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

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on June 30, 2011


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…



Cinnamon Streusel Apple Crunch Muffin (GF + Vegan)

Adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess’s Blueberry Muffins.


  • 1 cup brown teff flour
  • 1 & 1/3 cups almond flour (I used Bob’s red mill)
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca Starch (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar



  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1 tbsp egg replacer powder whisked with 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced (1 cup)


Streusel topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar (I used Turbinado)
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp non-dairy buttery spread like Earth Balance



1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a muffin tin with liners.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg replacer and water and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

4. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (except for apple). Add the wet to dry and with an electric mixer, beat until combined. It will be like a very thick cake batter. Fold in the peeled and diced apple.

5. Using a spoon, distribute the batter evenly among the liners to make a dozen.

6. Sprinkle the streusel and bake in the oven at 375F for 27-28 minutes or until muffin slowly springs back when touched. Cool in the pan for only 5 minutes (longer and it will get soggy!) before transferring to a wire rack until completely cool. The muffins will break apart if you unwrap them before they are cooled, so be sure to cool them for at least 30 minutes. Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.


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, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

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Kristin @ STUFT Mama July 1, 2011 at 1:41 am

Love the Panera challenge. My boys and I were just there yesterday drooling over all the goodies in the glass case. Ha! Can’t wait to try the GF muffins!!!!!!!!! I’ve never heard of Teff flour. Where can I get it?


Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers July 1, 2011 at 7:29 am

Smart idea! My friends and I usually get together and eat muffins – not make them. :) Yup, we’re a lazy bunch.


eva @5fruitsNveggies July 1, 2011 at 10:33 am

congratulations on the patience to learn what worked!…the final product looks lovely….but i am certain the ‘gummy’ ones tasted good too….
i am delving into GF baking and discovering how to use new flours—i like teff–it’s my new favorite….i even like the sandy texture (that’s when i swoop in a spoon to eat half the raw dough)….


Angelique July 1, 2011 at 11:44 am

Thank you so much for all of the testing and research you did!
GF Vegan is the only kind of baked goodies I can eat and from my own experiments, I completely appreciate the difficulty of getting it just right, so your efforts are greatly appreciated!


kris (everyday oats) July 3, 2011 at 12:02 am

Wow – these look fantastic!!
I can’t even imagine going through 6 trials to perfect a muffin. I give up most of the time after just 1 fail..
Do you usually make full batches as you test out recipes or do you make smaller batches and tweak it as you get closer?


Alissa July 5, 2011 at 9:19 am

Yum – How delicious do these look!? I have never used teff flour before. I guess now I will have to give it a go :)


JenATX July 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm

wow! good job on tackling that challenge :)


Sweetberry May 31, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Wow! I can’t believe so many of you don’t like Bob’s GF all purpose flour. I have had tremendous success with it. Sometimes people couldn’t even tell that my muffins/pancakes/quick breads are gluten free. I love Bob’s GF AP Flour! I do, however, like playing around with different flours too – so this recipe looks really exciting to me!


Audrey Rothbacher July 10, 2012 at 10:20 am

Hello! I’ve been GF for five years now and DF for one year. I LOVE to bake and at first I was very discouraged. But I couldn’t just give up (I’m a taurus, too) so I went on trying different items. The two ingredients that have COMPLETELY changed my thoughts on GF and vegan baking are:
– King Arthurs GF flour blend. Yes, it’s pricey, but so worth it! It makes everything taste like “REAL” food (as quoted from my extremely picky husband). He couldn’t even tell the difference between GF/vegan muffins I made, he thought they were regular muffins!
– Earth Balance Buttery Sticks. Now, I have tried just about every single butter alternative that is dairy free (not just lactose-free, because I am too sensitive for that). I had been sorely disappointed by all of them and almost had given up hope for my baked goods turning out right until I found this miraculous product. It tastes like butter, spreads like butter, melts like butter and has no weird effects on any baked goods. Try it, you’ll love it! Also, it’s a great for greasing pans for bread and such!


Audrey Rothbacher July 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

I also HATE bob’s flour blend. It only works about half the time and I cannot stand the aftertaste/smell the foods acquire after just several hours of cooking, let alone trying to eat the leftover pancakes that I froze (thinking it would be okay). I will never buy bob’s flour again after finding the King Arthur’s blend!


Kate September 11, 2012 at 4:58 am

I’m amazed at your determination for the perfect delicious gluten free muffin!
I was wondering, in your 6 trials (!), if it is possible to omit xanthan gum?

I love reading your blog!!! :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Sadly no! Enjoy :)


Kay November 25, 2012 at 9:22 am

Hi. Thanks for the great recipe. These are delicious muffins. I have made them twice now and both times they have tasted great but looked horrible! LOL! I’m not sure what the problem is but the streusel topping keeps sinking into the center of them and creating a hole in the middle of the top of them. Any ideas what may have happened to cause this? Like I said, these taste great so I’ll keep making them even if they are ugly!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 25, 2012 at 9:27 am

Hey Kay, Hmm Im not sure! Did you make any changes to the recipe ingredients?


Kay November 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

No changes to the ingredients at all. I followed it exactly as written and used standard size muffin tins. At first I thought it was from overfilling the muffin cups. (This recipe does seem to make enough to fill more than 12 cups). The second time I made them I tried to make sure they were more evenly filled and some had less of a hole in them but they all seemed to have a depression in the top, if not a hole. Nonetheless, they are delicious and I don’t care if they look funny, although I wouldn’t want to serve them to guests! ;-)


Angela February 19, 2013 at 10:44 am

I made these for a neighbourhood brunch on the weekend and they were delicious! I am making another batch now since there weren’t any leftovers!
Chatelaine printed a gluten free recipe spread that had almost identical recipe but it was for carrot cupcakes. I replaced the eggs with one egg replace and one flax egg and they were very good also! The crumb topping on yours takes the cake though!


Camille March 29, 2013 at 8:27 am

Angela… I made these last night. The batter didn’t yield 12 for me, only 10, but that’s fine. What I mean to say is that… I ate all 10 this morning! CRAP! Mine seemed to be a little smaller than yours, but nonetheless, that’s still quite a bit! They were absolutely delicious and I don’t feel that guilty about it! I didn’t have teff flour so I used brown rice flour instead and I didn’t have tapioca starch so I used corn starch instead and they were great! Lovely texture. No granny smith apple so I used a pink lady. Salads and green smoothies for me for the rest of the day and tomorrow. ;) Thank you for the deliciousness though!


Sky October 16, 2013 at 9:26 pm

I was looking for a recipe that would be appropriate for both gluten free folks and vegans and came across this. I made the muffins and brought them to a client meeting. Everybody absolutely raved about them.

I used coarse sugar for the topping and have to say that it was a bit difficult to tell when the muffin was done. I had done 1 test muffin without the topping and that one was much easier to gauge… Also, there really wasn’t a lot of batter so I went with 9 muffin instead of 12, which worked out pretty well.

Thanks Angela for all your trials and errors putting together this recipe! I will definitely be making this one again!


Kat March 3, 2014 at 12:06 am

I made these tonight! I subbed brown rice flour for teff flour. I baked mini muffins for 19 min and full-sized muffins for 28min. Delish!! They turned out great even at high altitude. Love the recipes!


Stephanie July 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Do you think replacing the almond flour with coconut flour would work? We need nut free for our schools and events.


charityB December 4, 2016 at 12:30 pm

texture is nice, but way way way too sweet – and I didn’t even add the streusel


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