Gluten Free Maple Molasses Muffins

Molasses muffin trifecta

When I was growing up in the 80s there were two kinds of muffins, maybe three. Corn, bran, and blueberry. I’m talking about when you went out to eat at a diner, which was something I loved doing on weekends with my family. Back then people seemed to equate bran to health. Apparently there was an actual fad (who knew? I surely didn’t when I started writing this) that was based on a study that claimed oat bran could drastically lower cholesterol.

Turns out it was wrong.

Which is not all that surprising considering this was the same era that thought eggs were the devil’s spawn and health advocates pushed chemical laden margarine over natural butter. It’s very sad and somewhat embarrassing to admit this, but I spent the first two and half decades of my life thinking butter was not only bad for you, but “gross.” Oh, the ignorance of youth!

Clearly, I have amended my opinion about butter.

Clearly, I have amended my opinion about butter.

Anyway… back then I vacillated between bran and corn, depending on my mood and how “healthy” I felt like being, which wasn’t very considering my go-to breakfast was a strawberry frosted pop tart. Picking bran made me feel good, though, and in my memory they were tasty.

So when I saw a recipe for a gluten free cornmeal molasses muffin in the New York Times, it really brought me back. There’s no actual bran in these, but they are brown with a subtle sweetness.

The first time I made these I burnt them slightly (my oven is ludicrously hot even with a thermometer) and not sweet at all. Probably because they have NO sugar. None. Zippo. I guess the molasses counts, but it made the muffins a little hardcore. Still, I liked them with honey poured on top and Little Guy devoured them!

My muffin sharing little man.

My muffin sharing little man.

Poor Bunky got a glimpse after school and, equating brown for chocolate, got very excited until I explained the no sugar thing. It was like watching a balloon deflate. My husband also steered clear of them, sugar hound that he is, but I enjoyed them, and suspected they’d be even better with some tweaking, namely some maple syrup.

And I was right! They are still super healthy and only subtly sweet, so I feel good about eating them and giving them to Little Guy. By the way, did you know how great blackstrap molasses is for you? Full of iron and calcium and other good stuff.

Here’s my adaptation below, based very much on the New York Times recipe. You could totally fold in raisins at the very end, as the original author did, but I have a near phobic aversion to cooked raisins so I did not. Feel free to go your own way here. It’s cool.

Powdered sugar helps the molasses go down.

Powdered sugar helps the molasses go down.
But mostly it makes it look pretty.

Maple Molasses Muffins: An 80s Remix


  • 140 grams cornmeal (approximately 1 cup)
  • 175 grams whole grain or all purpose gluten free flour mix* (approx 1 + 1/4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 240 grams (1 cup) low fat yogurt (I used 2% Greek Fage brand)
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup grams maple syrup
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 75 grams (1/3 cup) canola or grape seed oil
  • 75 grams (1/2 cup) raisins, very optional
* For the flour, I used my new almost whole grain blend, which is 60% whole grains (millet and sorghum) and 40% starches (sweet rice and potato starch).
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the middle. Oil or butter muffin tins. Sift together the cornmeal, gluten-free flour mix, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Pour in any grainy bits that remain in the sifter.
*Full disclosure, I only sifted the cornmeal because I was holding Little Guy and my arm got tired. I suspect sifting is optional, because mine tasted just fine. But use your discretion.

2. In a separate large bowl whisk the eggs with the yogurt, molasses, vanilla and oil. Quickly whisk in the cornmeal mixture. Fold in the raisins – if you dare!

3. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, fill muffin cups to the top. Place in the oven and bake 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned and well risen. Remove from the heat and if the muffins come out of the tins easily, remove from the tins and allow to cool on a rack. If they don’t release easily, allow to cool and then remove from the tins.

Makes 12 muffins.

According to the original recipe, these keep for a couple of days out of the refrigerator, for a few more days in the refrigerator, and for a few months in the freezer.

Serve with honey and/or butter on top. Powdered sugar is nice too. Also works au natural alongside a nice cup of tea.

molasses muffin dissected

I’m happy to have shared this post at the Gluten-Free Friday’s link up party hosted by Vegetarian Mamma. Click the link to find more great GF recipes!


It’s also posted on One Creative Weekend, hosted by One Creative Mommyand Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. * Please note, that the recipes on these two link-ups will NOT all be gluten free, so be sure to read carefully.


DIY Gluten Free Flour Blend

Gluten free flour

If you told me a year ago I’d be dabbling in the whole DIY gluten free flour thing I’d have laughed. In disbelief. I imagine my last year’s self saying something like, “I have enough to keep me busy thank you very much,” and perhaps throwing in an eye roll for emphasis.

