Gluten Free Glazed Meyer Lemon Muffins filled with Slow Roasted Balsamic Red Wine Strawberry Jam: A Gluten Free Ratio Rally Post

by Irvin on April 6, 2011 · 56 comments

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Gluten Free Glazed Meyer lemon Muffins filled with Slow Roasted Balsamic Red Wine Strawberry Jam

By now, if you follow my blog, you’ve read about my slow roasted strawberries in balsamic vinegar and red wine. You’ve read about me using them for the Bake Sale for Japan and creating the Lemon Honey Slow Roasted Strawberry Cheesecake Bars inspired by the Japanese Flag. But I alluded to a second item I created for the bake sale. Well, the second item was in fact a gluten free item, something I’ve been tinkering with for our Gluten Free Ratio Rally. After a couple of flops in the kitchen department (yes, I make flops) I finally created something worth blogging about, Gluten Free Glazed Meyer Lemon Muffins filled with Slow Roasted Balsamic Red Wine Strawberry Jam.

Gluten Free Glazed Meyer lemon Muffins filled with Slow Roasted Balsamic Red Wine Strawberry Jam

Now everyone likes a good bake sale. But not everyone can eat everything at a bake sale. Luckily, here in San Francisco, there’s a number of “alternative” bakers that bake for all walks of life, whether it’s vegan, healthy living, or gluten free. But since the Gluten Free Ratio Rally was coming up, with the theme around quick breads and muffins, I thought I would tinker with the ratio and come up with a decent muffin worth selling for a good cause (the bake sale total, by the way, is currently at $124,120.38 which is amazing).

Bake Sale for Japan

Bake Sale for Japan

Bake Sale for Japan

What is the Gluten Free Ratio Rally? It’s a group of bloggers that have banned together to create original recipes based on ratios, (or percentages of ingredients), that allow for near infinite variations. When you bake gluten free, you aren’t confined to just all purpose wheat flour, you get to play with numerous types of flours, that all bring something different to the recipe. The ratio itself helps you substitute flours. For examples, you run out of rice flour, you can substitute the same amount of sorghum or quinoa flour and you’ll get a similar resulting baked good (though probably a different flavor as each flour has it’s own flavor profile). Ratios help free you from recipes. Or, conversely, help you create you own. This month’s Gluten Free Ratio Rally is hosted by Silvana over at Silvana’s Kitchen, where we tasked to create our own quick breads or muffins.


The original ratio that we were given was from Michael Ruhman’s book Ratio. It’s a great book, but sadly the ratio gave me baked goods that tasted more like cake than muffins. What’s the difference? Well muffins have a rougher bigger crumb, and cakes have a softer more delicate crumb. A good muffin to me, has a bit of a bite, something to chew on (without being tough or dry) while a good cake is soft and sweet, and melts in your mouth. And perhaps it was the flours I used initially, but the first recipe I worked with had a great soft texture, but with a more molasses tang to it than I wanted for a sweet lemon muffin and the batter was way too thin to actually hold the strawberry filling.

Muffin close up

The crumb of this muffin isn't as delicate as cake and can hold strawberry jam.

So it was back to the drawing board. Someone in the group had posted the ratio from the Gisslen Professional Baking book – the same book that I am slowly trying to work my way through. It uses more flour in the ratio than the Ruhlman one. Sounds like a promising start.

lemon muffin test

Test run #1, didn't work out, despite it seeming promising.

Turns out I liked the Gisslen ratio much better. I used gluten free certified oat flour, which is one of those flours that not everyone can tolerate in the gluten free world. But the beauty of the ratio, is that you can sub your own flours in if you can’t do oat. What I like about oat though, is that it gives you the bite and chew of a breakfast muffin that I was looking for. Rounding it out I used a neutral flavored white rice flour and some corn starch.

One the issues with gluten free baking, of course, is that it doesn’t have gluten in it. Some people use xanthan gum or guar gum to substitute for the gluten, but lately I’ve been trying to figure out a way to bake gluten free without the gums. I like the idea of natural ingredients that add something to the mix, not just stickiness. But I didn’t want to use flax seeds as it give a nuttiness that usually I like, but not with this muffin. The chia seed probably would have been a good mix if I had made these into lemon poppyseed muffins, as the black chia seeds would have been hidden between the poppyseeds. Sadly I was out of poppy seeds.

bowl of Meyer lemons

So I used a little trick of mine, that I discovered a year ago. I used an extra egg yolk instead. The lecithin in the egg yolk helps bind the flours together in a natural way, helping the natural gumminess of the oats stick the muffin crumb together. Both the white rice flour and the cornstarch are fairly neutral in flavor as well, letting the Meyer lemon and slow roasted strawberry flavors come through.

