Don’t you love a good muffin in the morning? Especially with a cup of coffee? Or in the car driving kids to school, like I do almost every morning. I’m always so thankful I made these pumpkin muffins without the extra sugar when I’m making the mad rush out the door and my stomach is growling at me. (Yes, it growls AT me.)
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Tips for making perfect muffins every time
- Starting your muffins at 425°F and then reducing to 375°F will give you an optimal rise along the sides of your muffins and gets you that elusive and delicious muffin top (I mean, who doesn’t love a good muffin top?).
- Do not over mix! Mixing quick breads and muffins as little as possible ensures a tender crumb. If you over mix, it develops the gluten in the flour, making your muffin “breadier” and tough. Basically, you want to mix until there are no more streaks of flour to be seen, using as little stirring motion as possible. I like to use the old “around the outside and through the middle” technique of going around the outside of the bowl and then one pass through the middle.
- Wondering the best way to add fruit or chips so they don’t sink to the bottom? Mix them up with a tablespoon of flour and add them in last. This helps suspend the heavier add-ins in the batter and keeps them from starting a party on the floor of your muffin. This is especially true when adding in chunks of fruit, like apples, pears, or cranberries. But I still do it for chocolate chips too.
- There are so many amazing muffin toppings to choose from; There are streusels, sugar, nuts, chips, fruit and more. When deciding which topping goes best with your muffin, think about how much sugar is already in the muffin. If there is a lot of sweet fruit, like pear go plain or with a simple sprinkling of sugar. For less sweet muffins, like pumpkin, I like to add a streusel.
I really enjoy finding sugar substitutes in my baking. I am unwilling to give up baked goods entirely, even when I realized how insane my kids get when they have sugar. So I started researching and made almost a complete switch in all our sweet baked goods to alternative sugars. I prefer the natural ones (as opposed to processed sugar substitutes like Equal). Coconut sugar, honey and maple syrup are my three go-to substitutes. And let me tell you, after reducing our refined sugar I no longer prefer overly sweet desserts. My kids are just as insane, but I feel better knowing they’re getting less of the gunky stuff.
Gluten Free Muffin Option
If you’d like to try making your pumpkin muffins gluten free, use Cup 4 Cup. It tastes the most similar to regular ol’ gluten full flour. And Amazon (link above) has a really good price. I keep this on hand all the time for myself and for my gluten free family and friends.
Alternative Sugars Explained (a little)
Coconut Sugar has a low glycemic index, and is not processed like white sugar. Your body absorbs it similar to fruit sugars. No sugar spike and crash, which I love! It’s my go-to for baking, since it can be replaced 1:1 for white sugar or brown sugar. So you get a very close consistency end product with just as much sweetness, but no refined sugar. My favorite is this one found at Target. I like it because it has the best price and convenience.
Honey and Maple Syrup can be a little harder to substitute in recipes, but it can be done with a little experimenting. I like to match the flavor to what I’m baking, too. Pumpkin muffins and maple syrup just go together. Just like my banana muffins and honey go well together. In some recipes, I combine one of these natural sweeteners with others, like applesauce or bananas. Give it a try! You’ll find you don’t even miss the refined sugar anymore!
How to make perfect pumpkin muffins
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray muffin tin with non stick spray and set aside.
Combine the wet ingredients in a large bowl (pumpkin purée, maple syrup, coconut oil and egg) and mix well.
Next, add coconut sugar and mix again. If you don’t have coconut sugar, feel free to use regular sugar or just omit altogether to keep it healthier.
In a separate bowl, mix together the all purpose flour (or gluten free substitute), baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Once there are no more flour streaks, scoop the batter into a muffin tin using a large cookie scoop (its the perfect size for muffins or cupcakes).
Mix up the streusel by combining the dry ingredients, then add the cold butter and mix together with your fingers until it is small crumbs. Evenly sprinkle the streusel on top of the muffins before baking.
Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 15-18 minutes until completely set. The initial high temperature will give you muffins a great rise and those pretty domes tops.
Loving these Pumpkin Muffins? Try these other recipes with no refined sugar!
If you decide to give this recipe a try, be sure to snap a photo to share, tagging @theovenlight and #theovenlight on Instagram or Facebook!
Everyday Pumpkin Muffins – No Refined Sugar
- 1 15 oz can of pumpkin purée not pumpkin pie purée
- 1/3 C maple syrup
- 1/3 C coconut oil melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg room temp
- 3/4 C coconut sugar
- 2 C all purpose flour or GF alternative
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 C all purpose flour or GF substitute
- 1/3 C coconut sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp butter cold
- 1/2 C chopped pecans optional
If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice substitute with:
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 425°. Spray 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray, set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and egg. Once fully combined, mix in coconut sugar.
- In a separate bowl, fully mix dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix just until combined, do not over mix.
- To make the streusel, combine dry ingredients, then add butter in small pads. Using your fingers mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal. Add pecans, if using.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins until about 3/4 full. It should use the entire recipe to make 12.
- Evenly spoon streusel on top of muffins.
- Place on center rack of oven. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375° and bake for another 15-20 minutes until muffins are fully baked and tops spring back when touched.