Anything Goes Fruit Muffins

Anyone doing some isolation baking right now?  Or anyone trying to, but the grocery store shelves are rather bare?  With the current situation in mind, we’ve created a muffin recipe that is more like a format, where you can swap things in and out.  If you have kids, this substitution game can be a pretty fun scavenger hunt of what you have on hand.  Also, pull out all the festive cupcake/muffin paper liners.  The small things help right now as we all adjust to a very different normal.  Hope this brings a little sanity and happiness to your life.  Baking is pretty good therapy.

Usually, we give our recipe measurements in grams, and then in cup/spoon measures as well.  However, in order to make this recipe as versatile as possible, for substitutions, liquids will be given in fluid ounces, and some add ins, like fruit and nuts, will be given in cup measures.  Also, dry sweeteners (sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar) will be given in cup measure because they all weigh different amounts.

Let’s start with our wet ingredients first.  There are three main ones.  

  1. A milk of some kind.  This can be buttermilk, regular milk, non-dairy milk, canned coconut milk.  Or you can thin out some plain whole fat or low fat yogurt or sour cream with one of the above mentioned liquids or even a little water until it is the consistency of buttermilk or kefir and use that.  
  2. Egg.  You just need one.  It is hard to replace.  But if you need to, flax seed or chia seed will work in recipes like this where there is only one egg to replace.  For chia seed “egg”: Mix 1 Tbsp. chia seeds with 3 Tbsp. water and let sit at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.  Use to replace one egg.  For flax seed “egg”: Mix 1 Tbsp. finely ground flax seeds with 3 Tbsp. water.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes.  Use to replace 1 egg.
  3. Fat.  This can be butter, oil, lard, even vegan butter.  For oils, just remember to stick to neutral flavored oils that are suitable for baking with, such as vegetable oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil.  This fat will need to be in a liquid state for mixing, so butter, lard, coconut oil will need to be melted.  
  4. Additional:  Vanilla extract.  If you have it, use it and put it in with the wet ingredients.  If you want to use another extract like almond or lemon, I suggest using only 1/2 tsp. of those.  They are stronger in flavor than vanilla extract and sometimes overpower a recipe.  If you don’t have any extract at all, we’ll talk spices with dry ingredients.  The other additional would be honey in place of sugar.  If you want to use honey instead of sugar, put it in with the wet ingredients.  Also if using honey, it is crucial for your other wet ingredients to be room temperature.  Cold ingredients will make the honey seize up and become hard to mix in.

Now for the dry ingredients.

  1. Flour.  This by far seems to be what people are having the hardest time finding.  Straight up all purpose flour that one would typically use to make a batch of muffins.  You can use cake flour, whole wheat flour, gluten free flour, spelt flour, barley flour.  You can even use finely ground semolina flour or bread flour.  A muffin batter doesn’t get mixed enough to develop a lot of gluten so it doesn’t matter as much.  And if you’d like to try heartier flours like rye or buckwheat, I would suggest only replacing about 1/3 to 1/2 of the flour called for with those because they have a very strong flavor.  The same goes for oat flour, not because it has a strong taste, but because it has a different texture once baked.  
  2. Salt/baking powder/baking soda.  I’m leaving this as is.  I haven’t had trouble finding these in any of the grocery stores where I live.  
  3. Sweetener.  If using honey, we discussed that in the wet ingredients above.  Swapping out a dry sugar for honey will make a wetter batter, but it won’t affect the outcome of a good muffin with this recipe.  So don’t fret.  You can use regular sugar, brown sugar, muscovado sugar, coconut sugar, sucanat, sucanat with honey (aka honey granules).
  4. Flavoring.  For dry spices, just use your judgement and taste.  Both cinnamon and cardamom would use about 1 1/2 tsp.  For stronger spices like ginger or nutmeg, I recommend using only 1/2 tsp.  For cloves, only 1/4 tsp.  Also, don’t forget citrus zest.  Use the fresh zest of 1 lemon, lime or orange and add it in with the dry ingredients.  Spices and flavorings are especially important if using gluten free flour, because they tend to taste flat.  Also, this is the time to think outside of the box.  Use those spices you might not normally use in sweet baking.  Rosemary pairs really well with raisins and figs.  Coriander goes with blueberries.  A little fresh basil chopped up would brighten up any berries.

And then last, but certainly not least, the fruit!  And anything else you might want to add, like nuts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes.

  1. For fresh, small fruit such as blueberries, they can be left whole.  Everything else, small dice.  For frozen, same rules as fresh, but thaw and drain.  And throw that liquid in a smoothie or something.  Same goes for canned.  Drain, and use liquid for something else: smoothie, popsicle, sanity saving cocktail or mocktail.  Chop up any big chunks of canned fruit.  And then for dry fruit, if the pieces are big, such as dates or mango, just give it a quick chop.
  2. Extras.  Nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, chocolate bars, coconut flakes.  Whatever it is, just make sure it is somewhat bite size.  Cut those chocolate bars up, give those whole walnuts a rough chop.  For poppy seeds and sesame seeds, I recommend using only about 2 Tbsp. to 1/4 cup.  For sunflower seeds, pepitas, nuts and coconut flakes, 1/2 to 3/4 cup.  Chocolate chips, as many as you want or need!! 