The best part of the muffins for me though, was when I decided I wanted to make the muffins a little bit special. We eat with our eyes first, and then our mouths, as they always say, and I was hoping the muffins would stand out a little bit in what was sure to be a crowded bake sale. Oh boy, was it a super crowded bake sale!

Gluten Free Glazed Meyer lemon Muffins filled with Slow Roasted Balsamic Red Wine Strawberry Jam

But how do you take the lowly muffin and make it extra special? I’m trying not to make my baked goods utterly ridiculously overloaded with ingredients and flavors. Yes, I know I have a habit of doing that with my recipes. But I do want to make all my recipes just a touch more unique. I guess that meant making a lemon glaze AND some carmelized candied Meyer lemons slices for a decorative touch.

I love Meyer lemons. They have that gorgeous perfumey sweet scent when you slice into them. AJ affectionately calls them L’oranges because their flavor is a cross between a lemon an orange with just a hint of floral honey. I haven’t used a lot of them this season, mostly because I’ve been trying to keep up with our lemon tree in our backyard, but when I saw the gorgeous L’oranges at the McEvoy Olive Company’s store (where they had just pulled them off their trees the day before) in the Ferry Building, I knew I had to snag some.

Sliced Meyer lemons

But I decided I wanted to go with a regular Eureka lemons for the glaze. I wanted something more tart and sour than the sticky sweet meyer lemon. And regular Eureka lemons (the lemons that you usually find in the store, and the ones that are growing on my tree in the backyard) are a great foil to the Meyer lemon flavor, really boosting the tart sour citrus in the muffins.

Of course, the super thin sliced Meyer lemons, coated in sugar and oven roasted to carmelize and candify (yes I just made up the word candify, apologizes to the word police), made for a wonderful decorative topping to the muffin as well as added a little extra sweet top spot to the muffin.

carmelized candied Meyer lemons

In the end, the muffins seemed pretty popular at the bake sale. Whether it was the fact that they were one of the few gluten free items, or because of the carmelized candied Meyer lemon slice on top, I don’t know. All I know is my friend Mary, who was volunteering all day, told me they were selling pretty well. I’m just glad to be doing my part, helping out the victims of the Japanese Earthquake, and helping out everyone else by participating in the Gluten Free Ratio Rally.

Bake Sale for Japan

For more Gluten Free Ratio Rally quick bread and muffin recipes check out these participants of the rally and (if you are on Twitter) follow the thread #gfreerally:

If you’d like you can join us. You don’t have to be gluten free. I certainly am not, but gluten free baking will make you a better baker. Trust me on this one. I wouldn’t be baking the way I do, if I didn’t bake gluten free now and then.

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Caneel April 6, 2011 at 7:32 am

Oh my. Caramelized candied Meyer lemons on top? Yes, please. These look amazing!


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Thank you! In the end, I was quite pleased with the way they turned out.


Kameryn August 29, 2011 at 5:25 am

Dag nabbit good stuff you whippeasrnppers!


kellypea April 6, 2011 at 8:34 am

Candify works for me! Love the look of those muffins topped with the lemons. Interesting info on the outcomes you experiences basted on the two ration methods. I need to delve into ratios more and quit being so lazy.


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Ratios are great starting points. Often times you need to tweak them as you go, but you’ll start with a solid recipe and then you can shift them to make them a stellar recipe. What’s really wonderful about them is that you can build something from the ground up AND call it completely your own. And they are scalable, so you can make smaller amounts, which means you can test faster in the kitchen without waste.


Karen Robertson April 6, 2011 at 8:36 am

Show stopping muffins…..and I love the idea of using the extra egg yolk combined with the oat flour to avoid the gums…brilliant !


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Thanks! I was SUPER pleased when I figured it out last time.


Rosa April 6, 2011 at 8:47 am

A great bake sale! Those muffins are fantastic and must have sold like hot breads. An interesting recipe.

