I’ve gone on a little bit of a sweet breakfast kick the last couple weeks or so, obsessively making everything from gluten-free muffins to pancakes to granola bars – I just can’t stop!
Since I don’t eat baked breakfast goods on a regular basis, I find it so fun sometimes to just change things up and create dishes that are different from my usual repertoire of egg whites and flaxseed oatmeal – I know, so boring! It is just such a fun challenge for me to invent healthy ways to eat baked items and a task that I like to take on every now and then!
These Blueberry Lemon and Thyme Muffins are my latest breakfast kick creation. Bursting with fresh juicy blueberries and bright citrus flavor, these muffins are probably one of my favorite baked breakfast recipes that I’ve done. In addition to the blueberries and lemon, I also add lovely and lemony fresh thyme into the batter, creating a beautiful herbal flavor and unexpected twist to the muffins.
Now don’t let these scrumptious treats fool you, they are still incredibly healthy – though you would never know it by the taste! The largest factor that makes these muffins healthy is that there is no butter in this recipe! To keep them moist and tender without any butter I use fat-free Greek Yogurt and – another unexpected twist – extra-virgin olive oil. I absolutely love the subtle hint of grassy/slightly fruity undertones that the olive oil imparts on these muffins. These Blueberry Lemon and Thyme muffins have such a great well-rounded flavor, you’ll have to bake a batch every week just to keep up with the family demand!
To create these muffins you will need organic eggs, extra-virgin olive oil, fat-free organic Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, Splenda, lemon zest, lemon juice, gluten-free oat flour (store-bought or home-ground in a blender), gluten-free almond flour, kosher salt, baking powder, baking soda, fresh (or frozen) blueberries, fresh thyme, and Demerara sugar.
On a complete side note – I’m so bummed that Academia Barilla has discontinued all of their wonderful olive oils, including my absolute favorite Monte Iblei (their bold flavored Sicilian version) – I’ve been a loyal fan for years and years. I’ve been using the Whole Foods Sicily brand in the interim and it’s been nice but if anyone has any recommendations on bold grassy Sicilian olive oils let me know…I’m in the market 🙂 Ok back to the recipe…
Good news is that this is a pretty easy recipe to put together – no need for an electric mixer or a hundred different mixing bowls!
First preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, extra-virgin olive oil and the Greek yogurt until emulsified.
Whisk the vanilla extract and the Splenda into the batter.
Next whisk in the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Add the kosher salt, baking soda and baking powder to the bowl and whisk until everything is combined. (You will see the batter begin to fizzle from the baking powder.)
Add the oat flour and the almond flour, lightly whisking the mixture until just combined. Do not over mix.
In a small bowl set aside about 30 blueberries and several sprigs of thyme to place on the tops of the muffin batter cups before baking.
To the batter, add the (unreserved) minced fresh thyme. Lightly fold the mixture with a spatula until evenly dispersed. Again make sure that you left several thyme sprigs behind to sprinkle over the tops of each batter cup.
Next are the blueberries! Now these muffins will work well with either fresh or frozen blueberries – although I do prefer using fresh ones.
Reminder – Before adding to the batter, make sure to set aside about 30 berries to place over the tops of the muffin batter cups.
If you’re using frozen blueberries do not defrost them – just throw the berries right into the batter frozen, as defrosting them will cause the juices to bleed into the batter when folding.
If you’re using fresh blueberries, dredge them in a tablespoon of gluten-free oat flour before adding them into the batter. This will keep the berries from sinking to the bottom when placed in the muffin tin liners. (You don’t need to do this for the frozen berries, they almost freeze in place which is kind of cool!)
Line each of the muffins tins with parchment baking cups (liners) and spoon the delicious batter evenly amongst the 12 tins. Sprinkle each of the batter cups with several of the reserved blueberries and cut up thyme sprigs.
Lastly sprinkle the Demerara sugar – which is unbelievably delicious as well as beautiful – over the tops of each uncooked batter cup. (I only use 1/4-1/2 teaspoon per muffin.) As the muffins bake the sugar will create a lovely glistening muffin crust over the top which will yield a delicious and crunchy texture contrast to these moist pillowy muffins.
Bake the muffins in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they turn a lovely golden hue and, when inserted, a toothpick comes out with clean crumbles.
Note: Baked items used with Gluten-Free products don’t rise as much as regular all-purpose flour due to the lack of gluten. So don’t get nervous when you see that, I can assure you that they taste just as good. If you are bothered by it then you can try adding 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum which is a plant-based thickening and stabilizing agent which basically acts similar to gluten. I’ve never used it but have heard good things about it giving that extra volume in some baked goods.
Remove the muffin pan from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 MINUTES MAXIMUM before transferring them to either a wire rack or a large plate lined with a paper towel. (You don’t want to leave the muffins to cool in the pan too long because the steam inside the muffins will become trapped as they sit in the pan tins, which will result in an unappetizing wet muffin bottom and inside.)
You can store these muffins in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator and up to a month in the freezer.
Depending on the season – or when I get bored – I love to mix up the berries that I put in the muffins. For instance right now strawberries are in season so I will oftentimes sub out the blueberries and thyme for fresh cut strawberries! Instead of the Demerara sugar I will sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar for a different look and taste. One thing to note is that you may have to bake the strawberry version for a couple more minutes since they hold more water than blueberries. Everything else is the same – just make sure to cut the strawberries into small cubes so they fit in the tins. (Also make sure to dredge them in a little gluten-free oat flour as well to help with sinking and to absorb some of that extra water.)
- 2 extra-large organic eggs
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup fat-free Greek yogurt (brand: Wallaby 0% fat)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (brand: Nieslen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract)
- 1 cup Splenda
- Zest of 2 lemons
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup gluten-free oat flour (store-bought or home-ground in blender)
- 1 cup gluten-free almond flour (brand: Bob's Red Mill)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
- 1 pint fresh (or frozen) blueberries
- Demerara sugar (or other decorative coarse sugar)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, extra-virgin olive oil and Greek yogurt until emulsified.
- Whisk in vanilla extract and Splenda.
- Whisk in lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Whisk in kosher salt, baking soda and baking powder.
- Lightly whisk oat flour and almond flour into batter until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Set aside about 30 blueberries and several sprigs of thyme to place on top of the muffin batter cups.
- Add minced thyme to batter bowl.
- Dredge blueberries in 1tablespoon of oat flour then add to batter and thyme. Fold berries and thyme into batter until evenly combined. (NOTE: If using frozen blueberries do not defrost them - just throw berries directly into the batter frozen, as defrosting them will cause the juices to bleed into the batter when folding. Do not dredge frozen blueberries in flour.)
- Line muffin pan with muffin cups (liners).
- Spoon batter evenly amongst muffin cups.
- Place extra (reserved) blueberries and cut thyme over tops of batter cups. Sprinkle Demerara sugar over tops of batter, blueberries and thyme. (1/4-1/2 teaspoon per batter cup).
- Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden and a toothpick, when inserted, comes out with clean crumbles.
- Remove muffins from oven and allow to COOL IN PAN FOR 5 MINUTES MAXIMUM before transferring muffins to either a wire rack or large plate lined with paper towels.
- Store muffins in airtight container in refrigerator for up to a week or in freezer for up to a month.