I absolutely LOVE fall. I love the cooler temperatures, sweaters and boots, warm drinks, mums, pumpkins-all of it! Many of the traditions we have as a family happen in the fall-apple picking, the pumpkin patch, hayrides, and FOOD. But, we are still in the first year of Natalie eating dairy and gluten-free, so this fall I am heading into the season a little off my normal fall planning game. So, it’s time for some experimenting!
When we started eating Paleo and holidays or special occasions came up, we didn’t worry that the Christmas cookies weren’t Paleo or that there was milk in the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. We chose to enjoy the treats and the food others lovingly made for us, and then we went back to eating Paleo at home. I even baked a couple of treats throughout the season that weren’t Paleo. But now that Natalie is strictly dairy and gluten-free, I have some planning to do. There are SO MANY things to prepare for in the next few months. My brother-in-law’s rehearsal dinner and wedding are later this month. Then Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas will come, and I am going to need to find a way to navigate the food and treats in all those situations that are so closely tied to food. I take food for her almost everywhere we go. For example, I made her pizza she could have and she took it with her to a birthday party she was invited to last week after I found out pizza was being served. Shout out to the mama who let me know ahead of time! I try my best to make sure that whatever I take for Natalie to eat closely mimics whatever everyone else is eating, because it breaks my heart when she says she feels so different from everyone else.
So, when the kids started asking me to make their favorite pumpkin-cream cheese muffins recently, I wanted to try to find a way to give them one of their favorite tastes of fall in a way Natalie could enjoy.
This recipe is not Paleo, but it is dairy and gluten-free. I used the gluten-free flour blend sold at Costco, Namaste Gluten Free Organic Perfect Flour Blend, and I greatly reduced the sweetener. I also switched the sweetener from sugar to sucanat. Sucanat, is the contraction of sugar cane natural. White sugar is extremely processed and all nutritional content has been removed. It is literally empty calories. Also, much of the sugar in this country comes from sugar beets, which is a crop that is between 85-90% GMO. Sucanat is simply evaporated cane juice made from organic sugar cane. It retains its molasses content, so it is a source of iron, calcium, vitamin B6, potassium and chromium. In this case, the molasses taste of sucanat fit the flavors of this muffin perfectly.
If you can find it, try to find pumpkin in a Tetra Pak to avoid BPA lined cans.
I didn’t attempt to recreate the cream cheese filling….yet. But stay tuned!
I’m always eager to get my kids’ reactions when I change something they love and associate with holidays or seasons. We all have those nostalgic comfort foods we associate with memories of warmth and love. So, when Mariah looked at me after biting into her first muffin and said, “Mom, I don’t know how you do it, but you do it every time!” I knew I had a winner. And my gluten-free girl? She loved them just as much. Um, yeah….these are amazing!
Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Streusel Topping (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
For the muffins:
3 cups gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (make sure it’s gluten-free)
1 cup sucanat
16 oz pumpkin puree, approximately 2 cups
1 1/4 cups light olive oil
For the topping:
1/2 cup sucanat
5 Tablespoons gluten-free flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons ghee, chilled
1) Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with paper or silicone liners.
2) To make the muffins, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sucanat, pumpkin puree, vanilla and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
3) To make the topping, combine the sucanat, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the chilled ghee and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
4) Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full with the batter. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping on each muffin. This recipe should make 24 muffins.
5) Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.
Adapted from this recipe.