Autumnal Pumpkin Spice Muffins – Grain-Free, Dairy-Free

pumpkin spice muffins 1

As Mindy says on The Mindy Project: “Autumn is the time when the leaves go from green to orange, the lattes go from vanilla to pumpkin, and girls toss their razors out the window for there will be no bare legs seen until April.” Oh Mindy, so wise.

Personal grooming aside, as soon as the calendar passes the first of October, adding pumpkin to everything you bake isn’t a half bad idea. Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene and fibre, and a pumpkin spice muffin is the quintessential autumn baked good (along with ginger molasses cookies, though one could probably argue that ginger molasses is really more winter than autumn. So, pumpkin spice it is).pumpkin spice muffins

These muffins are a direct take from Against All Grain, a wonderful cookbook (and blog!) if you’re looking to find grain-free options that are simple, straightforward, and based on traditional recipes that might be among your favourites, like banana bread or oatmeal raisin cookies (sans oatmeal, of course).

Baking grain-free is not the cheapest excursion, I know. But, if you follow a paleo diet, or find that eating grain-free is something you prefer or need to do to keep you system vibrant and humming, then consider these muffins a worthwhile investment.

These pumpkin spice muffins baked up beautifully, tasted pumpkin spice-y, and were sweet but not overly sweet. And they were very filling. Pour yourself a glass of almond milk and set a few of these on a plate, and then open up those windows for the cool, crisp breeze and let it wash over you. #autumnmakeseverythingbetterpumpkin spice muffins

Autumnal Pumpkin Spice Muffins – grain-free, dairy-free

  • Author: Against All Grain cookbook (I just tinkered with the spices and upped the chocolate chips – modifications included below).
  • Recipe Notes: grain-free, dairy-free
  • Yield: 10 regular-size muffins


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt/Himalayan pink salt (finely ground)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 pastured/free-range/organic eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (if honey, should be warmed until liquid)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup/honey, and vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until almost combined
  • Stir in chocolate chips and mix until well combined.
  • Scoop into an oiled muffin tin and top with pumpkin seeds, if using.
  • Bake for 22-26 minutes, or until lightly browned, spring back with pressed, and an cake tester inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
  • Store at room temperature for a few days, or pop into the freezer once cool.

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

Classic Raisin Molasses Bran Muffins – v, gf

classic molasses raisin bran-muffin vegan gluten free

I love bran muffins. It’s something that I easily forget when I’m busy stuffing chocolate chips into every recipe I make, but a trip to Virginia last weekend (Virginia has nothing to do with bran muffins, per se, except that I was there when I remembered how delicious bran muffins are) reminded me that the moist, plump raisin, molasses-y taste of a well-made bran muffin can’t be beat.

And I should emphasize the well-made part.

I used to work at a bakery that made an awesome raisin bran muffin, and while I can’t quite remember the recipe, I do remember the ingredients and what the batter looked like, so when trying to find a recipe template, I had some land marks to follow.

classic molasses raisin bran-muffin vegan gluten free

There are a few stages to making a bran muffin batter, but don’t be worried. You just need to have a few different bowls going, and then eventually you condense them, bowl by bowl, until you have a lovely muffin batter. Note that this batter keeps really well in the fridge, so if you wanted to double it and bake half later in the week, go for it. In fact, part of me almost thinks the batter is even nicer AFTER sitting in the fridge a bit, but I have no scientific evidence to back that up.

These muffins bake up really nicely with a beautiful round dome top (important for me in a muffin – what’s with those gluten-free muffins that sometimes look like they’ve been frightened and are jumping in different directions out of the muffin tin?). They are extra delicious with some coconut oil or vegan butter.

Bran muffin luxury!

classic molasses raisin bran-muffin vegan gluten free

Moist Raisin Molasses Oat Bran Muffins – v, gf

  • Author: Emily Joldersma R.H.N., inspired by Mom’s Bran Muffins original recipe at The Moveable Feasts blog
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free


  • 1 cup oat bran (not sure if you can’t find certified gluten-free, but that will be necessary to make these strictly gluten-free)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground chia seeds + an additional 4 tablespoons almond milk (your chia egg)
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup fancy molasses (or go hard with blackstrap, though I haven’t tested this – apparently fancy molasses is difficult to find organic and non-GMO)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill; if you like, you could also substitute a nice kamut or spelt flour too)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum, optional but recommended
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt/Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 1/4 cups raisins, plumped


  1. Plump raisins by putting them in a small bowl and covering them with warm/boiling water. Easy peezy. Before adding them to the batter, you’ll just drain off the water.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add the baking soda, chia, additional almond milk, and oat bran.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the melted coconut oil, molasses, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  5. In a medium bowl, sift together gluten-free flour, baking powder, cinnamon, xantham gum, and salt.
  6. Now we start the combining:
    1. Add the milk/bran mix to the oil/molasses mix and whisk well.
    2. Add the flour mix to the liquid mix and stir until combined.
    3. Add raisins to the batter.
  7. Scoop batter into a prepared muffin tin (either lined with paper cups or lightly greased with oil).
  8. Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until tops spring back when gently pressed.
  9. Let cool and then try a few! They freeze really nicely and will keep on the counter for 2 to 3 days, I would think. But freezing is probably best.

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly


Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins with Teff and Kamut Flour

vegan banana chocolate chip muffins with teff and kamut flour

I’m definitely new to the teff flour bandwagon. I’m not entirely sure that there even IS a teff flour bandwagon, but however small or niche it is, I’m still new to it. I’ve seen a few delicious looking teff flour recipes in one of my favourite cookbooks, Clean Food, but the only thing I’d eaten that was made of teff was that tangy and spongy and amazing injera bread that they serve at Ethiopian restaurants. It kind of made me associate teff flour with a sourdough taste and I had this bias that it would be difficult to bake with, or have a strong flavour like quinoa flour (sorrry quinoa flour! but it’s true).

Where did I get these ideas? Who knows. I made ’em up and then thought they were true. So it was time to break with my preconceived notions about teff.

vegan banana chocolate chip muffins with teff and kamut flours

What is teff, you might ask? Teff is kind of like quinoa – a small seed, not really a grain – and like quinoa, it’s just a nutritional powerhouse for the body. Teff has protein and fibre, of course, and it also has really high amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese (and for those of who you are like, manganese? really? I say, yes, manganese! It’s good for skin health, cardiovascular health, bone structure, your thryoid gland, sex hormones, blood sugar, metabolism. Yes to manganese!). Teff has even been called the “stamina” grain – noted for giving long distance runners energy and endurance. It also has B vitamins and is naturally gluten-free. There is no downside. 

Okay, it’s a bit expensive. That’s the only downside. But, at what price health? (I use that to rationalize many expensive grocery purchases. It’s a positive, yet slightly costly, life philosophy).

vegan banana chocolate chip muffins with teff and kamut flour

But fear not that these muffins are too ‘out there’ for your average muffin consuming individuals. My banana chocolate chip teff muffins are like gateway muffins into using teff – a gentle introduction into alternate flours. They are half teff flour and half kamut flour, which is an ancient wheat (and not gluten-free) that kind of helps balance any difficulties that gluten-free baking sometimes faces. If you wanted to substitute another gluten-free flour to make the muffins totally gluten-free, I would also recommend adding perhaps a teaspoon or so of xantham gum (although the bananas do a pretty awesome job of binding things together).

These muffins bake up beautifully. Nice and tall muffin tops in the tin (I like a good, tall muffin) and really great texture and flavour. So what else can I say? They are…(wait for it)… teff-rific. They are teff-initely worth trying. Taste teff these muffins as soon as you can.

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins with Teff and Kamut Flour

  • Author: Backyard Owl
  • Recipe Notes: dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free


  • 1 cup kamut flour
  • 1 cup dark brown teff flour
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • healthy sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas, about 4 large
  • 1/2 unsweetened, non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup melted virgin coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325F.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon (if using).
  3. In a medium bowl, mash bananas and check you have about 2 cups.
  4. Add vanilla, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and non-dairy milk to banana mash and whisk together vigourously.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just mixed.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Scoop batter into oiled or paper lined muffins tins and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until muffin tops spring back lightly when pressed with a finger.
  8. Cool, and enjoy!

© Backyard Owl

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Pecan Oat Streusel

apple pecan muffinsA quick glance outside tells me that most, if not all, of the beautiful yellow, orange, and red leaves that used to be on the trees are now on the ground. This is the next phase of Autumn – when the air becomes a bit sharper with that note of winter, you have to dig into the closet for your hats and scarves, the idea of spending the afternoon reading in your jammies with a cup of tea seems more appealing than basically anything else in the world (except for going for long walks outside), and you can’t wait to bake something with cinnamon, apples, pecans, and oats.

