the pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (flour through salt), plus the lemon zest.
In a separate bowl, cream together the eggs, sugar and oil. Next add in the buttermilk, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir it all together. * Note if you’re eggs and milk are cold it will cause the coconut oil to firm up a bit, mixing the oil with the sugar and eggs first will help to keep that from happening, but if you do end up with some solid clumps of coconut oil, just keep creaming it together until it softens up.
Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. Lastly add in poppy seeds and chia seeds if using. Pour into your oiled muffin tins, filling about 3/4.
Bake at 350° F for about 17 minutes for regular size muffins & about 10 minutes for minis. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan, then run a butter knife around the edges and remove muffins from the pan. Enjoy!