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Healthy Pumpkin Breakfast Muffins

Healthy Pumpkin Breakfast Muffins

These healthy pumpkin breakfast muffins, with just a few chocolate chips, are freezer-friendly, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten free. Make a double batch!

These healthy pumpkin breakfast muffins, with just a few chocolate chips, are freezer-friendly, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten free. Make a double batch!

Why a homemade (make-ahead) breakfast is the best thing ever

Whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day (I think that’s been debunked!), I believe in the power of a homemade breakfast. I always have a freezer stocked with portable-if-necessary homemade gluten free breakfasts, and even have a cookbook filled with some of my favorite recipes. 

The power of these breakfasts is in the comfort and kindness that it shows my children, whether they realize it or not. Not only do they have something they love to eat every morning that they want it, but they know that I’ve made it for them. 

I think of it like a subtle, gentle reminder that I’m here, and I’m supporting them as they go through what is often a rigorous day. Each year of my children’s school lives has been trying for each of them in its own way. 

My kids may not always be comforted by talking about how they feel (although they all 3, thankfully, do talk to me). And they may not even always be hungry for breakfast. On a very basic level, though, I believe that the knowledge that I’ve gone out of my way is a comfort. 

I rarely eat these breakfasts, since I’m lucky enough to work from home so I can squeeze in a meal for myself whenever I have the time. But maybe every once in a while I should have one since I’m a mother, not a martyr. 😉

These healthy pumpkin breakfast muffins, with just a few chocolate chips, are freezer-friendly, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten free. Make a double batch!

A super versatile recipe

This recipe for pumpkin breakfast muffins is based on our beloved recipe for banana oatmeal muffins, first published in 2015. Those muffins are packed with whole grains, don’t have much sugar, no added butter or oil, but still tons of satisfying flavor.

That recipe also spawned our recipe for healthy blueberry muffins, another family favorite. The original banana recipe has mashed ripe bananas for flavor and structure. The blueberry muffin recipe replaces the bananas with smooth applesauce, which has a neutral flavor in baking.

Now, we’re using canned pumpkin puree, one of the best ingredients of the fall, in place of the mashed bananas or applesauce. We’ve also scaled the recipe up a bit for more generous muffins, and added pumpkin pie spice for more seasonal flavor. These muffins are still made without any butter or oil, and little sugar. 

These healthy pumpkin breakfast muffins, with just a few chocolate chips, are freezer-friendly, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten free. Make a double batch!

How to make these pumpkin breakfast muffins

In the original recipe for banana oatmeal muffins, all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips are combined in a blender, and processed until smooth. This recipe could be made in a similar fashion as well. 

This time, though, we blend the old-fashioned rolled oats into a flour in a blender first and whisk in the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice, with some chocolate chips mixed in. The wet ingredients (the pumpkin puree, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and sugar) are blended until smooth, added to the dry ingredients, and mixed to combine. The batter is thick but very soft.

Baking with oats, which are appropriate in the U.S. for those on a gluten free diet, is a great way to get more whole grains. You do have to be careful, though, not to overprocess batter that contains oat flour, or your baked goods may turn out gummy and somewhat tough.

Grinding the oats into flour first, and blending the wet ingredients until very smooth afterward, ensures that the oats aren’t overprocessed. You can, of course, also use pre-ground oat flour, but I never buy that since it’s so much cheaper to grind my own. Plus, oat flour never needs to be superfinely ground.

These healthy pumpkin breakfast muffins, with just a few chocolate chips, are freezer-friendly, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten free. Make a double batch!

Ingredients and substitutions

Oats/oat flour: Certified gluten free oats are safe on a gluten free diet. But if you’re avoiding oats, you should be able to use quinoa flakes in place of the oat flour. Please see my full discussion of how to replace oats in baking.

Dairy-free: Since there’s no butter in these muffins, the only dairy is the sour cream. It can be replaced with nondairy plain yogurt, strained of liquid until it reaches the consistency of Greek-style yogurt. You can also use plain Greek-style dairy yogurt in place of the sour cream. 

