Starbucks Style Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Muffins

Starbucks Style Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Muffins

Chocolate caramel muffins on brown surface
It appears that I’m on a Starbucks copycat recipe kick (remember yesterday’s Gluten Free Asiago Bagels?). Today it’s Starbucks-Style Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Muffins. When I shared the recipe for Starbucks-Style Outrageous Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies, one of you whip-smart readers said, hey, what about their chocolate caramel muffins? I’m pretty sure I got right to work on that recipe the very same day. Can you blame me? Just look at those tender chocolate muffins (not too sweet!) and the drippy, gorgeous caramel (yes, sweet!). And they were the ones who decided to call it a muffin. So it’s fit for breakfast. Starbucks Says So.

Chocolate caramel muffins on wooden surface

I love writing copycat recipes (my publisher didn’t want to call the book “Copycats” or “Clones” or “Mock” anything, so we’re still working on, well, a working title—suggestions anyone?). It’s a big, fat, fun challenge for me (make it taste just like the original!), and it cuts right to the heart of why I really love developing gluten free recipes in the first place: to give you back what you thought you had lost forEVER.

But for at least half of every year for the last 4+ years, I’ve been hard at work developing recipes … that I can’t share with you at ALL since they’re for the next cookbook (yay! good problem to have, for sure).

Since I’m also sharing new recipes most days on the blog, I can stay calm and not spill new recipes nearly a year before they hit the bookstore shelves. But what really helps is to take the concept (copycat recipes) and share recipes that are of a category that I don’t plan to write about for the new cookbook.

Chocolate muffins on metal tray

So, the new new cookbook (Bakes Bread is still new, right?) is filled with chapters like Cookies (Mallomars and Vienna Fingers!), Crackers & Other Savory Crunchy Snacks (Cheese Nips and Club Crackers!),  Snack Cakes (Sno Balls and Devil Dogs!), Breakfast & Fruity Treats (Pop Tarts and Fig Newtons!), and Candy (Twix and Ferrero Rocher!). Starbucks baked goods don’t fit in any of those chapters, right?!

Chocolate muffins with caramel on wooden surface

So they’re fair game for the blog. Which means that, in my head at least, I feel like I am sharing something of a sneak peek of the new new cookbook with you, except not really.

Overhead view of chocolate caramel muffins on brown surface

Before we get to the recipe, I do have to warn you: these are better than you even think they are. The chocolate muffins are not overly sweet at all, so when the sweet caramel sits in the hole at the top of the muffin, it soaks into the muffin itself.

It makes for an impossibly tender muffin with the best chocolate-caramel flavor you’ve ever experienced. Those Starbucks people might make some hard-to-love coffee (sorry, fans!), but they do know how to bake. Luckily, I’m hell-bent on making it all gluten free for us. 

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 muffins


For the muffins
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

4 tablespoons (32 g) cornstarch (try another starch if you can’t have corn)

1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch-processed, but natural should be fine)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons (28 g) vegetable oil

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon (21 g) unsulphured molasses

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

2 eggs (120 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature

3 ounces miniature chocolate chips, tossed in 1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the caramel filling*
10 pieces Kraft Soft Caramels (82 g)

2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) heavy whipping cream

*To make your own caramel filling, use the Caramel Filling in my Gluten Free Chocolate Turtle Cookies recipe


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin, and set it aside.

  • In a medium-size bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, place the butter and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vegetable oil, melted chocolate, molasses and sugar, and beat to combine well. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat again to combine well. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer, alternating with the buttermilk, mixing to combine after each addition and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. The mixture will be thick, but somewhat fluffy. Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the chips mixed with cornstarch, and mix until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

  • Fill the prepared wells of the muffin tin about 3/4 of the way full with batter. Shake back and forth and side to side to spread the batter into an even layer in each well. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached (about 20 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the muffins are cooling, make the caramel filling. Place the caramels and heavy whipping cream in a small, microwave-safe bowl, and melt on 60% power in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Once the muffins are cool, with a paring knife, cut a cone shape out of the center of each muffin and fill with the caramel until it just begins to drizzle out a bit. Allow to set at room temperature and serve.


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