Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (Grain-Free)

By Ann Fulton

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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.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (grain-free)

Thanks to the use of almond butter and pumpkin, these tasty muffins are packed with protein and vitamins and can be whipped up with a short list of pantry ingredients.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (grain-free)
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (Grain-Free)
These muffins don't last long in our house! Luckily, they are easy to mix up, are quite nutritious, and pack a protein punch. While they taste great at room temperature, we like them served cold from the fridge.

Yield: 10 muffins
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line a standard muffin pan with 10 paper cup liners.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the centers are just firm.
  6. Allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, the muffins will keep for at least a week. May also be frozen.
Notes
  • If you prefer to omit the chocolate, you may substitute raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, or a mix of all three.
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Comments

  1. Erika

    These have turned into a favorite in our house! Love that they are grain and gluten-free because they are made with almond butter instead of flour. I calculated that each muffin is about 250 calories, and they are full of protein and healthy fat.

    Reply
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  5. Stacie

    Ok, so let me first say, no one in my family has a gluten or grain issue, however I decided to make these muffins simply because I love pumpkin and had just bought Almond butter, so I was intrigued. WELL….. my family raved and raved and fought over these! Taylor asked me to make another batch to take back to college with him. So thank you! Big hit in this household.

    I have both boys trying to eat healthy – one to maintain weight and fitness and one trying to bulk up. These being rich in protein fits the bill for both!

    One question, have you found a place to buy almond butter in large quantity? I should really be making these in double batches so I will be going through Almond Butter in mass!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      You are so sweet to leave this fabulous comment! My boys love these, too, and you have a good question on the almond butter. I am guessing there is an online source that would sell it for a good price in bulk. I will have to check it out. Also, for locals, someone just told me that you can grind your own nut butters at Stauffer’s, but I don’t know how much it costs. Maplehofe’s at Central Market might even offer a larger container. If anyone else has any good sources, feel free to comment…and thanks again, Stacie!

      Reply
      1. Rhonda

        I can’t wait to try these, but I wanted to comment about getting almond butter in large quantities. It’s very easy to make your own in a food processor. I addthe step of grating them first because it makes the rest of the procedure quicker. I grate two 40-ounce bags of roasted almonds into fine meal, then switch to the mixing blade and process the rest into creamy butter. Takes about an hour (6-8 batches), not counting the cleaning of the processor. I keep mine in the refrigerator and it does not separate. Almond Butter makes a great addition to my morning protein smoothie!

        Reply
        1. Ann Post author

          Thanks for mentioning this, Rhonda. I make my own nut butters from time to time and they are quite easy…and so good in smoothies (among other things) as you say!

          Reply
  6. Christie

    These were FANTASTIC!! After I made the first batch and they were gone, I made another batch the next morning.

    The only downside is that they only make 10!!!

    Every recipe of yours that I have made has been great!!

    Thanks!!

    Reply
  7. Jan

    The Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins sound great. Do you happen to know any nutritional information on the muffins? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi Jen, I do not currently provide nutritional information as I so often give people a variety of options within a recipe. Many people report liking caloriecount.about.com for this. Here is a link if you’d like to try…and I hope you enjoy the muffins!
      http://caloriecount.about.com

      Reply
  8. Debi

    I love these, Ann and cannot wait to make them for my boys! Thank you for sharing on Thursday’s Treasures. I’m going to feature them on Week 108! <3

    Reply
  9. Kelsey

    I made these and froze half to thaw for afternoon snacks. They are amazing, and have a great texture. I added chopped walnuts to mine. I think next time I will either try a smaller amount of chocolate chips or not even use them, they are a little sweet for me (my taste buds changed on a paleo diet!). Thank you!!!

    Reply
  10. Lanie

    Love these! and love the fact that my 6 year old son who is allergic to peanut butter is getting some fabulous and yummy protein. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi Beth, I have not tried peanut butter with this specific recipe but have in others where it worked well. I would not hesitate to try. If you do, please let me know how you made out!

      Reply
  11. Diane

    OMG!!!! My son and I just made these and we fell in love!!! THANK YOU so much for the excuse to be in the kitchen with my son and for the incredibly yummy recipe!!!!

    Reply