Egg-free: Since there are 3 full eggs in this recipe, I’m afraid I don’t believe that any egg replacement would work. So sorry!

Pumpkin pie spice: To make 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, combine 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger + pinch (1/8 teaspoon allspice), pinch (1/8 teaspoon) ground cloves + dash freshly ground nutmeg.

Chocolate chips: You can either leave out the chocolate chips entirely or replace them with another mix-in like dried cranberries or cinnamon chips. 

Sugars: I like to use granulated coconut palm sugar in this recipe. If you don’t have that specific sugar, you can replace it with the same amount, by weight, light brown sugar.

You might also be able to make these muffins with Truvia brown sugar replacement blend. Keep in mind that Truvia and similar sugar alternatives tend to be drying, so you might need to add a bit more moisture. Try adding more pumpkin puree by the teaspoonful until you reach the proper batter consistency (watch the how-to video for guidance).

These healthy pumpkin breakfast muffins, with just a few chocolate chips, are freezer-friendly, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten free. Make a double batch!

 

These healthy pumpkin breakfast muffins, with just a few chocolate chips, are freezer-friendly, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten free. Make a double batch!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

3 cups (300 g) certified gluten free old fashioned rolled oats (if you need to be GF)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

12 ounces canned pure pumpkin puree

2/3 cup (150 g) sour cream, at room temperature

3 eggs (150 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup (120 g) coconut palm sugar

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.

  • In a blender or food processor, place the oats and process until ground into a powder. Transfer the oat flour to a large mixing bowl, add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice, and whisk to combine well. Add about 4 of the 5 ounces of the chocolate chips, and whisk to distribute the chips throughout the dry ingredients. Set the bowl aside.

  • Into the same blender or food processor, add the pumpkin puree, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and coconut palm sugar, and blend until very smooth. Transfer the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients, and mix by hand until combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared wells of the muffin tin. The wells should be completely full. Shake the muffin tin back and forth to distribute the batter in an even layer in each well. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the remaining chips.

  • Place the muffin tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when pressed gently in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or wrap tightly in freezer-safe wrap and freeze. Defrost at room temperature before serving.

Love,
Nicole

Gluten Free Bread Pudding

Gluten Free Bread Pudding

If you’ve ever wondered what to do with leftover gluten free bread, this easy recipe for gluten free bread pudding is the answer. You’ll never waste another crumb!

If you've ever wondered what to do with leftover gluten free bread, this easy recipe for gluten free bread pudding is the answer. You'll never waste another crumb!

A simple, custard-style bread pudding

I don’t consider a savory bread pudding to be, well, bread pudding. That’s stuffing (or dressing, if that’s how you call it), and it’s delicious—but in a class by itself. 

Baked custard is made with just a few simple ingredients (eggs, milk and/or cream, and sugar). In the case of bread pudding, you’re adding large chunks of dry bread to the mixture and baking it low and slow. 

The best bread pudding is rich and creamy, and not too sweet. The pieces of bread should be crisp on top and tender all the way through, but never ever mushy. With the right simple ingredients, in the proper balance, bread pudding is deceptively easy.

If you've ever wondered what to do with leftover gluten free bread, this easy recipe for gluten free bread pudding is the answer. You'll never waste another crumb!

The best gluten free bread for making bread pudding

First and foremost, the bread you use for bread pudding must be a savory yeast-style bread. You might be able to use our yeast-free sandwich bread, but I don’t think it’s sturdy enough. Quick breads are really just cake in bread form, so they don’t make the cut.

Now, you might consider gluten free yeast bread to be such a commodity that you’d never have “leftovers,” but I find that I do tend to collect odds and ends of it. If the pieces are thin, and not chunky, like the kind you get from pre-sliced gluten free breads I make those into homemade breadcrumbs

The best bread for the task is the type that can be cut into large chunks and is rather stale or dry. The large pieces are able to soak up the custard mixture without falling apart. If the bread is already moist, and not stale or dried, it won’t be able to absorb the liquids we’re adding. 

