Our Panera’s Gluten Free Dream Day: Apple Crunch Muffin



The idea for Panera’s Gluten-Free Dream Day came to Marly after she was dining at Panera Bread and was quite shocked to discover that their menu did not offer a single gluten-free option. Marly thought it would be fun to get a group of bloggers together to create gluten-free recipes (and vegan if desired) that would be knock-offs of Panera’s current menu items. Hence, ‘Dream Day’ was born!

I admit, I was pretty scared at the thought of participating. I’ve never combined gluten-free and vegan baking intentionally before and I wasn’t sure I could have success.

But, there’s no fun in negative thinking, so I told myself I would rock out the best GF and vegan muffin I could! For my knock-off recipe, I selected Panera’s Apple Crunch Muffin, filled with apple chunks, cinnamon, and topped with cinnamon/sugar topping. My goal was to create a gluten-free and vegan Apple Crunch Muffin that would please just about anyone!

Come on, how difficult could it be?


Apparently, very…;)


I made the World’s Gummiest Muffin (above) in one trial using Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour and almond flour. I made three different trials using Bob’s GF flour and I never once had success with it. Now I know why many of you warned me about this flour! I’m sure it’s possible to have baking success with it, but I sure didn’t have any luck with muffins. Maybe it works better when not adding vegan into the mix!

Above right, you can see the World’s Most Crumbly muffin. I picked it up from the pan and it literally crumbled like a sand castle in my hand.



All joking aside, a vegan and gluten-free muffin was one of the most difficult baking challenges I think I’ve ever had and it left me with a huge respect for this type of baking.


With each failed trial, I grew more and more pissed hopeless PMS-y confused desperate eager and determined to create a successful muffin. I’m a Taurus and I don’t give up very easily (aka stubborn as a bull).

I read up on gluten-free baking and tried to learn the secrets of GF + vegan muffin success. Well, the secret is that there aren’t many. At least not what I came across. And I soon learned that gluten-free baking rules don’t always cross over to gluten-free and vegan baking. It was a whole other ball game and I was way out in left field.


Six trials later, I finally created a muffin that I deemed not only worthy to eat, but delicious too! It’s a good thing because I was running out of ingredients, time,…and sanity! Wait, that’s actually everyday around here…


I adapted Gluten-Free Goddess’s Blueberry Muffins (<–a great blog by the way!) and I was very happy with the outcome. [Note that subbing 1 cup of Bob’s red mill GF flour for the teff flour produces the World’s Gummiest Muffin  <—you were warned! ]


I would proudly serve these to anyone with a gluten sensitivity! They taste just like an apple muffin should and they weren’t beany tasting or gummy like some of my previous trials.

If my husband inhales half a batch in the matter of hours, I deem them a success. ;)


The density and flavour remind me a lot of a bran muffin with a cinnamon twist. Almond flour and Teff flour pair together wonderfully adding a nutty, wholesome quality. Not to mention both flours pack in a lot of protein, iron, calcium, and fibre.


Want to check out more gluten-free recipes?

Check out what the other Dream Day bloggers baked up for you! (Note that their posts will be going up throughout today and I will update the links accordingly!)


Allyson Kramer — Jalapeno Cheddar Bagel


Family Fresh Cooking — Wild Blueberry Muffins
Veggie Num Num — Pumpkin Muffin
Multiply Delicious — Chocolate Chip Muffins


Heather Strang — Orange Scones

Breakfast Sweets

Namely Marly — Caramel Pecan Rolls
Diet Dessert Dogs — Cinnamon Crumb Cake


Clean Green Simple — Spinach & Artichoke Souffle


Marly says, ‘Right now the only way to try all these gluten-free goodies is to make them yourself. But who knows, maybe someday you’ll be able to pop into a place like Panera and enjoy one right from their menu.’

I couldn’t agree more! Thanks again to Marly for this fun challenge. :)

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram (@ohsheglows + @theglowspot), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

Previous Posts

{ 114 comments… read them below or add one }

kaila @ healthy helper! June 30, 2011

Congrats Ange! GF baking looks and sounds really challenging! But if anyone could make something hard into a delicious treat….that’d be you! You rock girl!


