Friday, October 5, 2012

Apple-Pear Spice Muffins

This time of year it is impossible not to want to enjoy those warm, nostalgic fall foods like apple pies, muffins, chicken and dumplings! But what are you to do if you're now eating grain-free? You can call it a fad-diet if you want to (and many do), but what anyone who has suffered themselves to go grain-free knows is that it is worth it, and while it may in fact be the current fad, for those of us who are serious about our health, we'll likely be avoiding grains to varying degrees for the rest of our lives!

But. As healthy as I believe going grain-free is I still want those comfort foods from my childhood that we'd bake in the fall; those things that filled the entire house with their intoxicating scent, and warmed the very cockles of our hearts (seriously, my cockles are warming and fuzzy just thinking about the autumn delights of days gone by!). All the lovelies filled with the sweet warmth of cinnamon and ginger, the apples and pears baked to perfection in golden flaky crusts; so soft and tender (never mushy), the pumpkins and even the savory stews slow cooked in the crock pot until the meat was so tender you could cut it with a spoon, and served with a huge homemade biscuit, so fluffy and buttery you could eat it plain. Ah, those were the days! Ignorant bliss! When I thought that eating a whole wheat cracker was one of the healthiest things I could do for myself! *sigh*

Yesterday was rather chilly (though nothing compared to today! 2PM and 45 degrees!) and put me in such a mood for all things autumnal. I lit pie scented candles, I brewed spiced pumpkin coffee, and then when those things were not enough to satisfy, I threw together a recipe for grain-free muffins that were certain to assuage my need for sweet spiced perfection! I based it on my chocolate muffin recipe but omitted the chocolate and replaced it with a variety of spices. I also left out the flax because I'm running low and have two orders to fulfill for my Etsy shop on Monday morning. So really there is very little about it that is the same as my chocolate muffin recipe, but I digress! Back to the yummies at hand:  By the time I was halfway through and had all the dry ingredients combined I was ready to sit down and eat it just as it was, so sweet and spicy was the dry mixture! Yes I did taste it. This is how one must bake when they bake without a recipe in hand, you see? So without further blatherings, here is the thing that you desire:

Apple-Pear Spice Muffins

Dry Ingredients:
6 tbsp almond flour (I like Honeyville Grains blanched almond flour best)
1 tbsp coconut flour
3 tbsp stevia powder (I use Stevia in the Raw)
2 tbsp Ideal Brown (Ideal brand is the only one I know of that makes "brown sugar" xylitol)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
pinch of allspice

Combine dry ingredients together, set aside.

Wet Ingredients:
1 egg
2 tbsp chunky applesauce
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp molasses*
1/2 -1 tsp vanilla
2 slices of pear, cut into small chunks (I had small homegrown pears on hand from a friend and used the half that didn't have bug holes in it, but I think that half of a pear would work out to about 2 slices of a regular sized/store bought pear)

Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl, including pear. Combine with dry ingredients and spoon into prepared mini muffin cups. I didn't grease my liners and perhaps should have; the muffins did stick just a bit to them, though not terribly.

Also, I realize that the Ideal Brown is not a common household product, even for those who try to keep their sugar intake low. I have it because of my etsy shop, but if you don't have it as I suspect, you could use regular xylitol, or other sweetener of choice and add just a tad more molasses and it ought to turn out well.

Yield: 12-14 mini muffins

*I am aware that I called these sugar free and then added molasses, but 1 tsp only has about 3 1/2g sugar in it, so divided between 12-14 muffins, I think that still qualifies.

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