Homemade bread

When I make bread pudding, it’s usually from leftover homemade bread (my favorite is our basic gluten free white sandwich bread). Either it’s already been sliced thickly or was unsliced, so I’m able to cut the bread into 1 1/2-inch cubes.

If you’d like an even richer bread pudding, try using our recipe for gluten free cinnamon swirl bread. You won’t need to add much sugar to the custard mixture, though, since the swirl bread is already filled with brown sugar and cinnamon. 

Store-bought bread

The other type of bread that I really like for bread pudding is packaged gluten free bagels. I’ve yet to buy a gluten free bagel that is anything more than a roll-with-a-hole, but I do buy them because my son likes to eat them toasted. 

Since those packaged gluten free bagels tend to go stale on their own rather quickly, we’ll frequently have a few of them that aren’t fit for sandwich-making but haven’t actually gone bad. I’ll stick them into the freezer and then defrost them once I have a critical mass. 

If you've ever wondered what to do with leftover gluten free bread, this easy recipe for gluten free bread pudding is the answer. You'll never waste another crumb!

How to make fresh bread “stale” enough for bread pudding

Since gluten free bread is such a commodity, bread pudding is a great way to repurpose leftover gluten free bread that has gone stale. Once it’s stale, it’s ready to absorb the mixture of milk, eggs, and sugar. 

But what about when your bread is fresh, and you still want to make bread pudding? Maybe you’ve just made a fresh loaf of bread because you’re dying to make bread pudding, and you’re too impatient to wait for it to go stale on its own (you are my people!). 

It’s quite easy to dry out fresh bread in a hurry, and you’ll love the results. Just cut the bread into 1 1/2-inch cubes and place it on a rimmed baking sheet, in a single layer.

Preheat your oven to 300°F and toast the bread cubes for about 30 minutes, or until the cubes feel dry to the touch when you squeeze them lightly. You won’t be able to dry it out completely without verging into crouton territory, but you can remove enough of the bread’s moisture to permit it to absorb the custard mixture. 

If you've ever wondered what to do with leftover gluten free bread, this easy recipe for gluten free bread pudding is the answer. You'll never waste another crumb!

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy-free: It’s actually relatively easy to make this recipe without dairy. Just replace the milk with your favorite unsweetened, plain nondairy milk (mine is almond milk) and the heavy whipping cream with coconut cream. 

Be careful to select gluten free bread to cube that’s dairy-free. And don’t use butter, of course, to grease the casserole dish. I find that cooking oil spray is most effective, anyway.

Egg-free: I’m afraid this recipe simply cannot be made egg-free. If you’d like to make an egg-free bread pudding, you’ll really need a separate recipe. So sorry!

Sugars: There’s only 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar in this whole recipe, which is a relatively small amount for a sweet dish. If you’d like, you can reduce the sugar by up to one half, to 1/4 cup (50 g) total, but I wouldn’t use any less than that or it will be bland. If you’d like to try making the recipe sugar-free, try using Truvia granulated sugar replacement. 

If you've ever wondered what to do with leftover gluten free bread, this easy recipe for gluten free bread pudding is the answer. You'll never waste another crumb!

 

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

16 ounces (1 pound) gluten free yeast bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature

3 egg yolks (75 g), at room temperature

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups (16 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature

3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract or flavoring

Directions

  • If your bread is already dry and stale, proceed right to the next step of the recipe. If your bread is fresh, once it’s cut into cubes, scatter the cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven at 300°F for about 30 minutes, or until the cubes are beginning to dry out. Set the bread cubes aside to cool to room temperature.

  • In a large (at least 32 fluid ounce), spouted measuring cup, place the eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar (reserving about 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar for later), and salt, and whisk until very smooth. Whisking constantly, add the milk and cream in a steady stream until well-combined. Add the flavoring or extract, and whisk to combine.

