Pumpkin Ginger Spiced Muffins (Paleo)

I am not a baker. While I feel as though many of my best recipes are desserts, I think it’s because they’re a version of something everyone already likes… with a healthy twist. It’s like getting the best of both worlds.

In my attempt to fill my life with as many seasonally appropriate things as possible, I’ve studied Pinterest religiously, and canvassed the house with mums and Indian corn. I bought all of my cans of organic pumpkin puree BEFORE the mad Fall rush, and I have even thought of my outfits ahead of time, according to what sweater I want to wear that day. This last one is a fail because the weather is unseasonably warm, but I am determined to fill the house with smells of fall recipes and pumpkins, and spice.

Once the weather cools down, I’ll tackle more fall soups, salads and main dishes, but for now — I will continue my hand in baking. I grew up on carrot cakes,  ginger snaps and potpourri, but I never really had a sweet tooth. I’m not sure what happened between then and now, but I really enjoy baking.

These ‘lil beauts happened after much trial and error, and after a few rounds of bland muffins, I decided to dump in  a bunch of my favorite spices, sub in some pumpkin for apple sauce, and lo and behold, the perfect little breakfast muffin was born. Though they don’t need to be limited to breakfast, I find it’s just enough sweetness with the spice to satisfy. I use unsulphured/unsweetened molasses, which gives them a really nice earthy flavor.

I guess, the moral of the story here is that there are things in life that we don’t think we’re good at, but really, it’s just that we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to succeed. If you were to ask me if I’m a great baker, I’d probably say that I’m terrible… a “baking dunce”, if you will. When I think about it though, I should give myself at least a little credit for the things that ended up being pretty good.

This can really go for anything. A sport, playing an instrument, singing, etc. A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to drive a manual transmission. I thought I was always terrible at it — I couldn’t remember the last time I drove one. I got in, drove away, completely forgetting why I thought I couldn’t do it. Sometimes, you just need to remind yourself that you’re capable of whatever you want to do — sometimes you just need to try it.

Go make these muffins — they’re a delicious and healthy alternative to normal fall cakes and cookies. Yum!

Paleo Pumpkin Ginger Spiced Muffins

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Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Makes 12 muffins

 

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup of full fat canned coconut milk, mixed/shaken thoroughly
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 3 Tbsp organic molasses
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of fine ground Himalayan sea salt

 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a non-stick 12 cup muffin pan. You can use liners, but I find they get a nice shape when directly in the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut milk, coconut sugar, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients – almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture until just combined – since the flours aren’t wheat based, allow to set for about 5 minutes so everything  can absorb.
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups, about 1/2 to 2/3 full. The batter will rise at it cooks.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until starting to brown. You can test the doneness by sticking a toothpick in a few of the center muffins — nothing should stick to the toothpick.
  7. Remove from oven, allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 2 minutes or so before carefully removing them to cool.

 

Optional – if you prefer a more decadent muffin, feel free to mix some leftover coconut milk, maple syrup, pinch of cinnamon, ginger and allspice and drizzle over the top.

 

Enjoy!

Paleo Lemon-Poppyseed Muffins with Raspberry Drizzle

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While I probably shouldn’t start this post off having you doubt my baking abilities as I tell you to bake something, I will say that I am REALLY surprised these came out, because  I cook. I usually only cook. Because I. Cannot. Bake. Well, I couldn’t, at least not until today. Chalk this up to a victory!

Sundays are a weekly tradition of cooking a huge meal and inviting everyone over. The Sunday crew folks are my guinea-pigs, which so far has worked out quite well. I usually experiment with some crazy flavors, and so far, no one has complained, thrown up or died… so we keep it going. The family pastry chef was en route back home from a fun weekend up at Penn State for Arts Fest, so I had to step in and whip something up. I don’t have a sweet tooth, so fruit it was. Lo and behold – these babies were born. I lucked out, they came out pretty good in the first batch… even added a little coconut to give them a summery flavor. Even still, I don’t have any aspirations to own a bakery…. So these will do for now. And they’re paleo, wahoo!

One fun addition to these is the salt I used in the muffins… I really love salt. I could’ve been a farm animal in another life, with their little salt blocks they have. Years ago, I can remember being too young to drive myself to the local saddlery, so my mom would take me to go get supplies for the horses; treats, supplements, a salt lick, etc. I was sitting in the front seat of my mom’s car holding one of the blocks, wondering if it really just tasted like salt.

For the record, yes, it does. Yes, my mom was horrified. And yes, I just admitted to licking a salt block for horses. Final thought: 7 out of 10, would do it again. But, I digress.

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This salt, by Gourmet Himalayan in California, is a mix of vanilla beans and Himalayan sea salt, which is a fun addition to baked goods, or maybe even some salted caramel chocolate? I sense another experiment coming up.

The best part about using raspberries in recipes like this is because they’re in season, it’s summer, and it makes SUCH an amazing color that these pictures don’t really do it justice. This time of year is such a great time to experiment with dinner and dessert. Everything is ripe, the colors are amazing and vibrant… there’s nothing like eating dinner outside on the deck, barefoot, listening to all the little birds as the sun goes down. If you’re ever feeling like you’re moving too fast, or don’t have enough time to slow down, just grab a muffin and go sit outside and stare at a freaking tree… instant calm.  Once you’re out there, it’s that much easier to see that there’s just so much to be thankful for.

Paleo Lemon-Poppyseed Muffins with Raspberry Drizzle

Prep time: 40 min

Cook time: 20 min

Note: fruit could probably be added to these, but also adds moisture. For about ¾-1 cup of fruit, I might add another tablespoon or two of almond flour to absorb. Riper Fruit = more watery.

For the muffins:

  • 1 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan vanilla salt
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (not the bottled stuff!), plus zest of 2 lemons. This required about 2-3 lemons with a really good juicer
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the sauce:

  • ¾ cup raspberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp arrowroot powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix honey, lemon juice, ¾ of the lemon zest (leave a little for the garnish), coconut milk, eggs, coconut oil and vanilla extract together in a bowl.
  3. Separately in another bowl, mix the flower, shredded coconut, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt and poppy seeds.
  4. Combine the ingredients and let stand for a few minutes to let the dry ingredients soak everything in.
  5. In a greased muffin pan, fill the cups about 2/3 the way full. Paper liners stick to these, so I would recommend using just a regular muffin pan.
  6. Bake about 18-20 minutes. To test if they’re done, stick a toothpick of a knife in one; nothing should stick to it if they’re done baking.
  7. Meanwhile, as the muffins are baking, heat the raspberries, water and honey in a pan on medium low heat until it begins to bubble, about 2-3 minutes. Turn to low and let stew for another 2-3 minutes.
  8. Once the berries soften, add to a mixer or blender and pulse until consistent texture… this didn’t take more than a few pulses, as there wasn’t a lot of berries and a Vitamix is super aggressive.
  9. Return mixture to pan on medium low heat, stirring in arrowroot powder slowly. Unlike corn starch, this doesn’t stay clumpy so you can usually add it right to what you’re cooking. However – it thickens VERY quickly when heated, so make sure you stir it in right away, and continue to stir until you use it!

The muffins should be done around the same time as this sauce, so once you have them out of the oven, drizzle the mixture over-top immediately. A little melting and dripping makes them pretty, so no need to let them cool before adding the drizzle.

Sprinkle the remaining lemon zest over them and serve. Enjoy!

-S