Fall is finally here! Bring on fires and cozy sweaters, apple cider and pumpkin bread. I LOVE fall. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE pumpkin.
Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin muffins…
I love it all; each and every refined-carb-calorie-bomb-pumpkin-filled bite. I love it.
I do not, however, love what these goodies do to my butt, or thighs, or belly, or
cankles ankles. Plus I’m working hard to revamp my family’s diet, and with the exception of my husband’s small cookie addiction and the occasional treat for the kids, we’ve pretty much kicked white flour and sugar to the curb. All of which is great, except now it’s pumpkin season, and I want, nay I NEED, a hunk of nutty pumpkin bread, slathered in butter to eat with my coffee.
Unless, stick with me here, I could try one of those grain-free, sugar-free pumpkin recipes I see flying all over Pinterest. I’m skeptical, but it couldn’t hurt to try– right?
It seems like everyone I know is doing Paleo , (I would too, but apparently dairy is a Paleo no-no, and if I love anything more than pumpkin, it’s cheese. Oh, and wine. And cheese and wine together. But I digress).
All my paleo friends tell the same big fat lie; they rave up and down about their Paleo/gluten free baked goods, “Here,” they say, ” try my grain-free, nut-free, dairy-free, vegan friendly, beet, avocado and quinoa cake! It tastes just like chocolate. I bet you can’t tell the difference.” I sample a bite, and while I smile encouragingly on the outside, inside I’m wondering if 1. the sawdust I’m trying to swallow is even digestible by humans, and 2. am I being punked?
Needless to say, I’m a little put off by the whole “alternative flour” thing. My pumpkin bread recipe makes grown men cry, it’s that good. But it is also a giant hole of empty calories.
So, against all odds, I made the decision to try my hand at paleo baking.
In my search for “healthy” pumpkin bread, I decided to try three muffin recipes: One with coconut flour, one with almond flour and one flourless. We (the kids and I) made all three on the same morning. (That insanity is a whole other story)! Then we ate and judged them on taste, pumpkininess, texture and kid appeal. The winning muffin(s) earned a spot in my recipe box.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but there was a winner. No, actually, there were two winners! I can’t say they taste “just like” the original, but they are both pretty darn good! Good enough for my morning coffee!
Flourless, Chocolate, Pumpkin Mini Muffins. (Find recipe here.)
I was super skeptical about these! There is NO flour and the recipe is from a blog called Eating Bird Food. I kid you not. It’s a lovely blog, I’m sure, but the name doesn’t speak decadence to me. Though that is exactly what these delicious little taste bombs are. Decadence.
These scored high in all categories, except for pumpkininess. To me the chocolate was the most prominent flavor, not a problem, just not pumpkin bread. These were, however, super easy to make, only took 7min. to bake, and allowed me to use the basically new mini-muffin tin I bought years ago– when I believed I’d someday live a life filled with mini quiches, tarts and muffins.
Plus my kids DEVOURED them. We WILL make these again!
(Side note: I was out of chocolate chips, so I chopped up a Theo 85% Dark Chocolate Bar instead. Mmmmmmm)
Paleo Pumpkin Muffins with Almond Flour. (Find recipe here.) Oh. My. Gosh. Run, do not walk, to your kitchen and make these. They are so good. Seriously. From someone who DOES NOT bake paleo or gluten free, I’m telling you, these are good. You will like them. You will not miss the flour or sugar. I’m serious. I would not lie to you!
They are moist, so moist. And pumpkiny. And gooooood.
The only thing I’ll do differently next time is add a little more cinnamon, but I like mine with a lot of spice.
Also, I de-paleod and ate them with homemade honey, pecan cream cheese. YUM. YUM. YUM.
At some point this fall, I’m sure I’ll make my full-treat version of pumpkin bread, but for now, this recipe is a great stand-in!
Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Nut-free) with Coconut Flour. (Find recipe here.) These were good. And if you have any nut allergies in your family, they’d be a great alternative to the ones made with almond flour. Buuuut, I didn’t love the texture. Coconut flour makes baked goods a little gritty.
Despite the texture issue, we did not have any trouble making these muffins disappear!
Overall, I’d say it was a pretty successful experiment!
PS: What are your favorite fall treats?