By the way I also like to listen to Sigur Rós… 😉




Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Sigur Rós is awesome. And the bake sale really was great. They made a ton of money which is so amazing. Over $124,000!


Lisa @ GF Canteen April 6, 2011 at 9:43 am

Meyer lemon anything is a good thing. And anything that candifys anything is good in my book! I love that you make up words. Those look fabulous, Irvin. Adding those to my list of must make soon. And true – never thought about it much, but the crumb does make the difference between a cupcake and a muffin.


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I had a friend who used to say that muffins were just an excuse to eat cake in the morning, but I totally disagree with her. The crumb is totally different.

And yes, I have a habit of making up words. Thankfully AJ tolerates it.


Lisa {With Style and Grace} April 6, 2011 at 10:41 am

Oh.My.Goodness. YUM!


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Thank you!


gretchen April 6, 2011 at 11:31 am

i think you win the award for the longest recipe title and the most stylish muffin! i love love these… you make a fantastic honorary gluten-free!


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I know. I write RIDICULOUSLY long very descriptive recipe titles.

And I am very pleased to be considered an honorary gluten free baker!


Winnie April 6, 2011 at 11:52 am

oh my…these are just stunning. I love the jam inside as well as the lemon glaze and the caramelized lemon slice to top it all off…yum! I am having so much fun popping over to see what you’ve made lately and I love how what the rest of us considers show-stopping is pretty much standard fare for you. If you lived anywhere near me (which sadly you don’t), I’d be banging down your door to test your recipes 🙂


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm

LOL. I’m so glad you stop by, and I love that you think of my stuff as “show stopping” which is such a wonderful compliment. Thank you.

And if you lived near me, I would totally invite you over to sample them!


Gail April 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Irvin, you won’t be disappointed with Gisslen’s book. His ratios for baked goods are spot on. I tinkered with one of his cookie recipes for my work and it gets me raves every time.
These muffins look utterly divine!


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Thank Gail! I’ve been slowly baking out of the Gisslen book, trying to see if I can fill in the gaps in my baking education. I have yet to make a recipe that has flopped. It’s a great resource and I can’t wait to have time to really dive in deep.

And thank you for the muffin compliment!


Jenn April 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I knew when I read the title that these were going to be exquisite – wow Irvin, you really have outdone yourself here, these look just fantastic! I agree these shouldn’t need gums, and really like your “trick” of adding a little extra egg – I added guar gum to mine out of habit, but I really need to get into the practice of only adding it when I know it is necessary. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful looking muffin recipe!


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Thanks Jenn! I actually developed a muffin recipe using an extra egg yolk for a friend of mine who didn’t have access to gums at all. It’s a great trick because everyone has access to eggs, while not everyone can get gums.

And thank you for the compliment about these being exquisite! That’s so sweet of you (pun intended)!


Jim T April 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Gorgeous! Seriously gorgeous… this is why I like the way you think about your recipes. You consider not only the flavors going in but the textures you want to get out of the baked good as well. I’ve unfortunately always had more luck with the ratios from professional (culinary school) books as well. Baker’s Percentage/Ratios is always the way to go when making baked goods as the ratios/weights cannot lie.

Thank you for the nifty new ‘print this’ button as well. Nice touch!


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

It’s so true. Texture AND flavor are so important with food. And yes, I’m a big proponent of weights and ratios!

As for the “print this” button, I’ve had it on here for awhile, but then I updated my blog engine and it sort of went away by accident. I finally got around to fixing it. I’m glad you find it helpful!


Jennifer (Delicieux) April 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm

What absolutely gorgeous muffins! I love the idea of slow roasted strawberry jam. My mouth is watering at the thought!


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Thank you! I’m so glad you like the way the muffins look.

As for the slow roasted strawberries, it really does concentrate the flavor. It’s a wonderful way to use old strawberries or spring strawberries that don’t have a ton of flavor!


merri April 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm

mmm i shoulda gone over to the bakesale on sunday… those look sooo good! maybe next time when i’m back on sugar.. (altho i did cheat on some dipping sauce last nite).


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:56 pm

when ARE you back on sugar? It’s been forever!

And yes, the bake sale was pretty amazing. Try to swing by the May 14th one!


