rhubarb, apple + ginger muffin recipe {gluten + dairy-free}

rhubarb, apple + ginger muffins {gluten + dairy-free}

“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.” ― Douglas Pagels

I once had a pen-pal, she lived in Maine somewhere over in that big land a long way away from us. We used to write often and I always longed to meet her. But as we neared our teenage years, she went off the rails, started talking about stealing cars, running away from home, then the letters abruptly stopped. I still have all her letters somewhere, no doubt in a little cardboard shoe box in our container of possessions back home in NZ. I've always been the kind of person who hates loosing touch and have spent many hours wondering where friends from long ago are now and how their lives have turned out. 
One of the things I love the most about blogging in a way, is that I now have 'pen-pals' who read my posts and I read theirs. I find it comforting to know that in this big bad crazy world we live in that there are so many people just like me, food obsessed and struggling along in this little thing we call life. I hope to one day meet some of these people, these people I now call friends. But until that day comes I'll just leave you with this yummy recipe the kids and I made today for morning tea.

rhubarb, apple + ginger muffins {gluten + dairy-free}
rhubarb, apple + ginger muffins {gluten + dairy-free}

The teachers are striking today all over Western Australia and I don't blame them really. Politics aside, we needed something to do to keep entertained on this miserable day (really, this spring weather feels more crazy than winter this year!). I've had a bag of fresh, tender little homegrown rhubarb stems from a friend to use up. So muffins it is. The kids always love them, so do I.

rhubarb, apple + ginger muffins {gluten + dairy-free}

rhubarb, apple + ginger muffins {gluten + dairy-free}
I use golden linseed meal (ground flaxseeds) as I find it absorbs more liquid and has a less assertive taste. However, regular brown linseed meal will work here too. If you can't find pre-ground linseed meal, you can buy whole flaxseeds/linseeds and grind them yourself in a coffee grinder or blender. I used 4-5 small rhubarb stems to get 1 cup chopped, but if your stems are big you may only need 1 or 2. I reserved a few slices of rhubarb to scatter over the tops of the muffins before baking, but that bit is up to you... Melted virgin coconut oil or melted ghee (if tolerated) can be used in place of olive oil.
Makes 8.

1/2 cup (55g) almond meal (ground almonds)
1/4 cup (50g) unrefined raw sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallised ginger 
1 tablespoon ground linseed meal* see headnotes
1/2 cup (70g) buckwheat flour
1/4 cup (35g) fine brown rice flour
2 tablespoons organic cornflour or true arrowroot
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
a good pinch fine sea salt

1 cup finely sliced rhubarb
1 small apple, peeled, cored and finely diced

95ml (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) rice or almond milk
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1 large free-range egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180C/350C. Grease or line eight 1/3 cup (80ml) cup capacity muffin tins with paper cases.

Place almond meal, sugar, ginger and linseed meal into a medium bowl. Sieve over flours, baking powder and spices, then whisk to combine evenly. Stir in rhubarb and apple to coat in the flour mixture. In another smaller bowl whisk milk, oil, egg and vanilla before pouring into the dry mixture and stirring until just combined. Evenly divide batter between tins/paper cases (scatter with a few slices of rhubarb if desired) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen, golden around the edges and when a skewer is inserted into the centre it comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool further. Eat warm or at room temperature  Best eaten on the day of baking, however they will store in an airtight container for 2-3 days or frozen in zip-lock bags for longer.

These are a version of my recipe from long ago.

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  • Liane
    September 19, 2013 at 8:58 am

    This looks good. Can I make it without eggs?

    • emma
      September 19, 2013 at 11:02 am

      Hi Liane, I haven't tried it without eggs as we eat them. But I'd try using one chia egg (1 tablespoon chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoon cold water, mix + set aside 5 mins before using) and see how you go. I'd love to know if it works out xx

      • Penny
        September 26, 2016 at 4:27 pm

        I thought you could substitute applesauce for eggs. That’s 1/4 cup applesauce for one egg!

        • mydarlinglemonthyme@gmail.com
          September 27, 2016 at 2:34 am

          Applesauce works in some recipes in place of eggs, yes!

  • Zinny
    September 19, 2013 at 10:25 am

    These look so gorgeous! The colour of the rhubarb just pops. Linseed meal! I wonder where I can find those here in Auckland.