Ricki June 30, 2011

They look fantastic! And I couldn’t agree more–Bob’s Red Mill AP-GF flour always produced gummy results for me, too (I ended up creating my own all-purpose glutenfree flour mix, which works just fine). And I think you’re right, vegan GF baking does seem to change depending on what it is you’re making. But I’m so glad you figured out the trick to these–I can’t wait to try them!


Liz @ Blog is the New Black June 30, 2011

Gorgeous- delicious! Oh I want some now!


Aine @ Something to Chew Over June 30, 2011

Angela these look amazing! I’m always looking for new g-f recipes as my partner is a coeliac. I know he’ll love these :)

Great job!


Val @ Balancing Val June 30, 2011


I recently went GF so I appreciate these recipes!

I often try out GF baking and get many fails, it’s the nature of the beast!

What do you do with all your “gummy” experiments? :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 30, 2011

if they taste ok we eat them, but if they dont taste good they get thrown out.


Ginny July 18, 2012

Where do I find Bobs Red products, teff flour, and xanthun gum? looking for some things for gluten free bridesmaids. Love it. Ginny P.


Claire @ Live and Love to Eat June 30, 2011

Glad to know I’m not the only one who isn’t successful with every baking adventure… your end result looks incredible!


Lauren at Keep It Sweet June 30, 2011

Your final product looks amazing! Such a great idea to come up with g-f recipes for Panera baked goods.


Zestful Lou June 30, 2011

They look fabulous! I don’t know how you manage six trials before finding the recipe that works. Did you cry at some point? I think I would. hehe

I’ve had great success with Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour, but only as a shortbread base for some lemon bars (and it wasn’t vegan because it contained butter) but I’m willing to bet that the lemon bars would turn out just as tasty with Earth Balance instead of butter.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 30, 2011

thats cool, I never would have thought to use itfor shortbread!


veganlisa June 30, 2011

I’m glad to see your perseverance paid off. The muffins look fantastic and it seems like you learned a lot along the way.



Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table June 30, 2011

Congrats on your GF success! I’ve been looking forward to seeing these for a while. :)

Can’t wait to try these and the other GF recipes you linked too. Good for Panera for beginning to branch out. :)


Valerie @ City|Life|Eats June 30, 2011

I have been baking gluten-free/vegan for a while now, and I could not agree more. It makes baking more temperamental, but when you get a good result it is super satisfying.

My theory on BRM gf mix is that it is designed to be subbed for white flour in a recipe that has butter and eggs etc and just does not play well with vegan baking. I love teff though – and I love how you balanced out the starch with lots of teff and almond meal :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 30, 2011

I agree!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 30, 2011

Wow Ange, this does sound like quite the challenge!! I think these look amazing, and anything with apple and cinnamon usually ranks very highly in my books! I think that if restaurants want to continue to do well, they have to be more accommodating to people with special diets. I think it would be great if some of these GF and vegan recipes made the menu at Panera!


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 30, 2011

Congrats on perfecting it!
What do you do with all the “not so good” attempts?


The Healthy Hipster June 30, 2011

These look just delicious! And as always I appreciate you showing the not-so-perfect attempts along the way to the perfect recipe. Makes me feel better about that plate of failed tempeh burgers last night…. ;)


Joanna June 30, 2011

Congrats! I hope you put up more gluten free recipes…Can’t wait to try these :)


Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove June 30, 2011

These look delicious! Thank you for putting all that effort into creating them! I may have to whip up a batch myself.


Faith @ lovelyascharged June 30, 2011

That does sound like a huge challenge actually. I’ve made some ridiculously gummy vegan/GF dessert breads and always wondered how to remedy it – kudos on figuring it out!


kate June 30, 2011

ahh first I saw blueberry lemon and I was excited & now apple I cant wait to try all of these out!!


Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg June 30, 2011

Mmmmmm, panera muffins are so good– but these look even better!!


Jil @ Big City, Lil' Kitchen June 30, 2011

Love the idea of this challenge! Looks fantastic!


