Every summer, I long for the fall baking season and just think how great everything will be and that we’ll never ever run out of things to bake together. I bet you’re expecting me to say well I was wrong and I’m finally bored with fall after all the years of writing recipes, but … I was RIGHT. There really is no end to things we can bake this time of year. I’ve always been a big fan of crumb-topped baking, like these blueberry oat bars and these apricot crumble bars. It’s just the perfect way to take bars and muffins and other quick breads from ho-hum ordinary to something really special, creating instant texture and flavor variations. I’ll admit it, though: my crumble toppings are usually loaded with butter and sugar. I just love it when the crumble almost shatters in your mouth when you bite into it, and that takes butter and plenty of it. These gluten free pumpkin crumb muffins march to the beat of a somewhat different drummer, though.
The crumble topping has my favorite homemade pumpkin butter mixed all up in there, which adds tons of flavor but also a bit more moisture, and less butter (and sugar) than you might expect. The oats and flour help to give the topping structure, so don’t leave those out!
And there’s enough pumpkin butter in the muffin batter itself that the muffins are soft and tender as could be, and they even need a fair amount less butter than my usual muffins call for. This time of year, I make batches and batches of pumpkin butter, though, so I always have some on hand (try mixing some pumpkin or apple butter in to your plain yogurt and see what that’s like!). But if you don’t feel like making your own pumpkin butter, you can of course use store-bought. Trader Joe’s makes a pumpkin butter that is really quite good. And sometimes it’s nice to just grab something off the shelf and make your life easy.
After making a few batches of these to get them just right, I served them to my children day after day for breakfast, and I’m not sorry about it at all.
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Prep time:Cook time:Yield:15 muffins
1/4 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup (25 g) certified gluten free old-fashioned rolled oats
2 eggs (120 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
*To make your own pumpkin pie spice, combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease or line the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin, and set it aside.
Make the crumb topping first. In a small bowl, place all of the crumb topping ingredients, and mix to combine. Place the bowl in the freezer while you make the muffin batter.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, yogurt, pumpkin butter and eggs, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be thick. Fill the wells of the prepared muffin tin about 2/3 of the way full (you will have some batter left over). Remove the crumb topping from the freezer and break it up into irregular pieces with the tines of a fork. Scatter enough crumb topping loosely on top of the batter in each of the muffin wells to fill the wells all the way. Press down gently on the crumb topping to help the topping adhere to the batter.
Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the muffins are lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. The muffins should also feel mostly firm when pressed gently in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter and crumb topping.