    • emma
      September 19, 2013 at 11:07 am

      You can buy regular brown linseeds in bulk bins at most supermarkets and then you can grind them to a meal yourself using a blender or small coffee grinder. You can also buy linseed meal (pre-ground) at health food stores and some supermarkets. Huckleberry Farms http://www.huckleberryfarms.co.nz/ sell golden linseeds in Auckland too, if you wanted to try them out. Either will work fine in this recipe.

    • Xin-Yan Cheng
      September 21, 2013 at 2:48 am

      Thank you! I might go for the first option 🙂 How fine does the meal need to be? My mum's bought almond-sunflower seed-linseed meal before and it's pretty coarse.

    • emma
      September 21, 2013 at 8:32 am

      It doesn't have to be that finely ground, just not whole. Although I do grind mine pretty fine so it's undetectable in the final product 🙂 I've been away from NZ too long also because I can't remember if it's more commonly known as linseed or flaxseed?! Anyway, they are the same thing. I used to buy whole brown linseed/flaxseed from Pac 'n' save in NZ.

  • thelittleloaf
    September 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

    What a gorgeous combination of ingredients. I don't bake a huge amount of gluten free goods but when I do, I always know your recipes will work perfectly and taste delicious 🙂

    • emma
      September 19, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Aw, thanks Kate xx

  • coconutandberries
    September 19, 2013 at 10:30 am

    So pretty! I adore muffins and just posted a recipe for double ginger choc chunk muffins yesterday in fact 🙂
    I feel exactly the same about blogging. I've connected with so many wonderful people and only hope we can meet some day in the real world!

    • emma
      September 19, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Wouldn't it be awesome!

  • Jane
    September 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, they look delicious!

    • emma
      September 19, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      You're welcome love! xx

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    September 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    The ginger in this is what's getting me…LOVE it! So pretty and simple 🙂

    • emma
      September 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      I adore ginger, and try to sneak it into as many things as possible 🙂

  • Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures
    September 19, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    These look delish! I've never thought of blogging in the way of a pen pal but it totally makes sense! When I was little, I had a German pen pal and we'd exchanged candy with every letter. I'll never eat any german chocolate without thinking of her.

    • emma
      September 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      That's cute! Me and my pen-pal shared the same birthday, probably why she was on my mind as I've just celebrated mine.

  • Jacquie
    September 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    you have young shoots of rhubarb,i just pulled the last of our giants,cut up and froze them.We have already had our first frost!!Apple is a nice touch with the ginger in these.Good luck with your strike!

    • emma
      September 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      First frost Jacquie?! Ouch, so early already for you eh? You my friend are one of the people I so hope I get to meet in person one day love, but maybe I'll visit in the summer time okay? Haha xx

    • Jacquie
      September 26, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      What's a few thousand miles!You never know what life brings:)
      p.s-i don't think I would ask my worst enemy to visit the prairies in the winter,holy hell it's cold

    • emma
      September 27, 2013 at 12:04 am

      Haha, I bet 🙂

  • Melissa
    September 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    These look amazing! The recipe is a little too…intense… for me though. I may try to make them using just oat flour. I obviously understand the dietary reasons behind why you use so many alternative flours, but is there another reason for it? And I must admit I don't even know what linseed meal is. I have no dietary restrictions, but I like experimenting with new and different ingredients!

    • emma
      September 19, 2013 at 11:50 pm

      If you experiment with gluten-free flours you will find that you need to use a combination of flours to achieve the same results as wheat flour. One gluten-free flour used by itself usually gives yuck results. Each flour I've used here has a purpose. It's a pain I know, but if dietary restrictions aren't a problem for you, simply use wheat flour in place of the gluten-free flours I've used. Linseed meal, is ground flaxseeds and is very easily found. If you are using wheat flour, just omit them.

  • Jo Balfe
    September 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Sometimes I challenge myself as to the point of blogging, but honestly, I feel it is one of the most valuable things I do for myself and it totally makes sense now you have likened it to having a pen-pal. I too had one when I was young, and I think that connection with someone you have never met is such a wonderful feeling and presence in our lives. It's easy to connect with people who have the same interests and thoughts as you when you write about your passions! These muffins look lush and I have a few last stalks in my garden so will defiantly make these. Sometimes I dream of having a massive pot-luck dinner with all of my favourite bloggers.. I think it would be awesome! Thanks for the recipe!