Cait's Plate June 30, 2011

You never cease to leave me drooling Angela. You’ve outdone yourself as usual! These would be PERFECT to make after an apple picking haul ;)


Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa June 30, 2011

What a fun challenge. I wish more of the chain restaurants offered GF and vegan options. Dining out can be difficult if you follow one of these lifestyles!


Sara Best June 30, 2011

Thanks so much for all the work you put into getting this right Angela! My daughter and I are just starting to go gluten-free and this is going to be a new recipe we can add to our limited pile of gluten-free, vegan options.

Can’t wait to try these out!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 30, 2011

Let me know what you think of them!


Donna June 30, 2011

Wow Angela – good job and way to persevere!
Gummy muffins actually sound good to me, lol – but i’m sure these are way more delicious :)


Krystina (Organically Me) June 30, 2011

I LOVE this Panera challenge! I wish there were even vegan options, let alone GF.


Emily June 30, 2011

Hahaha congrats on finally getting a winner!! They look awesome and I’m sure they smell and taste even better! :)


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes June 30, 2011

This is soo interesting! I have never heard of alot of these ingredients. The pictures and description makes me want to try it really bad!! haha :)


Heather @ Multiply Delicious June 30, 2011

Way to go fellow Dream Day blogger! You did a great job and these muffins look delicious. I’ve been baking gluten-free and vegan free since January and it’s been quite the learning curve, but I promise things can turn out and taste good. :) I can’t wait to try these.


Katie June 30, 2011

Oh my gosh, these look fantastic! I love the idea of this challenge, btw- I think it’s important for large chains like Panera to make the effort to offer a variety of foods for people with dietary restrictions


marla {family fresh cooking} June 30, 2011

Yay!!! These came out perfect…even through all the trials :) Gotta try this recipe & I am so impressed that you got the vegan/GF thing sorted out. Now I can try too – first with these. xxoo So happy to be in Dream Day with you!


Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet June 30, 2011

That’s crazy! I would’ve totally given up after the third failure. But I’m so glad that you toughed it out and delivered us this recipe. I love apple crunch from Panera, and if only you could remake their bear claws, I’d die!


The Teenage Taste June 30, 2011

You guys are awesome! I hope Panera catches on and startes selling gluten-free goodies soon! :-D


Rebecca June 30, 2011

These look fantastic! Gluten-free baking is one of the hardest things to do and combining that with vegan, you did an amazing job! I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thank you for sharing and all the effort! I actually found out I was a celiac by eating Panera bread when they first came into our area :-)


Shanna, Like Banana June 30, 2011

What a great challenge!

And any muffin that has streusel on the top immediately draws my attention. It’s the best part!


Stefanie June 30, 2011

They look so good. I bet they are good too. :)


Marly June 30, 2011

I’m so glad you persevered – because these muffins look absolutely perfect! I guess you can create your own tips on vegan/GF baking! So glad to have worked with you on this fun project!


Jennifer June 30, 2011

This is totally inspirational, and the muffins really do look like something you’d find at Panera or another bakery store! We love what you did, and we’d love you to check out our other healthy eating tips on our blog!


Moni'sMeals June 30, 2011

Success! Wow, after 6 trials…I most likely would of thrown in the towel. :)

They really seem delicious and thanks for doing all the hard work for everyone else. If I ever need a GF recipe like this, I know where to go. :)


LizAshlee June 30, 2011

Wow, talk about perseverance..6 trials! I would have decided to make something else and had to come back to that recipe later. Happy for you that it finally turned out to be a success! Your work payed off!

I am experimenting with GF baking as well. I haven’t tried teff flour yet, but I have heard of it. What does is taste like? Can you taste the flavor in baked goods?

Have a great day!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 30, 2011

Personally I love the flavour so far. Very wholesome and not as strong as buckwheat. It was AMAZING combined with almond flour!


Jackie @ That Deep Breath June 30, 2011

What a great challenge! Those muffins look awesome. I am not gluten-free, but it will be a great day when we see restaurants and bakery accommidating everyone’s needs, including vegan. All of these diet changes are on the rise, restaurants need to get with it


Page 1 of 3123»

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: