Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gluten Free & Vegan - Pumpkin Muffins!

It's that time of year! Time to bake with pumpkin, my very favorite autumn baking squash! I have been dying to bake with pumpkin since diving into egg-free baking (a year and a half ago, wow the time flies!) but have mostly held off until now. Why? Some things just take time to knock around in my head before I can do anything with them. I love pumpkin breads and pies so much that I didn't want to turn out terrible failures of baked goods...that would just be depressing. I wanted to make sure I'd be reasonably successful, especially as DH is not as fond of pumpkin as I am. He's very good about consuming my experiments/trials and errors...but I didn't want to push it with pumpkin flops.

What kept knocking around in my head for lo, these many months were these facts: anything traditionally featuring pumpkin requires eggs, usually at least two. Pumpkin puree is dense and needs something to make it airy (the eggs usually accomplish this). I don't bake with Egg Replacer. Egg-free baking tends to go downhill when you try to replace more than two eggs. Starch flour tends to torpedo gluten-free, egg-free baking (yes, I'm still traumatized by watching that happen). Although nut flours generally provide for a better rise, I don't bake with nut flours (Anna is sensitive to nuts). Like other fruit purees, pumpkin puree can be used as an egg replacer, but what would replace the egg in a pumpkin recipe? Surely not more pumpkin or another puree - even compensating with a little extra leavening I was afraid the end product would be too dense and wet. So, more than likely I would not be able to convert a recipe - I'd have to stitch one together on my own.

So for inquiring minds - here's my deal on Egg Replacer. I don't keep it in the house and refuse to bake with it. Why? Because I believe I can do it better all by myself. I don't need to buy a hella expensive egg substitute that in my experience doesn't work as well as fruit purees or even flax meal. All Egg Replacer contains is starch flour, leavening agents (calcium lactate which is baking powder, calcium carbonate which is a baking soda substitute and citric acid) and thickening/emulsifying agents (sodium carboxymethylcellulose and methylcellulose - carbohydrate gums which for those who care, may be corn derivatives). Egg Replacer is a glorified leavening agent. But more important to me than that is that it just goes against my DIY tendencies to use Egg Replacer. If I really wanted to use it, I could make it myself. But I don't. I'd much rather use other more handy egg substitutes such as fruit purees, flax meal, maple syrup, honey, canola oil, gelatin or agar powder (which I'm getting ready to play with soon) with a little added leavening. For me, it's more challenging and more fun to do it myself. So that is why you'll never see Egg Replacer called for in any of my recipes.

Okay, enough of that. Without further ado, here is my take on pumpkin muffins. I based them on my zucchini muffins, and they came out smashingly. They are not dense or gummy, not crumbly, and remain airy even after being refrigerated. I'm so pleased with how they turned out that I'm all gung-ho to try pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie...get ready, DH. I fear the onslaught is near!

Gluten Free, Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

Dry Ingredients
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tbsp. flax meal
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 generous tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk (or rice, hemp or nut milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with baking cups, set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until smooth (it should look like thick caramel). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Fill the baking cups 3/4 full. I only get 10 muffins - remove any extra baking cups and put a little water in the bottom of any empty muffin cups to prevent the pan from warping.

Bake the muffins about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the muffins completely on a wire rack before serving. Makes about 10 muffins. They can sit on the counter for a day, but store in the refrigerator after one day - they will keep two more days in the refrigerator.

I know there is a difference between muffins (a quick bread) and cupcakes (a cake).
But I frosted these muffins and called them cupcakes anyway. The girls loved them.


Stephanie said...

So, my daughter and I are egg-free and dairy free... but not gluten free. Can I use "regular" flour to replace the combined other flours you suggest here--- what do you think? I would love to have a vegan pumpkin recipe!

Erin said...

Hi Stephanie,
I'd try this recipe first:

I'm not sure how my muffins would convert back to regular flour. It might be fine, but then you might have to tweak it a bit. The Post Punk Kitchen has some amazing vegan recipes - I've made their gluten free & vegan cupcakes and they are fabulous. So I'd say...start there, and then play around and see what happens.

Good luck!

Ina said...

Erin...first things first here...Love love your new site - gorgeous color, in fact my favorite. Then you mention pumpkin? Mercy! Anything pumpkin has me sold! Thanks for the info on egg re-placer - I have used it once and do not ever want to use it again (one bad experience is enough! Your muffins look divine! :)

Erin said...

Thanks, Ina! This is my favorite color too. It was time for a change...I'm not tech savvy enough to do anything other than use a simple template, but it works! I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't use Egg Replacer. Would love to hear your experience. Oh and your recent cobbler post...yum! I will have to try it! :)

Nicole said...

Looks good Erin! I'm sure my kids will love if I try them out. :)

On egg-replacer, I actually do use it (except in specific recipes) and I've never had an issue. Plus, it takes a LONG time to go through one box (as far as expense). So just sayin' that for me it works, price is ok for how long it lasts, and it's convenient for those of us who don't have the time/inclination to experiment.

Nicole said...

By the way, love the new look! Makes me feel very festive and ready to bake. :)

Anonymous said...

These look divine!
Love your updated site - it certainly grabbed my attention this morning.

Erin said...

Hi Nicole - thanks for your comment. I'm glad the festivity is inspiring. I'm glad Egg Replacer works for you, it probably makes life a lot easier! :)

Hi Anonymom - grabbing your attention is what I aim to do. >:)

Momma Fox said...

Those look fabulous! Do you have any idea what I could do to replace the flax though? My poor little guy cannot tolerate flax (much to my dismay) and he does do eggs so I've never dabbled in egg replacements, flax or otherwise.

Erin said...

Hi Momma Fox,
omit the flax and add an egg. You may want to add a tablespoon of extra flour...try millet...if the batter seems too wet. Let me know how this works out for you if you try it. :)

fallcityrose said...

These turned out great, with a very nice texture/crumb, and not too chewy or dense like most of the gluten-free, vegan muffins I attempt. I did sub some extra millet flour for the sorghum flour since I was all out of sorghum flour, and I used rice milk since my son has nut allergies. It's definitely a keeper for my gfcf recipe files.


Erin said...

Thanks, Rose! I'm glad they turned out great for you. :)