It’s FALL! And even though we do not feel it that much here, in Santa Barbara, we do know (by the looks of the new Halloween merchandise on the shelves everywhere and the calendar) that the Fall IS coming. Pumpkins, rats, witches, bats, spiders, black cats, spider webs, scary face masks, more witches, more bats and more pumpkins everywhere… It also means special foods, special treats and special spices and seasonal specialties everywhere, including on our dinner tables. Below is a simple pumpkin muffin recipe that is gluten free and rather healthy. (You can experiment with sugar quantities in it. If you diminish the amount of sugar in the recipe, you can take the word “rather” out of the previous sentence!) Like with any recipe you can stick with “the purist principles” and start from scratch – with almonds you have to ground (oh, yes, and grow, too!), spice mix you have to mix, real pumpkin you have to buy (or grow from the seed), cut in half, scoop out the seeds, then roast and puree or… use some commercial help and go for some ingredients that can be bought “muffin-ready”, like pumpkin puree, mixed pumpkin pie spices, and ready-to-use almond flour (or almond meal). What’s better? What you do depends on the amount of time, patience and resources you have, but even using all the “short cuts” available (as long as you go for good quality ingredients) you will get a wonderfully delicious batch of pumpkin muffins. The recipe follows. Enjoy!
I used store bought pumpkin puree and store bought almond flour, but mixed my own spices, albeit each one of those was store bought individually – I did not grow and cultivate them.
(Gluten – free) PUMPKIN MUFFINS
Makes 12 standard size muffins.
1 3/4 cups almond meal or almond flour (or “ground your own” almonds)
about 2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of baking soda
about 1/2 teaspoon salt
Spices: 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
(but, surely, one can use store bought pumpkin pie spice mix or adjust the spice mix you make according to what you like)
7 – 8 tablespoons of coconut oil (in a liquid state – so, warm it up a bit if you have to)
1 1/3 cups brown sugar (well… any sugar will do)
2 large eggs (“happy” – that is organic, if possible)
1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree (as mentioned before – you have a choice- cook the real stuff (a pumpkin) or rely on a store bought brand of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling, as it has many interesting and not needed ingredients added to it)
Add ins (whatever you like):
dark chocolate chips
shredded (non sweetened or sweetened, if you so desire) coconut
black chia seeds
Prep and preheat: heat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan (or two 6-cup muffins pans) with liners, or skip the liners and just grease the cups.
Mix the dry ingredients first (ideally that is, but I often, when in a hurry, omit this step and just mix them on top of “the wet ingredients”): in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices ( cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves). Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the coconut oil (liquid) and sugar .
Add the eggs.
Add the pumpkin puree: mix in the pumpkin puree.
Add the dry ingredients: stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups so they are about 3/4 of the way full.
Bake the muffins: place the muffin tin in the oven. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a tester comes out with few crumbs.
Cool the muffins. Let the muffins cool enough to handle, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling. (However, I usually, put them in a big aluminum foil baking pan almost right after removing them from the oven – the muffins will be hot, and so will be the baking pan… I then cover the foil baking tray/pan with a sheet of foil, and let the muffins cool “in their new home” – that allows for the liners to be peeled of easier later (due to condensation).
Leftover muffins can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months… Wait, what leftover muffins?