Danna April 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Amazing. You are amazing and I must say I am a huge, drooling fan! These muffins are to die! Your recipes, although I have to alter them for gluten and dairy free friendliness, are inspired. Keep Rockin! I’ll keep reading! Peace.


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Thanks so much Danna! I try to do a few gluten free items every month, and the ratio rally is definitely one of them. But if you ever have any questions on how to convert any of them to gluten/dairy/vegan just ask. Glad to inspire!


The Healthy Apple April 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

First off, YOU are amazing. Wow! I love your blog; you are so talented and I am so excited to have found your beautiful site. I’m so happy to have met you through our ration rally. Your baked goods in San Fran look fabulous and I wish I was there to nibble on them with you! Looking forward to seeing more of your yummy work.
Have a great night!


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Thanks so much Healthy Apple! The Ratio Rally is awesome isn’t it? So may incredibly talented people involved! Thanks for stopping by. And next time you swing through San Francisco let me know! I’ll try to have something here for you to nibble on!


marla April 6, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Gorgeous meyer lemon muffins. Like the way you added those candied lemon slices to the top. Here’s to a great rally! I am learning so much 🙂


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Yay! Thanks Marla! The rally is such a great idea isn’t it? Amazing people and amazing recipes.


Erin Swing April 6, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Absolutely amazing! My ratio was somewhere between Gisslen & Ruhlman. Nice work. Very nice. I can almost taste through my computer.


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Thanks Erin! The ratios definitely needed some tinkering for what I was looking for, but I can see why some people would like the Ruhlman one. It was just too delicate for me to consider it a muffin. I might revisit it for a cake though.

And I love your comment about tasting it through the computer! That means I did a decent job with my photography. Yay!


Lil @ sweetsbysillianah April 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm

i must say, you do make GF goods look mighty scrumptious!

question – since i’m just learning more about ratios… if i were to make these muffins non-gluten free, i could just use 310g of all-purpose flour in place of the oat/rice flours and cornstarch? is there anything else i would have to change?


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Yes! All you need to do is substitute out 310 g of all purpose flour for the oat flour/rice flour/corn starch. You can also leave out the extra egg yolk, and only use the two eggs. That should do it.

Let me know if you make it and how it turns out with the regular AP flour!


Tara April 6, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Candify – love it! And love the muffins. And the fact that you’re trying to keep your recipes not “ridiculously overloaded with ingredients and flavors,” which you must realize, Irvin, still means a very different thing to you than to most everyone else. Which is why we love you so much. I say overload to your heart’s content. 😉 And yay for the bake sale success!


Irvin April 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Yep. Candify. New word of the day! Remember it.

And don’t worry. I’ll still be overloading with flavors, it’s impossible for me not to. But I’m trying to show a little more restraint. Just ever so much. Sometimes less is more. 😉

And yes, yay for the bake sale!


Sheena April 7, 2011 at 4:02 am

I finally bought a scale and started messing around with ratios, it’s so much easier than using cups! I love everything about this muffin – the roasted strawberry filling, the beautiful crumb, and the candied lemons on top. Perfect.


Irvin April 7, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Oh I so glad! Isn’t working with a scale so great?!? I recommend it to everyone, ESPECIALLY if you are baking gluten free. PLUS it means less dishes to clean. Totally worth it.


Ashley Otherson April 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Hi! I recently moved to San Francisco to begin work at Anchor QEA (an environmental consulting firm). Although I’m still a newbie here, it’s been exciting to see how involved in the community our company is throughout the nation.

Most recently, our office (400 Montgomery Street, Suite 650 – between California and Sacramento) has been asked to help out with fundraising for Water For People. Call me crazy, but I was thinking about hosting a tiny lunch stand on Thursday or Friday of next week at the FiDi Black Heart to see how much money, if any, I could collect. Considering it’s supposed to be really sunny, I was considering pb&j sandwiches, lemonade, and a few types of cookies. Do you have any other suggestions? Do you think hosting something like this would have a decent turnout? Obviously, AQ would pay for any promotional material that would need to be distributed.

I’m somewhat embarrassed that this whole idea may sound absolutely ridiculous, and figured that, after coming across your blog, you may be the person to give good feedback.

Thanks!! 🙂


Irvin April 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Hi Ashley.