But time and experience have shifted my perception. Making your own GF flour blend is not hard, but you do have to feel ready. If you’re new to GF or even if you’re not new, but perfectly comfortable buying a ready-made blend, then stop reading now. Or rather, keep reading, just ignore my flour making advice.

Last summer I wrote two posts about GF flour in a critically acclaimed series called So Many Flours, So Little Time, Parts 1 and 2. In the first I talk about all the genuine fear involved (so you know that’s where I was back then) and in the second, I give some advice and offer a bunch of helpful links including those on my GF Flour page.

But check me out now! I’m all gluten free girl-ing it up around here. Those flours below, clockwise starting with the yellowish one are: millet, sweet rice (which is a starch), teff, and sorghum. All are in my GF flour blend, except for the brown teff which I added just cause it’s pretty.

Gluten free flour 2

Please don’t think I’m nuts. I may be slightly insane due to extreme sleep deprivation, but I am genuinely excited about gluten free flour. Fine, I’m crazy.

I was inspired by a great video from Gluten Free Girl about how to make an all-purpose GF flour. She recently wrote another one about making a whole grain version.

First you need a scale to weigh the flours. Don’t be scared! I love my scale. Love it. (Though if I knew it came in red I totally would have gotten that one.) Want to know the best thing about using a scale? Less dirty dishes. No joke. Instead of using a bunch of measuring cups and spoons, you weigh everything right into one bowl. If someone had told me that little secret, I might have bought a scale sooner.

Here’s how you do it, ala GF Girl’s video: 40% gluten free whole grains, 60% white flours/starches. Pick the ones you want, weigh them, shake it all up, and voila. Done.

*For a healthier/heartier version, use 60% whole grains and 40% white flours/starches. I’ve been doing this recently and it has been a big success. Or even 70-30. Experiment!

GF flour on scale

Before I shook it up so you can see all the layers of different flours.

I followed Shauna’s directions using her suggested grains (200 grams of sorghum flour, 200 grams of millet flour, 300 grams of sweet rice flour, and 300 grams of potato starch) because that’s how I roll. I’m a direction follower, can’t help myself. Switch it up if you want to do 60% whole grain 40% starches. Easy peasy.

my gluten free flours

But you can do any combo of these grains/starches:


brown rice flour
buckwheat flour
corn flour
mesquite flour
millet flour
oat flour
quinoa flour
sorghum flour
sweet potato flour
teff flour


arrowroot flour
potato flour
potato starch
sweet rice flour
tapioca flour
white rice flour

NUT FLOURS (these would count as whole grains)

almond flour
chestnut flour
coconut flour
hazelnut flour

Here is what I love about making my own flour blend – it’s up to ME. This is also exactly what scared me at first. Um, it’s up to me? What the heck do I know? Well, nearly two years into this whole gluten free thing and I feel like I know a decent amount. Certainly not everything, that will never happen, but more than I did before. Enough to make my own blend and use it in these delicious pumpkin pancakes.

gluten free pumpkin pancakes

The other thing I love is that it’s healthier. That’s right! Take that gluten eaters. In my family’s pre-celiac days, I used to try to bake using whole wheat flour. My husband hated when I did this. He begged me to please, pretty please, with refined sugar poured on top, use the bleached white stuff. Because often when I used whole wheat it turned everything into unappetizing leaden blobs. Now, I admit I’m not the best or most experienced baker, and that better baked goods made from whole wheat gluten flour is certainly possible, but to me it’s EASIER and HEALTHIER to use gluten free flours like teff, buckwheat, millet and sorghum (to name just a few).

I like baking even more when I can feel good about the ingredients that are going into the bellies of Bunky and Little Guy. And my picky husband who hated whole wheat flour in baked goods, loves what I make with the whole grain gluten free stuff. Like these banana chocolate chip muffins. They don’t last more than two days around here. And that’s if I hide them.

Feel like you need a bit more help or encouragement? Check out this fantastic post by my friend Kristine over at Thank Heavens. She offers her own recipe blend and gives some great descriptions of GF flours.

Go forth and experiment! If I can do it, anyone can. Seriously.

I’m happy to have shared this post at the Gluten-Free Friday’s link up party hosted by Vegetarian Mamma. Click the link to find more great GF recipes!


It’s also posted on One Creative Weekend, hosted by One Creative Mommyand Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. * Please note, that the recipes on these two link-ups will NOT all be gluten free, so be sure to read carefully.