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The Pumpkin Muffins I Grew Up With

Holiday Recipes Muffin Recipes
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I just love pumpkin! You can prepare it in so many ways! You can roast, bake, steam or boil it; and it can be incorporated into many a fine dish: roasts, pastas, soups, stews, dips, salads, smoothies, pies and desserts. Oh, I could go on and on….my mouth waters just thinking about the pumpkin ravioli I had in Positano, or pumpkin tempura….slap…slap…back to gluten free reality. Actually I do have an exceptional recipe for gluten free pumpkin ravioli using egg wonton wrappers. But that is another post. Oh too many pumpkin recipes…not enough recipe blogs. But back to my rave about pumpkin. The good old reliable pumpkin always brings something to the table, with its natural sweetness, rich color and depth of flavor. Whether it is in a supporting role, or a star attraction, this trusty seeded friend is never overshadowed. In my opinion, it is one of the most grossly underutilized foods in the standard American diet.

To me, pumpkin is like chocolate. I can’t get enough, and the richer the better. I prefer Japanese pumpkin with its gorgeous deep orange color, roasted with a touch of olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Roasted pumpkin would add a beautiful depth of flavor to these muffins, but it is not necessary. If you want to whip up these pumpkins muffins quickly, you can just steam your pumpkin and mash it. For those of you in the United States, the majority of fresh pumpkins available are used for jack-o-lanterns, and are normally too stringy and not very tasty. You can get sugar pumpkins which are quite good. But I would suggest using a can of plain organic mashed pumpkin like Trader Joe’s or Libby’s, which works a treat as well. Just don’t get your standard pumpkin pie canned mixes that I fear have a lot of additives that don’t belong at this muffin merger.

I adapted the recipe from my childhood. In the 70’s, right after my parents were married, they hosted a gorgeous exchange student named Debbie. About 6 years later we flew over to meet Debbie and her family in San Bernardino, CA. I still remember staying on the Queen Mary waiting for her parents to arrive. Ray and Bev picked us up and I don’t think there was a lull in the conversation the whole way home. It was that year that Ray helped Kara (my sister) and I carve out our first Halloween jack-o-lantern, and we ate our first, but certainly not our last, piece of home-made American pumpkin pie. They couldn’t believe we ate pumpkin with meat and potatoes! We couldn’t believe they didn’t! Mum and Bev started swapping pumpkin recipes at the kitchen table over our candlelit jack-o-lantern. It was love. They were still dictating instructions to each other a week later.

These pumpkin muffins were one of the fruits of their labor that came to be affectionately known as "Bev’s Pumpkin Muffins." My mum still has her original pumpkin muffin recipe scrawled on the back of a receipt. We had to photocopy it some years back to preserve it. Oh, the tyranny of life before email and the internet! But flicking through my mum’s recipe file, with all of her handwritten notes and scraps of paper she has collected from all over the world, appeals to the romantic in me. But I digress. Back to the muffins…..

My mum spent much of the 80’s serving these pumpkin muffins at every function we had. The novelty (which wasn’t such a novelty after the 600th muffin) wore off and this pumpkin muffin recipe found its way into the depths of a storage box for most of the 90’s, along with a lot of other family favorites when we moved to Singapore. Luckily, after much moaning on my part as to “where Bev’s pumpkin muffin recipe was”, mum found it just in time to include it in her fabulous Christmas gift to us girls -- her home-made “Family Favorites” Recipe Book. Now mum, if you could just find the recipe for the Country Corn Bake you picked up in Savannah that would be great! But I digress again….the muffins….

These pumpkin muffins have enjoyed a successful comeback, and a long return season. They might even be playing in a kitchen near you longer than The Phantom Of The Opera in The West End. In a previous 80’s life these pumpkin muffins had bigger hair and more frills. This latest gluten free dairy free incantation is simple, tasty, and thanks to the beloved pumpkin, really moist. These quick, easy muffins can be prepared in less than 10 minutes, and then baked for 15 minutes. You can be breaking bread with your loved ones over candle light, and sharing your love of “all things pumpkin” in under half an hour.

Thanks Bev!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Pumpkin Muffins

The Pumpkin Muffins I Grew Up With

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons gluten free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan
  • ½ teaspoon fine Celtic sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup sultanas/raisins
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup cold pressed canola oil
  • ½ cup to a cup of plain mashed pumpkin
  • ½ cup almond milk or soy milk
  1. Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan, salt and spices in a bowl and stir together mixing evenly.
  2. Break an egg into the mixer and gradually add in the oil, milk, and then the pumpkin, until mixed through.
  3. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until a thick batter forms.
  4. Fold in the raisins and spoon into well greased muffin pots.
  5. Bake in a moderate oven – about 170C/325 F for approximately 20 minutes.

Serve warm, with butter and honey, eat cold as a snack, or enjoy with a warm bowl of soup or zesty salad.

These muffins will keep in the fridge for a few days, or freeze really well in an airtight sealed bag for school lunches or work snacks.

IF they last that long!

Tip: the best way to clean your blender

After blending up something sticky, gooey or smelly, just place a few drops of soap in the carriage with some warm water and blend on high until all of the congealed food slips away from the blades and sides. Then repeat this process. Then rinse with water and presto! Clean carriage. 
If you have smells or stains repeat this process with some bicarbonate of soda or lemon juice and water. 
Check out the video on A No Hassle Way To Clean Your Blender that I did as part of the Chow Tips Series.

Good gluten free muffins are hard to find. Thanks for the gluten free love!


These were Yummy! Thanks for posting.


I sub’d these with coconut oil.  They were OMG!!!!  Delish!!!  I had one crucial problem.  I have 7 children and I only had 12 to share!!!!  OOOOps….time to make more muffins!!!!!
I can say these fall into the decadent file!!!!!!

Oink, snork (and a little giggle!)


This recipe is a keeper. Your site is full of great recipes. Can’t wait to try more.


Lovely muffins…Loved them straight out of the oven with some organic butter. Ooohh yum.


I tried these and the pumpkin cornbread getting ready for Thanksgiving and I can’t decide which recipe is better. These are delicious.

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