I hope this has helped.  Obviously everyone is going to have access to different things at this time, but I’ve tried to cover as many substitutions as possible and still have the recipe work.  

If you have a disher, this is extremely helpful for muffin batter.  Even distribution.  

With all the substitutions, these muffins will take anywhere from 15-18 minutes to bake.  Make sure the centers are set.  Test with a toothpick in the middle to make sure they are done.

Let us know if you have any questions or comments, or can help you with any substitution questions on our other blog recipes.  Stay safe and sane out there everyone.  Happy baking!  

Anything Goes Fruit Muffins

Made with spelt and rye flour, buttermilk, vegan butter, regular sugar, chai spice blend and fresh apples.
Made with cake flour, regular milk, regular butter, honey, dried cranberries, pistachios, and fiori di sicilia (citrus and vanilla extract)
Made with gluten free flour, coconut milk, canned crushed pineapple, coconut and grape seed oil, brown sugar and fresh lime zest.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

1 large egg, room temperature 

    • Substitutions: 1 Tbsp. chia seeds OR 1 Tbsp. finely ground flax seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp. water and allowed to sit for at least 30 minutes.  

58 g. (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted

    • Substitutions: 4 fluid ounces of any of the following: vegan butter, coconut oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, lard.  Just make sure fat is in liquid form (melt if necessary) and use oils that are suitable for baking with.

260 g. (8 fl. oz.) buttermilk, room temperature

    • Substitutions: 8 fluid ounces, room temperature, of any of the following: milk, non dairy milks, canned coconut milk, kefir, yogurt or sour cream thinned out with water to make pourable consistency (kefir or buttermilk consistency).

5 g. (1 tsp.) vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

    • Substitutions: 1/2 tsp. almond, citrus or rum extract.  1/4 tsp. peppermint extract.
    • Spices to go with various fruits: 2 tsp. chai spice blend.  1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, cardamom or coriander.  1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ginger or rosemary.  1/4 tsp. ground cloves.  1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh herbs.
    • Citrus zest: fresh zest of 1 lime, lemon, small orange or 1/2 grapefruit.

114 g. (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

    • Substitutions: 4 fluid ounces honey, OR 1/2 cup of any of the following: coconut sugar, sucanat, sucanat with honey (aka honey granules), muscovado sugar (packed), light or dark brown sugar (packed). 

270 g. (2 1/4 cup) all purpose flour

    • Substitutions: Replace with equal amounts of cake flour, whole wheat flour, bread flour, spelt flour, barley flour, finely ground semolina flour, or gluten free measure for measure flour.  If wanting to use buckwheat, rye or oat flour, replace 1/3 to 1/2 of amount, along with another flour.

8 g. (2 tsp.) baking powder

2 g. (1/2 tsp.) baking soda

3 g. (3/4 tsp.) kosher salt 

1 1/4 cup peeled and diced fresh fruit

    • Substitutions: 1 cup dried fruit (chopped if necessary).  1 1/4 cup frozen fruit, thawed and drained.  8 oz. canned fruit, drained (chop if necessary).  If using banana, use 1 cup mashed bananas and decrease buttermilk/milk by 2 ounces. 

Extras: add in 3/4 cup chopped nuts/pepitas/sunflower seeds, 2 Tbsp. – 1/4 cup sesame seeds or poppy seeds, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 3/4 cup chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate bar.   

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Grease a standard size 12 cup muffin tin, or line with cupcake/muffin liners.

In the plastic whipping bowl with the single wire whisks, add the egg, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract.  If using honey instead of sugar, add it in as well.  Mix together thoroughly on medium (3 o’clock) speed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and any dry spices, fresh herbs or fresh citrus zest.

Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and mix on low speed (1 o’clock) just until almost combined.  Add in fruit and any extras (nuts, chocolate chips) and mix just until combined.

Evenly distribute batter between the 12 muffin cups and bake for 15-18 minutes, until centers are set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove and serve warm or let cool further.

Yield: 12 muffins

Published by

Carmi Adams

Carmi Adams has loved cooking from a very early age; requesting fondue pots and cookbooks for birthdays as a child. She further pursued her passion for food at the Art Institute of Atlanta and obtained a degree in Culinary Arts. Carmi landed a job on the show Good Eats, which aired on the Food Network. For seven years she did everything from food research, recipe development and testing, product testing to feeding a hungry film crew. Now living in the central coast of California, Carmi enjoys the bounty of agriculture, vineyards and farmers markets at her culinary disposal. She has been using the Ankarsrum mixer for over 15 years and feels that it is hands-down the best on the market for home cooks.