    • emma
      September 19, 2013 at 11:50 pm

      Yes, how fun would a massive pot-luck be!? xx

  • Colette Joseph
    September 19, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Emma, I love the red of the rhubarb and the autumn flavours! xo

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    September 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    What a great idea to add crystallised ginger!

  • Jasmine Ann
    September 20, 2013 at 4:22 am

    What perfect little muffins! I've got a bunch of rhubarb in my kitchen and I think I might try these out with them (although the upisde down rhubarb and apple cake was pretty delish that I made last night).

    Pen pals, oh for the days for hand written letters. I do love reading others storied, but I miss the surprise of a written note in the mail.

    • emma
      September 20, 2013 at 6:39 am

      Yeah me too!

  • InTolerant Chef
    September 20, 2013 at 11:48 am

    What yummy flavour combinations! Rhubarb and ginger is perfect together indeed 🙂

  • glutenfreeforlunchboxes
    September 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Absolutely beautiful looking recipe. I'm a sucker for anything with ginger in it. And apple and rhubarb – what a combination! Bookmarking this one!

  • Domestic Executive
    September 21, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Still waiting for my rhubarb to perk up and grow but I love nothing better than a rhubarb muffin to kick off the day. These look and sound delicious. I like the notion of blogging being the modern form of having pen pals!

  • Jennifer @ Delicieux
    September 21, 2013 at 5:34 am

    I spied these gorgeous muffins on Pinterest the other day. The looks so pretty with the bits of pink rhubarb peaking out of the top. You create the most gorgeous treats Emma.

    • emma
      September 21, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Thanks heaps Jennifer! xx

  • Sini | my blue&white kitchen
    September 22, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Oh I envy you for having those bright red rhubarb stalks growing in your garden right now. The mere thought of having to wait until next spring to get my hands on some fresh ones here in Scandinavia nearly kills me.

    I'm quite new to your blog and so very happy I stumbled upon it! You have created such a lovely space filled with inspiring writing, nourishing recipes, and gorgeous photography. I feel like I came to stay.

    • emma
      September 23, 2013 at 5:02 am

      Thanks so much for your kind words Sini! Lovely to have you here xx

  • london bakes
    September 22, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Ah rhubarb! My absolute fave. This is such a great combination with the apple and the ginger, so perfect.

  • Anonymous
    September 22, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Too Funny! I have rhubarb sitting around that needs to be cooked so I logged on today to see what suggestions you might have for baking it up. Going to make this up with pears instead of apples as that is what is in the fridge. Thanks for making my day easy.

    • emma
      September 23, 2013 at 5:03 am

      Happy to help 🙂

  • Kimberley
    September 26, 2013 at 6:43 am

    This makes me miss rhubarb! These are lovely.

  • InspireCreateLoveLearn
    October 8, 2013 at 3:22 am

    It was great timing stumbling across this recipe as I have a bunch of rhubarb that I didn't know what to do with! Muffins are in the making!

  • Shikha | Shikha la mode
    March 27, 2014 at 12:31 am

    I forgot that rhubarb is making an appearance now – need.

  • Anonymous
    June 24, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Just wanted to bring this to your attention. 🙂
    The ad at the bottom of the page keeps dragging the page down to where it is. Unable to read your content because of it.
    Do I have to click on it to make it stop?

  • Dory
    May 31, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    These look amazing. Just a quick question…what GF flour could I substitute for the buckwheat flour in this recipe please? No besan or pea flour or coconut or oat. Finicky, I know. Thanks in anticipation. Going to check out the rest of the blog now….hope you are still blogging. Fx.

    • emma
      May 31, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      I would just use extra brown rice flour or quinoa flour in place of buckwheat xx

  • Unknown
    August 5, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Do you know the nutritional information on these muffins? I am a Personal Chef and have a client that is on a very strict low carb diet. I would love to make these for him. Can you please let me know the number of carbs in each muffin. Thank you in advance, Chef Heather Zaida

    • emma
      August 7, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      I'm sure there's sites you can put the recipe into to tell you that kind of information. Just google it x