  • Grease lightly a porcelain casserole dish of at least 6 cups (48 ounces) capacity, and place the bread cubes in an even layer inside of it. Add the milk mixture, pouring it carefully so each piece of bread is moistened. Allow the mixture to sit, stirring very occasionally, for at least an hour to allow the bread to begin to soak up the liquid. Alternatively, cover the baking dish and refrigerate it for longer (up to overnight).

  • When you’re nearly ready to bake the bread pudding, place an oven-safe pan with at least a 4 cup (32 fluid ounce) capacity on the bottom rack, and fill it with lukewarm tap water. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Sprinkle the top of the bread pudding evenly with the reserved 2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar, and place the baking dish, covered with only aluminum foil (removing any plastic wrap if refrigerated, covered), and place it on the top rack of the preheated oven. Bake, undisturbed, for 50 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and continue to bake the bread pudding until a sharp knife inserted in the center of the pudding comes out mostly clean and the top is golden brown and the edges caramelized (another 25 to 40 minutes). If the bread is browning too quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F to finish baking. Remove from the oven and allow the pudding to sit for about 15 minutes before serving warm.

Love,
Nicole

Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

These gluten free cinnamon roll sugar cookies somehow manage to be soft and tender, and even light and flaky. Just like a “real” cinnamon roll—but in a neat little cookie. And no rising time. They’re cookies, after all!

These gluten free cinnamon roll sugar cookies somehow manage to be soft and tender, and even light and flaky. Just like a "real" cinnamon roll—but in a neat little cookie.

How many sugar cookie recipes do we really need? (spoiler: lots)

Maybe you thought a sugar cookie was a sugar cookie. How many recipes do we really need for the same basic cookie? Well, like pastry recipes that might as ultra-layered and flaky as puff pastry or as simple as drop biscuits, sugar cookies are some of the most versatile of all cookies.

Lofthouse-style cookies, which are the bakery cookies that you’ll find by the grocery store entrance, decorated in whatever holiday is afoot, are a must-have all year long. They’ll hold any shape you can dream of, but you do have to roll out the cookie dough to cut out shapes.

If you’re just not going to roll out cookie dough and are happy with a simple round cookie, check out our recipe for drop sugar cookies. You can dress them up with sprinkles or coarse sugar crystals on the outside, and they’re super festive.

Tied for my favorite type of “basic” sugar cookie are our thin and chewy sugar cookies. They’re drop cookies, too, but they spread into a thin and chewy classic, much like the Archway brand cookies of my salad đŸ„—days.

How are these cookies different?

These cinnamon roll sugar cookies are modeled after those cutout sugar cookies, but crisp underneath and on the outside from the added brown sugar. The cookie dough itself is super tender, and the cinnamon sugar makes the whole house smell like fall.

These cookies can even be eaten like a real cinnamon roll: unfurl them slowly and tear off sections, then let the slightly crisp edges give way to that melt-in-your-mouth inside. Or, just pop one straight into your mouth in an instant. 

These gluten free cinnamon roll sugar cookies somehow manage to be soft and tender, and even light and flaky. Just like a "real" cinnamon roll—but in a neat little cookie.

How to make these gluten free cinnamon roll sugar cookies

This recipe is pretty similar to the Lofthouse-style cut-out sugar cookies, with another egg and a bit more butter so they’re slightly softer and brown a bit more. The dough is a bit softer than the classic cut-outs, which means that the tightly wound rolls of filled cookie dough unfurl a bit as they bake.

To make the cookie dough itself, you can watch the video that pairs with our Lofthouse-style cut-out sugar cookies recipe, since the base recipe is almost identical. Since the dough is a bit softer, it’s best to roll it out between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper. 

Next, it’s best to chill the rolled-out dough a bit until it’s relatively firm to the touch (but not stiff). That will help it hold its shape as you add the filling, and then finish shaping the dough.

