Pumpkin, Dark Chocolate and Coconut Muffins (GF)

DSC_4081There is something special about Saturday brunch. It’s relaxing, fun and symbolizes a time of rest and a sense of a carefree, delicious weekend to come.
For me, brunch requires two things, at a minimum: something decadent and sweet enough to warm my soul, yet healthful enough to nourish my body.
Of course, if nutritious doesn’t equate to tasty, all bets are off.
Earthy pumpkin, refreshing coconut and rich, dark chocolate chips are flavors that sing in sweet unison. Crunchy, wholesome pumpkin seeds and a crisp, cinnamon sugar topping provide texture.
The nutty, deep flavors of gluten-free oat, chickpea and brown rice flours create a well-rounded, complex flavor profile.
The muffins themselves are dairy- and lactose-free, but if this isn’t of consequence, an extravagant pat of creamy butter and generous drizzle of floral honey put these muffins over the top.
Safflower oil, a heart-healthy oil rich in vitamin E, gives the muffins a moist chew. The combination of two orange “flax eggs” provides an additional citrus note and the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and lignans.
The regular, chicken egg is necessary to create the desired soft, light and chewy texture. If you are vegan, feel free to replace the animal with an additional orange flax egg.
Brunch is not the same without a special cocktail. Many of my friends enjoy refreshing champagne or sparkling wines mixed with fresh-squeezed orange juice or a splash of fruit-forward liqueur.
When we have local New Mexican Gruet sparkling wine on hand, pure and unadulterated is the only route. The extra expense of a good quality bubbly is worth the taste, especially when enjoyed as is.
My two older kids loved these muffins. They literally stood in the kitchen waiting for them to emerge, hot and aromatic, from the oven.
One day later, we are making another batch for the week’s breakfasts. They are devoured as quickly as they are made – in under an hour.
It’s lovely to pull apart a muffin and see the different colors, flavors and textures hidden among the sweet cake. It’s like a little treasure hunt for muffin goodies.
DSC_4093Feel free to leave out any of the add-ins you don’t like, or substitute something different.
Don’t like raisins? Try tart, dried cranberries. Not a dark chocolate fan? White chocolate would marry well with the coconut.
Make these gluten-free, brunch-worthy muffins your own, and enjoy.
Pumpkin, Dark Chocolate and Coconut Muffins (GF)
Dry Ingredients:
1 cup gluten-free, cup for cup flour blend
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour or whole grain rice “cereal”*
1/2 cup oat flour, store-bought or homemade*
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
1 cup organic, 72% gluten-free dark chocolate chips, such as Chocolove
1/2 cup each: raisins, toasted pumpkin seeds and unsweetened, desiccated coconut flakes
Wet ingredients:
2 orange flax eggs*
1 regular, large egg*
2 teaspoons good vanilla extract
1/3 cup organic, expeller pressed safflower oil
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup whole sugar in the raw (turbinado sugar), processed in a food processor until very fine*
Sugar in the raw, to sprinkle over muffins before baking, about one teaspoon per muffin
cinnamon, to sprinkle over muffins before baking, a quick dash per muffin
  • Preheat the oven to 350•F. Line two muffin tins with eighteen muffin liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients with a metal whisk, then mix in the chocolate chips, seeds and coconut with a rubber spatula, to coat.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula, just until fully incorporated.
  • Use a standard size ice cream scoop and place a scoop of batter in each of the prepared muffin tins.
  • Top each muffin with the whole sugar in the raw and cinnamon.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in each muffins comes out clean. Check muffins at 25 minutes. However, gluten-free muffins baked at high altitude may take as long as 35 minutes to fully cook.
  • Enjoy with some nice bubbly during a lazy weekend brunch.
*Whole grain rice cereal, a fine powder similar to rice flour, is found in the baby section of any grocer.
*Process oats in a food processor until very fine to make homemade oat flour.
* To make two orange flax egg, combine two tablespoons of flax seeds (finely ground in a food processor or coffee/spice grinder) or flax meal with six tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least fifteen minutes until the mixture is gelatinous.
*Substitute the single, large egg for with a flax egg to make this recipe vegan.
*Reduce sugar to 3/4 a cup for a mildly sweet muffin.

©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2015), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.

12 thoughts on “Pumpkin, Dark Chocolate and Coconut Muffins (GF)

  1. You really do make some amazing GF baked goods. I can’t think of anything better than dark chocolate and coconut (Mounds come to mind. I can see why your little ones literally wait for them to come out of the oven. They look so moist and delicious.

    1. Suzanne, I also love dark chocolate and unsweetened coconut; it’s a lovely duo to incorporate into your banana bread or muffin batter. Mounds, yes, a childhood memory that lives on! Gluten-free goodies are something I’ve been working on. Most recipes never make it to the blog, but if one is as good or better than the real thing, I post it. I have enjoyed the myriad flavors bean, nut and grain flours create in a gluten-free dry ingredient base. Thanks for your sweet words.

  2. My youngest loves anything with pumpkins in it. I love that you are using different flour to make your muffins. These pumpkin muffins look super moist and delicious! Thanks for sharing, Shanna.

  3. These muffins look scrumptious! I love pumpkin dark chocolate muffins and the coconut sounds like a great addition. I recently got some chickpea flour to experiment with GF baking. I also still have a pumpkin from the garden awaiting a good roasting to start baking….

    1. I noticed that you have a lot of great squash / pumpkin recipes on your blog. I never really tire of the winter squashes in any form. These are soooo yummy, I hope you give them a go. Thanks for visiting, Amanda. 🙂

  4. muffins look wonderful, for the first time in a long time I find myself reading a recipe and saying “hm, I dont have that in the house…” – but then I realized it’s because it’s gluten free – and things like oat flour are probably not long lived due to the oils – not matter, look lovely – can imagine you children waiting in front of the oven 🙂

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