Fall Calls: Pumpkin (grain-free) Muffins & Other Seasonal Ideas

It didn’t feel much like fall this past Saturday as we sat through a sweltering, 90-degree day to watch Navy beat Air Force in Annapolis. But that didn’t stop us from ushering as much fall flavor as possible into our breakfast tailgate and stop-by-the-car halftime lunch.

Navy game

My friend Christi (pictured below) made these to-die-for pumpkin cinnamon rolls that may have made an appearance on the way to the tailgate. (There was traffic! We were starved!) You can find the recipe that she adapted here, which is vegan unless you sub in real butter. (Chia seeds in water function as the binder and add crunch.) The game started just after 11 a.m., so mimosas and bloody Marys were the tailgate beverages of choice. But, due to said traffic (you’d think Oklahoma grads would know better!), we made it to the parking lot just in time to scarf down some food and head in.

Christi & I

Along with the cinnamon rolls, I brought some Canadian bacon from my farmers market that I had quickly cooked in the oven that morning. One bite and I was convinced we needed to buy a hog from this family farm that had already gotten plenty of our meat-buying money this year (we split one of their quarter cows with friends). I dare say the Canadian version was better than bacon. It had more flavor, less fat and nothing like the perfectly round bits we usually call Canadian bacon. We also brought some deviled eggs (eggs purchased from the same farmer), which were not a bad choice for a meal that served as both breakfast and lunch.  At lunch, there were also bagels and pumpkin spice beers.

Now that the rain came yesterday and I actually needed a jacket this morning, it feels a bit more like the Fall I have grown to love here in Virginia. As much as I miss the Pacific Northwest at times, you couldn’t drag me out of this state this time of year. I know which trees on my street will turn which colors at which times and often haul my camera with me on dog walks to catch them at their peak (which isn’t here yet).

Also, if there ever were a time of year to draw us all back to the kitchen or to make a non-baker (like me) want to bake, this is it. Our internal survival instincts make us want to eat our way into winter and, sometimes, we should listen just a little.

There are plenty of healthful meals that put fall’s bounty to work for dinners. In recent weeks, I’ve brushed delicata squash rings with a maple-chipotle glaze and grilled them. I’ve experimented with cranberry/October beans (the gorgeous pink-dotted ones) which made their way into an Italian-inspired Fagioli soup with my canned sauce. And I found a preparation for butternut squash that may be my husband’s favorite (and perhaps the easiest) — cook it tender in a hodgepodge soup. Or, as my grandma calls the brothy mixture that puts everything in your fridge to use, “garbage soup.”

Oh, and if there’s celery at your farmers market right now, buy it. Use the leaves to flavor your chicken broth and add the rest to soups or aforementioned bloody Marys… or just with peanut butter.

But, as you may know, the most quintessential fall recipes come in muffin tins. And they must include pumpkin. That’s how I felt the need a few weeknights ago to whip up a batch of muffins that would scream “Fall!” but not pack on the winter pounds quite yet. My friend Stacey mentioned the idea first and then I fiddled with a few recipes to find this one for pumpkin muffins made with almond flour and maple syrup.

photo 1

I usually short my baking recipes on the sugar, knowing that, especially in this case, I can always drizzle a little maple syrup over the top if it’s dessert, and leave it off if it’s breakfast (which would, undoubtedly, entail a pat of melting butter).

photo 4

Adapted from The Urban Poser.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (which can be made from a roasted pie pumpkin or comes in a can)
  • 1/3 cup raw local honey (I used maple syrup instead)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice OR the following four spices:
  1. 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  2. 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  3. 1/4 tsp cloves
  4. 1/4 tsp ginger
  • Optional: add 1/4 cup Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 325.
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, maple syrup/honey, oil and vanilla. If needed pulse mixture in a blender to get the pumpkin smooth. (I always toss it all in the Kitchen Aid.)
In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt and spices together.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix till well combined, with no visible lumps.
Stir in the chocolate chips (optional step… unless my husband is in the kitchen).
Pour the batter into prepare muffin cups/pan. About 2/3 full, smoothing the tops.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
photo 3
These muffins are great on-the-go if you bake them in the wrappers (though take a napkin, since the coconut oil seeps through a bit). They’re also great with an iced mocha or — now that it actually feels like fall — a hot mocha. The puppy is always trying to snag a sip.
4 Responses to “Fall Calls: Pumpkin (grain-free) Muffins & Other Seasonal Ideas”
  1. Krisco says:

    What, no comments bout the dog sucking on the long straw for a sip???

    Pretty amazing trick I say!

    Oh, I guess you did mention that…

    • whitneypipkin says:

      Yes my dog is quite skilled at stealing food & beverages. And, if I recall, she learned to knock over beers from her favorite granddaddy (ahem).

  2. Melissa Graves says:

    These muffins look delicious! I am on the hunt for a wheat and sugar free alternative to pumpkin bread/muffins that hits the mark. Can’t wait to give these a try!

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