It all began with this recipe for Pumpkin Peanut Butter Skillet Cookie. Until that point, I had frequently used peanut and almonds butter in savory soups, smoothies, sauces, and more (love these sesame peanut noodles!). I had baked with them, too. But I had never used nut butters as a full-on replacement for flour in baked goods.
Once I realized how incredibly well they worked–while lending moister, flavor, and healthy fats to the resulting baked goods–I was a fan. The initial success inspired further experimentation, and as I baked increasingly more often with nut butters (and nut flours, too), I continued to be delighted by the results.
Not only do these ingredients produce appealing texture and taste (less “nutty” than one might imagine), they offer an excellent nutritional profile including significant protein and quality fats. They also lend particularly well to baking with natural sweeteners such as honey and maple syrup.
Flash back to last summer, when my husband was traveling for work. He experienced an exceptionally delay-ridden flight that involved several trips on and off the plane as the passengers exceeded the total amount of time they were permitted, under FAA regulations, to sit on the tarmac. My husband got to know the person who sat next to him during this ordeal rather well! They even discovered mutual friends. She worked for Barney Butter and, after hearing that I like to cook with almond butter, she kindly gave him a coupon. (I love a good coupon!)
As my husband told me about his trip, we laughed about how he initially sought out almond butter in the dairy aisle, next to the butter and margarine. Once you know that almond butter is like peanut butter, this seems rather silly. I thought it worth mentioning though, as a friend just mentioned she did the same thing recently. (If you would like to read specifically about almond butter and see the various options, from creamy and chunky to several specialty flavors, click on this link. You will also find helpful nutritional information here.)
The following recipe has been a favorite of my kids for a while now. Canned or frozen pumpkin puree make it a year-round option. I love these muffins, too, but wanted to make one final adjustment to the texture before I shared the recipe. Recently, I found the final piece of the puzzle: an additional egg white. These muffins are wonderfully moist and have a slightly fudge-like texture, thanks to the unique combination of ingredients.
It’s worth pointing out that, because the almond butter allows for a baked good with no flour, these muffins are naturally grain- and gluten-free. That said, nut butters and all-purpose flour cannot be interchanged successfully most recipes.
- 1 cup (9 ounces/255 grams) almond butter (I like smooth in this recipe)
- 2/3 cup (5 ounces/140 grams) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling; canned is fine or make your own)
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup (4 ounces/110 grams) honey (may substitute maple syrup)
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (here's a great homemade option)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (3 ounces/75 grams) dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line a standard muffin pan with 10 paper cup liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin and the almond butter until smooth. (If the almond butter has been stored in the refrigerator and is hard, it is helpful to bring to room temperature before mixing.)
- Stir in the eggs and honey. Mix in the pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips, reserving a few for the top, if desired.
- Using a large ice cream scoop or a 1/4-cup measure, distribute the batter evenly among 10 muffin cups. Top each muffin with a few reserved chocolate chips.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the centers are just firm.
- Allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, the muffins will keep for at least a week. May also be frozen.
- If you prefer to omit the chocolate, you may substitute raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, or a mix of all three.