With fall just around the corner, here’s another guest post from my favourite gluten-free guru Sarah Berneche. Her muffin recipe is the perfect healthy breakfast or snack to get me in the mood for fall – can’t wait to try them!
I know you don’t want to face it – I don’t even want to admit it – but fall has unofficially touched down in the GTA. I will confess, though, that as much as I love summer, autumn is perhaps my favourite season. There’s something utterly romantic about September: apple picking in riding boots and plaid shirts; the return of scarves; reading a book while huddled under a blanket, hot tea (or coffee or mulled cider) in hand. To warm myself to the prospect of cooler weather and darker days, I find it helpful to bake a batch of season-inspired muffins or granola. There’s something reassuring about that the sweet intermingling of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg that whispers, it’s okay, we’re going to get through this. I don’t know about you, but just imagining it has me seduced.
With wide, open arms, I also welcome the return of pumpkin into my life. While I suspect the idea of pumpkin has the vast majority of you envisioning pie and other desserts, it’s actually equally fantastic in savory applications – think of a sage-infused pumpkin sauce over brown rice pasta, quinoa or spaghetti squash or pumpkin and black bean enchiladas. Smaller pumpkins can be halved and stuffed; the seeds, when roasted with a sprinkling of sea salt and some chili powder, make an excellent snack. To add fuel to our bonfire, pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse. Because of its high Vitamin A content, pumpkin slows the signs of aging and wards off infection, keeps skin and teeth looking healthy, and promotes good vision. I bet this will have you looking at that Jack-o’-Lantern in a whole new light. Just remember to eat it with a bit of fat, as Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin – meaning it needs some fat for your body to absorb it.
To welcome this year’s season change, I made a batch of pumpkin muffins. These are great with coffee or tea for a quick breakfast or perfect pre- or post-workout snacks; the combination of slow burning carbohydrates and protein are great for energy and muscle generation/repair.
Pumpkin Coconut Muffins
Yields 8-9 muffins
Notes: I made these muffins with 1/2 cup of molasses, which I thought was perfect. If you’re looking for a muffin that’s a bit more on the sweet side, you can try bumping the quantity up to 3/4 cup. The molasses flavour is quite pronounced immediately after baking, but fades quite a bit by the second day.
1/2 c pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 c coconut flour
4 large eggs (room temperature preferred)
1/2-3/4 c blackstrap molasses or maple syrup
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp pink salt or sea salt
3/4 c raisins, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, etc. (optional)
Shredded, unsweetened coconut or coconut chips (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350F and grease a muffin tin using unsalted butter or an oil with a high smoke point (grapeseed oil and coconut oil are my preferences).
Add all ingredients except for the raisins and coconut chips in a large bowl and mix well to combine. You will really need to mix this, as coconut flour is notoriously stubborn.
Once well combined, add the raisins (if using) and fill the muffin tin. You can expect this to yield 8-9 muffins. Top with shredded coconut or coconut chips and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool, refrigerate and consume within the week (store in freezer if you want them to last longer).
Sarah Berneche is a Toronto-based writer, voracious eater and home cook, and the voice behind The Documentarian (http://www.sarahberneche.com), a collection of food stories. She holds a B.A.H. and M.A. in English Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Windsor and a post-graduate certificate in Creative Book Publishing from Humber College; currently, she is a holistic nutrition student at CSNN. In her free time, she volunteers as a fruit gleaner and event organizer for Not Far From the Tree (http://www.notfarfromthetree.org) and as a contributing blogger & editor for LEAF (http://www.yourleaf.org).