So, goodness, I rambled on a bit in that last post of mine. I’m going to try to make this post more recipe, less chat. Well, okay, a little bit of chat, but hopefully not too much.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been exploring not only the basics of Paleo cooking, but also of Paleo baking. I’ve been beyond surprised at just how delicious these treats can be! Now, I’m not new to gluten-free baking: almost all the the desserts we make where I work are vegan and gluten free, and we make them well. Oh, yes, they’re delicious, and I have often enjoyed eating them with gusto… but (dessert snob that I am) they’re still noticeably butterless and gluten-free to me. So I was completely astonished when the Paleo baked goods that I made, which are not only gluten-free but also entirely grain-free, dairy free, and sweetened with nothing other than honey and/or maple syrup, turned out so good I didn’t feel like anything was lacking.
Take, for instance, these muffins, which I made yesterday:
These beauties are made with almond and coconut flours: they get their sweetness from the fruit and a bit of honey and their moistness from eggs, coconut milk, and pumpkin puree.
I haven’t tried this yet since, you know, I only developed this recipe yesterday, but I imagine that it could easily be made vegan-friendly by substituting vegan yogurt for the eggs and maple syrup for the honey… if any of my vegan followers give that a try, let me know how it turns out!
And although the muffins may look dense, the truth is that they are some of the moistest, most tender, and well-textured muffins that I’ve had. I will definitely be making this recipe again… possibly soon! They are a great way to end any meal, or to just have as a snack along with some fruit or veggies or a handful of nuts. And the best part is, my body feels happy and nourished after I indulge!
Baking with coconut flour can be a little strange to adjust to for people who are used to the proportions of regular flour: it kinda has magical moisure-absorbing qualities. Now, this recipe only uses a small amount of coconut flour, so this fact isn’t as apparent when making these muffins, but you all will definitely see some counter-intuitive baking proportions in some of my later recipes that will use more coconut flour and less almond flour than this recipe does. Here’s a handy chart that I saw on Pinterest that illustrates the different proportions required when substituting coconut flour for all-purpose grain-based flours:
These also take longer to bake than wheat-based muffins, largely due to the high proportion of moisture used to account for the coconut flour. So, although these don’t take much time in which you’re actively shredding and mixing, there will be a lot of passive time when they’re in the oven, so make sure you have a good book around, or a friend with whom you can laugh and plan a peaceful revolution.
With all of that said, this recipe is pretty self-explanatory. Basically, all the same rules of baking apply for Paleo baking as for non-Paleo baking: the best texture will result if your ingredients are at room temperature, careful measuring makes a difference, and it’s important to pay attention during the last several minutes of baking time to ensure that you don’t over-bake them.
And, with no further ado, the recipe:
Apple-Carrot-Pumpkin Paleo Magic Muffins
- 2-1/4 cups almond flour
- 1/3 c coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ t nutmeg (freshly grated is always preferable!)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
- 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and grated
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- ½ c raisins
- 1/3 c dried cranberries
- 1/3 c dried cherries
- 3 eggs (vegan alternative: coconut yogurt)
- ½ c pumpkin puree
- 2/3 c coconut milk
- 1/3 c honey (or maple syrup)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line two muffin tins with paper liners (Trust me, with Paleo baking, the little paper liners usually used for cupcakes make getting the muffins out of the pans a LOT easier. You could just grease the tins with a bit of coconut oil, but if you can easily get the liners, I suggest you do!)
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add carrot, apple, coconut and dried fruits and mix gently, but well.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
- Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and combine well.
- Portion the batter out into the muffin tins and bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. You will know they’re done when a toothpick inserted into one of the muffins towards the center of the pan comes out clean.
- Cool muffins in the pan for 10 or 15 minutes, and then remove to a rack to finish cooling.
- Makes about 2 dozen muffins.