My friend Kim informed me last week that she has been following a Paleo diet (grain-free, dairy-free) for the past month and that if I could come up with a go-to Paleo muffin/bread recipe, she would be ever so grateful. I detected some urgency in her voice (she mentioned that the entire family was on the diet and dissension in the ranks was mounting), so I set to work at once.
I knew I had some almond flour in the freezer from a bulk foods buying spree, so I decided to put it to immediate use on Kim’s behalf. I love working with almond flour; I used it quite a bit in my Gluten Free muffins cookbook. Working with it is fairly straightforward, but it does require some finesse. For example, it cannot be used as a measure-for-measure replacement for all-purpose or whole wheat flour; it benefits from a lower percentage of overall liquid (almonds have far more moisture than wheat) and benefits from an a higher proportion of eggs (to aid leavening due to the absence of gluten). Further, I need to keep the sweetener Paleo (e.g., honey) and Kim requested that I keep said sweetener minimal so that the muffins could be sweet or savory.
The blogosphere boasts a number of Paleo almond flour muffin recipes, most of which can be traced to one of two sources. The first is Elana Amsterdam’s (at Elana’s Pantry ) version. Elana is truly the master of almond flour baking, and she has a terrific basic recipe: Elana’s Almond Flour Muffins. The second popular recipe comes from Technically Paleo; it’s a delicious recipe, but very rich (almond flour plus 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 4 eggs), more like a cupcake than bread.
My recipe falls right in the middle of the the two recipes:
In my mind a good muffins should have a tender crumb but must also be firm enough to stand on it’s own without crumbling into your lap. I love the minimalism of Elana’s recipe, but I wanted a slightly moister muffin (without the 1/2 cup of coconut oil in the second recipe). A bit of pumpkin, applesauce or banana works perfectly.
I also scale back on the eggs by one. I wanted a good rise to the muffins, definitely, but 2 eggs per cup of almond flour was a bit much for me (they tasted overly egg-y).
The resulting recipe is easy as can be; the only time-intensive part is waiting for them to bake. You can vary these endlessly with a cup of fresh fruit (not too wet; blueberries are always welcome additions), unsweetened dried fruit, cacao nibs, or chocolate/carob chips if you are not following a paleo diet. Or head in a savory direct with fresh or dried herbs, savory spices, seeds, nuts, you name it. Enjoy the muffin recipe!
- 2-1/2 cups almond flour or almond meal
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree, thawed winter squash puree, butternut squash puree, unsweetened apple sauce, or mashed very ripe banana
- 2 tablespoons honey, agave nectar or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted) or vegetable oil
- Optional Flavorings: 1 teaspoon extract (e.g., vanilla, almond), citrus zest, dried herbs (e.g., basil, dill), or spice (e.g., cinnamon, cumin)
- Optional Stir-Ins: 1 cup fresh fruit (e.g., blueberries, diced apple) or ½ cup dried fruit/cacao nibs/chopped nuts/seeds or
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 10 cups in a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
- In a large bowl whisk the almond flour, baking soda and salt (whisk in any dried spices or herbs at this point, if using).
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, honey, oil and vinegar (add any extracts or zest at this point, if using).
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until blended. Fold in any optional stir-ins, if using.
- Divide batter evenly among prepared cups.
- Bake in preheated oven for 14 to 18 minutes until set at the centers and golden brown at the edges. Move the tin to a cooling rack and let muffins cool in the tin 30 minutes. Remove muffins from tin.