Six-Spice Winter Squash & Chocolate Muffins (gluten-free)

Blogging. It’s not hard for a small writing break to stretch into months. Even if you’re like our family, and you cook and bake nonstop to feed your hungry crew, sharing recipes may fall to the wayside. The reality of being a mother is that your kids always need you, and it’s a full-time job. When they go to bed, the choice may be between spending time with your partner or putting together a blog post.

I love writing, editing and sharing recipes/stories and resolve to find more time to do so. Life is not only about making choices on how to spend precious hours, but finding little morsels of time to spend on activities that you love.

Why is the blog back? Partly to use time effectively. When more than a handful of people request a recipe, it’s simply more efficient to share it on a single platform. This said, thank you to those who asked for the recipe. It gave me a bit of inspiration to breathe life back into the Curls and Carrots blog.

Putting this post together gave the day additional meaning and joy- and encouraged me to make this blog a higher priority. My amazing husband works hard as a surgeon at a large, academic hospital and also serves in the army reserves medical corps. This equates to a lot of responsibility on Ima (mom) to take care of our three lovely kids and home- without backup- in a new city. The munchkins are a true blessing- but like any worthy job- all encompassing and requiring great energy.

Work aside, all busy women still need to make time for themselves. This recipe goes out to all of the amazing women who work hard and fill their cups (with a muffin on the side)…



The oldie but goodie- plain old pumpkin yields great muffins!


Baby or sugar pumpkins require more time to roast and puree, but give the muffins a wonderful sweetness.


Roasted and pureed Hubbard squash is delicious in this recipe.


Sometimes these go so fast, Tupperware is not needed…


This batch has rich, dark chocolate chunks, but feel free to experiment with different add-ins.


Winter squash muffins epitomize the perfect autumn breakfast.


All three kids approve the recipe. I’ve even used this batter to make a bundt cake, topped with a cream cheese drizzle.


Six Spice Winter Squash & Chocolate Muffins (gluten-free)
Yield: 24 muffins


  • 2 1/2 c good gluten-free flour blend (like Cup4Cup multipurpose flour)
  • 1 T  Chinese five spice (spice blend of equal parts cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, white pepper)
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 2 t gluten-free baking powder (such as Clabber Girl)
  • 1 t fine salt
  • 1 1/2 c fine coconut sugar
  • 2 t good vanilla extract
  • 2/3 c coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 c orange juice, room temp.
  • 3 eggs, room temp. (leave on counter overnight)
  • 1 7/8 c homemade pumpkin or winter squash purée (or 1, 15 oz. can of purée), room temp.
  • 1 1/2 c 60-70% cocoa dark chocolate chips or add-in of choice (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350•F
  • Line 24 muffin cups with paper muffin liners.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, orange juice, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla and sugar.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the gluten-free flour blend, Chinese five spice, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well-combined. Then, stir in the chocolate chips (if using) to coat with dry mixture. Make a well in the center of the bowl.
  • Pour the ingredients from the medium bowl into the large bowl. Use a rubber spatula to ensure all of the mixture is removed from the medium bowl.
  • Whisk all ingredients until the batter is smooth and no lumps appear.
  • Use a standard-sized ice cream scoop to place one scoop into each of the paper muffin cups.
  • Bake the muffins for 20-25 min., until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Allow the muffins to cool on counter, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a five days or freeze for up to thee months.

*If both muffin trays do not fit on the middle rack of the oven, position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven. Rotate the trays from upper to lower (and back to front of rack) halfway through baking time. (2013-2016). 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.


6 thoughts on “Six-Spice Winter Squash & Chocolate Muffins (gluten-free)

  1. Looks hearty and healthy! I understand absolutely when you say its hard t find the time to blog although we do cook like crazy everyday 🙂 Hope you are doing well ! Nice pics of the kiddos 🙂

  2. Welcome back, Shanna! I was always amazed how you kept up blogging with three children to take care of, so I wasn’t very surprised when eventually you did stop for a while. Love the photo of Gideon with that giant pumpkin. These muffins look great, and I like your addition of nutmeg to the spice mix.

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