There 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.
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)
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
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.