Hmm. I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask about this sort of thing, but I do think that you would get a lot of FiDi lunch people foot traffic. I would probably suggest selling more snack like things like cookies and brownies and maybe lemonade vs selling pb&j sandwiches and lunch sandwiches. When I worked downtown, I usually brought my lunch or went to get carryout, but I could see myself buying a cookie or something to supplement the lunch, but not necessarily a sandwich, especially from a vendor that I wasn’t familiar with or didn’t look 10% professional.

I would also recommend individually wrapping the items in something professional looking (clear food safe plastic bags or wax paper envelopes – you can buy them at Sur la Table, Tri Mark Restaurant Supply or Kamei out in the Richmond neighborhood). I’d make sure that your signs are professional printed and all your literature looks on the up and up.

Technically you aren’t suppose to be selling food without a license (health code issues) but often time the DPH will overlook a one time fundraising thing. You might have to use language like “suggested donation” though to get around it as well. Anyway, I hope this helps. Good luck!


Bethington April 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Wow! Those look truly amazing

If you want to play with it, feel free and let me know what you ended up with!
I have been craving muffins ever since reading this post. Because I am far too lazy to go to the store, I just made cranberry-orange muffins using the ratios/weights you provided. They are delicious with an excellent crumb. I didn’t use gums or an extra egg yolk, instead I used ground flax seed as part of my flours. For the liquid, I used a 3:1 orange juice to cultured coconut milk ratio and sunflower oil for the fat. Buckwheat was the primary flour, but I think next time I’ll go with sorghum. The buckwheat is a bit assertive for the orange flavor. It would probably make a great apple-raisin muffin though.


Irvin April 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Oh that sounds like a great muffin! Cranberry Orange I use ground flax meal as a substitute for the gluten a lot of the time as well, but I tried using it with these muffins and the nutty flavor that they impart, that I usually like, didn’t work as well. I also use chia seeds sometimes. Have you tried that?

Buckwheat’s one of those flours that I like but it’s a pretty strong flavor. They roast the buckwheat before they grind it. You may like getting unground buckwheat groats, sometimes called kasha and grinding them yourself (like in a coffee grinder or in a food processor or blender). I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it. It doesn’t have the bitterness that regular ground buckwheat flour has.

That said, I think the mineral qualities of the ground roasted buckwheat really goes well with strawberry and rhubarb. Not all buckwheat but a little bit. Rhubarb is related to buckwheat, so that only makes sense.

Thanks for stopping by!


Robyn April 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Oh wow. I am speechless! These are gorgeous! Love the candied meyer lemon decor. Thanks for the tip about adding an extra egg instead of the gums! I’ve been using chia seeds but this looks like an inexpensive way to do it.


Irvin April 7, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Aww. Thanks Robyn!

Chia seeds are awesome. As are flax meal/ground flax seeds, but sometimes you just don’t have those extra ingredients around the house and I almost always have eggs around the house. So the extra egg yolk worked out


Caroline @ The G-Spot April 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Irvin, these look INCREDIBLE! Oh, my gosh, I am so excited to try these. Thank you for sharing! 🙂


Irvin April 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Thanks Caroline for stopping by! So glad you did. Let me know if you make them and what you think of the muffins if you do!


Kirsten April 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I wish Myer lemons were easy to find out this way…these look so good. I might break my food budget and pick up everything needed and try it with regular lemons. Muffins can replace all meals right?


Eileen Dailey April 10, 2011 at 9:45 pm

These look amazing!! Sadly, I will have to wait to make these till next fall when my meyer lemon tree has it’s lemon’s ready to go : ( I’m in Az. so I guess our season is quite different than the bay area. sigh. But for now, I enjoy the limoncello I made and am crazy about (in small amounts!). I love your take on the muffin vs. cake and I totally agree. Thanks again Irvin, for sharing your talent with us.


Gluten Intolerance May 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

That’s lovely gluten free lemon muffins! And gluten frees chocolate, cookies and more good for Christmas and children’s snacks. I know these will completely fill my sweet cravings! It is good to know that there are people who are aware and selling gluten free foods outdoor.


away with gluten July 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

i like your idea i will definetly tell my local baker about this if i am aloud to wink wink

Reply February 26, 2014 at 9:23 am

Thanks foor sharing your thoughts on gluten free breakfast recipes.


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