Once the dough has been chilled, peel back the top layer of parchment paper, and cover the dough completely, from edge to edge, with a thin layer of softened butter. Then, the cinnamon and brown sugar filling is added on top, and the 12-inch square cut into 4 equal 6-inch squares.

These gluten free cinnamon roll sugar cookies somehow manage to be soft and tender, and even light and flaky. Just like a "real" cinnamon roll—but in a neat little cookie.

Then, roll each 6-inch square tightly from one side to the other, and roll the outside in a bit more brown sugar to coat the outsides. If the brown sugar isn’t sticking well, try moistening the outside of each roll slightly first.

Slice each coil from top to bottom, in cross-section, into 6 rolls each for a total of 24 cookies. For the most beautiful cookies that unfurl and separate a bit during baking, don’t chill the dough again. 

Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy-free: There is butter in both the cookie recipe and in the filling. I have successfully replaced the butter in the cookie dough with Melt brand vegan butter, but the cookies don’t hold their shape quite as well.

You might have a better result with half vegan butter, half Spectrum brand butter-flavored nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. I would recommend using that for the filling as well.

For the milk in the frosting, you can use any unsweetened nondairy milk. My favorite is unsweetened almond milk, but nearly any milk of traditional thickness will do here (or even water). 

Egg-free: There are two eggs in the cookie dough, and you should be able to replace each of them with a â€œchia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). In such pale cookies, you may see some flecks of chia in the cookies, but they get decorated with cinnamon and sugar, so they should be able to hide in plain sight.

These gluten free cinnamon roll sugar cookies somehow manage to be soft and tender, and even light and flaky. Just like a real cinnamon roll—but in a neat little cookie.

 

These gluten free cinnamon roll sugar cookies somehow manage to be soft and tender, and even light and flaky. Just like a "real" cinnamon roll—but in a neat little cookie.Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients

For the cookies
2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

3 tablespoons (22 g) confectioners’ sugar

9 tablespoons (126 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup (164 g) packed light brown sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling

For the glaze
3/4 cup (86 g) confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon milk (any kind), plus more by the 1/4 teaspoonful if necessary

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.

  • First, make the cookie dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, eggs and vanilla, and mix to combine. The dough will be thick and smooth.

  • Roll the dough between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper into a 12-inch square, a bit less than 1/3-inch thick. For the cleanest rolls, chill the rolled-out dough in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or until firm to the touch.

  • When the cookie dough is ready to handle, remove the top sheet of parchment paper, and spread the butter from the filling in an even layer on top of the entire surface of the dough, all the way to the edges. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and the ground cinnamon and mix to combine well. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the melted butter, and spread into an even layer, again all the way to the edges. Using a sharp knife or pastry cutter, slice the dough into 4 squares of equal size (6-inch squares). Roll each 6-inch square tightly into a coil. Spread the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on the parchment paper, and roll the coils in the sugar to coat the outsides of the coils. With a sharp knife, slice each of the coils by cross-section into 6 pieces of equal size, each about 1-inch thick. Place each piece, one cut side up, about 2 inches apart from one another, on the prepared baking sheet.

  • Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cookies are puffed, pale golden and somewhat firm to the touch (about 11 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature on the baking sheet. They will crisp around the edges as they cool.

  • When the cookies are nearly cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix well, until a thick paste forms. Add more milk by the 1/4-teaspoon, mixing to combine well, until the glaze falls off the spoon slowly, in a thick but pourable glaze. Add milk very slowly, as it is much easier to thin, than to thicken, the glaze. If you do thin the glaze too much, add more confectioners’ sugar a teaspoon at a time to thicken it. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies, sprinkle with a bit more ground cinnamon, and allow to set at room temperature before serving.

  • A brilliant concept from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (hi, Mel!). Cookies adapted from my Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies recipe. Originally published on the blog in 2014. Some photos, video, some text new. Recipe instructions clarified slightly but otherwise unchanged.

Love,
Nicole

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