Sundays are my favorite day to bake, especially in the fall. The weather is getting a little cooler, football is on all day, and the early afternoon is the sweet spot for baking—just after church and before our bible study group meets in the evenings. The best part about baking on Sunday is that you have treats to last all week, like these Gluten Free Zucchini Olive Oil Muffins!
I’ve gotten some requests for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian recipes (more of that last one coming soon!). So when I was planning an Italian brunch, I knew olive oil would be the perfect substitute for butter for baking.
While I wouldn’t choose olive oil to replace butter for cookies or brownies, it’s a great option for quick breads and muffins. The flavor is very faint, and if you add citrus like I did here, you really can’t taste it at all.
Zucchini, lemon, and olive oil pair so nicely together. In fact, I’ve paired them together before in my Raw Zucchini Salad! This recipe takes the combination and turns it into a gluten free muffin.
I haven’t had much experience with gluten free baking, so I turned to a gluten free flour advertised as “cup for cup”. Basically, you substitute it for flour in a one to one ratio. Trader Joe’s had one that was reasonably priced ($3.99), though the bag only contains a little over three cups of gluten free flour.
I’m happy to say that these muffins were a gluten free baking success story! They’re light and moist, with a hint of citrus flavor. The powdered sugar + lemon juice drizzle takes them over the top, and a pat of butter sure wouldn’t hurt either.
I made these at my friend Kelley’s house. In addition to offering wedding planning services, she does amazing tablescapes for weddings and events (her company is Haviland Events). So when she offered to set the table for this brunch, I jumped at the chance.
Kelley set the table with a variety of imported Italian dishes, including a few of the cutest Italian espresso cups, which she filled with imported espresso. The espresso was the perfect complement to these muffins and the rest of brunch, which included the following:
Have you experimented with gluten free baking? Any tips that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Gluten Free Zucchini Olive Oil Muffins
Yield 12 muffins
- 2 cups gluten free flour (a “cup for cup” substitute; I used Trader Joe’s)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup milk or a dairy-free alternative
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded
- Zest of one lemon
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 12 muffins cups or line with non-stick cupcake wrappers.
- Place the shredded zucchini in a mesh sieve or colander and press with the back of a spatula until most of the water is released.
- Whisk gluten free flour and baking powder together in a large bowl. In a medium sized bowl, combine olive oil, sugar, eggs, milk, salt, zucchini, and lemon zest. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently to combine. Distribute evenly into the muffin cups, filling each to approximately ¾ full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin returns small crumbs.
- Let muffins cool for 10 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until it reaches a consistency for drizzling. Add more lemon juice or powdered sugar if necessary. Drizzle over the muffins and serve.
Tip: Substitute all-purpose flour for gluten free flour if you'd like!
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