… There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Muffin Top!
Bet you thought you’d never hear a girl say that, right? Well, it just so happens that I love my muffin tops … no, not the ones that sit (obviously) right above my hips … the ones that bake up sweet, fluffy, and full of flavors that I can’t resist (which is why I know about the other kind). Muffin tops offer the best part of the muffin, the part that I like to pull apart from the bottom of a regular muffin and eat by itself because it’s so perfectly shaped and holds all the garnishes that make it extra flavorful. The part that can be baked up just as easily as your standard muffin shape simply by using a muffin top pan. Muffin top pans* are shallow and each cavity uses the same amount of batter as a standard muffin pan cavity, but there are only six cavities per pan so you’ll need two pans for 12 muffins tops. Muffin tops even bake up faster than standard muffins. So I hold fast to my conviction: there’s no such thing as a bad muffin top. And these Pumpkin Muffin Tops are no exception.
Pumpkin Muffin Tops love to be adorned!
I love embellishing my muffin tops with garnishes like shredded coconut which gives an added sweet crunch, or streusel topping with crispy oats, a hint of nuttiness, and sweet brown sugar. Don’t worry, I’ve included these recipes below as well. I have to make sure you have all the best parts available.
Pumpkin offers abundant nutritional benefits!
You want to know more delicious news about Pumpkin Muffin Tops? They’re gluten-free and dairy-free, and are filled with nutritional benefits too. I know, if you’re reaching for a muffin top, or 2 or 3 like me, you’re probably not thinking about the nutritional values of the next bite. But I still want you to know …
Pumpkin is a good source of B-complex vitamins, and is rich in vitamins A, C and E. Pumpkin is also naturally fat free and adds additional fiber to your baked goodies. I love, too, how baked goods benefit from the increased moisture in pure pumpkin (canned pure pumpkin is fine). It keeps them tender and moist, and helps them maintain a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth crumb a long time – unless that doesn’t matter because they’re all eaten up so quickly. Wait, there’s more …
Muffin tops make healthy and delicious sandwiches!
There’s yet another characteristic of muffin tops – just in general, not specific to this sweet and savory pumpkin variety here – that makes them even more irresistible. They make perfectly sized top and bottoms for sandwiches. That’s right! Smear the flat sides of some pumpkin tops with cinnamon-flavored, dairy-free cream cheese, then press two of them together and you’ve got yourself a nutritious breakfast sandwich. Bake up our Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins recipe into muffin tops, adorn with a creamy nut butter center, and you’ve just created a back-to-school-lunch sandwich that any kid would be excited to meet with at noon. Want something with even more nutritious punch? Try pairing our Fortified Applesauce Spice Muffins, made into tops, with a center of ripe avocado slices and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Even my Pear Pecan Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins recipe could be easily adapted. Yep, any of these would do lunch just fine for me.
I bet you thought this post was just about pumpkin muffin tops, right? Well, then, I guess I should at least share the recipe!
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pumpkin Muffin Tops
Baking time: 11-13 minutes, ovens vary
Oven temp: 375ºF
Makes: 12 muffin tops
Ingredients for pumpkin muffin tops:
2 cups + 1 1/2 Tablespoons (250g) gluten-free all-purpose flour – I use Authentic Foods Bette’s Gourmet Four Flour Blend
1 1/2 teaspoons guar gum (or xanthan gum), omit if your flour already contains xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice+ – McCormick’s spices are gluten free
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, can be substituted with vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature preferred
1 1/3 cups canned pure pumpkin – Libby’s is gluten free and works consistently well
1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, to your liking), optional topping
Ingredients for Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Streusel Topping:
1 cup (120g) gluten-free, all-purpose flour – use Authentic Foods Bette’s Gourmet Four Flour Blend
1/2 cup dairy-free margarine – I use Earth Balance Naturally Buttery Spread – soy free
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans or almond flour
1/3 cup gluten-free oats – I use Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats
1 Tablespoon whole flax meal
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions for muffin tops:
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Prepare pans by spraying with cooking spray or lightly oiling with grapeseed oil, coconut oil, or vegan margarine. Set aside.
Combine flour, guar gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Stir well and set aside.
Beat together oil, sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed with electric mixer or in a stand mixer. Mixture will be grainy.
Add almond extract and eggs. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.
Add pumpkin and beat again until smooth.
Sprinkle in the flour mixture, slowly, then mix on medium speed until well combined and there are no lumps.
Ladle batter by scoopful (a spring-loaded standard size ice cream scoop works perfectly) into prepared pans, 1 level scoopful per muffin top.
Add topping, if desired, by sprinkling some coconut or streusel topping over each muffin top. (See directions below for how to make streusel topping.)
Bake at 375ºF for 11-13 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Center of muffin top should spring back when pressed lightly.
Cool pans on cooling racks for about 10 minutes, then transfer muffin tops from pans and continue cooling on racks.
Directions for streusel topping:
Combine all topping ingredients in a bowl. Mix well with your fingertips until all ingredients are combined and you have lumpy crumbs or clumps of topping. You can also combine all ingredients in a food processor and gently pulse to combine. Ready to use. Store any extra topping in a plastic, resealable bag and freeze until needed. No need to thaw before using.
+To make homemade pumpkin pie spice, combine 2 Tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons freshly grated (or dried) nutmeg, 2 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger, and 1 teaspoon dried allspice. Mix well. Measure according to recipe. Store in an airtight container.
* I’m not into buying gadgets for single use, so know that these pans are very good for making individual pizzas, or place small, cooked flour tortillas in each cavity and top with a single layer of Layered Enchilada Casserole filling and sauce, then bake until hot.
Any of these muffin top sandwich suggestions get your taste buds going? What other combinations can you create? I can’t wait to hear your ideas!
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™