Starbucks Style Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel 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.