These muffins contain apples in two forms: diced up in the batter, and also as applesauce. They have a ribbon of cinnamon, oats, and pecans in the middle and a similar streusel on top, and they are wheat-free, vegan, and made with coconut oil and coconut palm sugar.

apple cinnamon muffins with pecan oat streuselI recommend using a nice tart apple like a Granny Smith or Gala, to add a pop of juicy flavour that will stand against the cinnamon and pecans. I also recommend going wild and trying this as a quick bread or mini loaves. And if you are feeling particularly indulgent, try making an cinnamon butter with cinnamon and Earth Balance.

So what’s my plan for this Autumn day? Heading on a long nature walk, in which I plan to kick some leaves in the air and laugh while the dog chases them, and then return to make a mug of dandelion tea (my favourite) and enjoy a muffin. Throw in a comfy pair of tights, a good novel, and a pot of soup simmering on the stove, and I think I’ll have found my Autumn bliss.

Happy November!

apple cinnamon muffins with pecan oat streusel

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Pecan Oat Streusel

  • Author: Backyard Owl
  • Recipe Notes: wheat-free, vegan, refined sugar-free


  • 1 3/4 cups light spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup organic applesauce
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond or soy milk
  • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or other organic sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon fancy molasses (optional)
  • 1 cup diced apple (about 1 medium size apple)
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
    • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
    • 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
    • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Lightly grease or line your muffin baking tin of choice.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together spelt flour, chickpea flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  • In a separate small bowl, mix together applesauce, rolled oats, and almond milk. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add coconut palm sugar, melted coconut oil, and optional molasses. Whisk until completely combined.
  • Stir together wet and dry ingredients. When almost fully combined, stir in diced apple. Do not over mix.
  • Once batter is prepared, make streusel: stir together rolled oats, coconut palm sugar, and cinnamon, then add melted coconut oil and mix well. Finally, stir in chopped pecans.
  • Fill each muffin tin about halfway and add a sprinkle of streusel filling. Top with another tablespoon or two of batter, and sprinkle additional streusel on top.
  • Bake for approximately 22 minutes, or until the muffin springs back when gently pressed with your finger.
  • Let cool, and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer (these freeze very nicely).

Looking for some other November baking suggestions? Try banana espresso sconessweet potato pie, or kale and barley salad.

© 2014 Backyard Owl

Heavenly Vegan Chocolate Chip, Coconut, and Zucchini Muffins

chocolate chip zucchini muffinsBaking with coconut milk feels so luxurious to me, like the equivalent of taking a bath in milk like Cleopatra – if the milk were non-dairy, of course, and bathing in it weren’t so wasteful and excessive. But you get my point.

There is something decadent about coconut milk. It’s the velvet of the non-dairy milks, and with it, these chocolate chip, zucchini, coconut muffins remind me of a 1900s garden party – summery, light, yet somehow sumptuous. In my mind, old-timey people eat them while dressed in white, playing croquet, wearing large hats, and carrying around parasols. And yes, I do understand that the people in my vision wouldn’t have had access to canned, organic coconut milk, but let’s just go with it.

All of this means that these muffins are a bit richer than my usual fare. I can’t pretend that because they contain shredded zucchini they are somehow appropriate for dinner or are the equivalent of a vegetable serving. But, if you want a treat that still has some healthy qualities, these will fit the bill. And it’s nice to have an extra special summer treat, now and again, no?

So, let us lay the scene: You are at the White Sands Hotel, Prince Edward Island, circa 1904. In the distance, Anne of Green Gables is eating ice cream for the first time, while a four-piece quartet strikes up a slow waltz. A gentle breeze brushes against your face. You take off one of your white gloves and pick a muffin up, off a silver tray. Ah, delicious.

Summertime. Luxury. That’s what these muffins are.

Heavenly Chocolate Chip, Coconut, and Zucchini Muffins 

  • Author: Backyard Owl (inspired by this recipe at How Sweet It Is)
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, wheat-free, soy-free


  • 1 cup organic oat flour
  • 1 cup organic spelt flour
    • Note: I also tried this recipe with 1 cup spelt flour, 2/3 cup quinoa flour, and 1/3 cup chickpea flour. Just as good! If you are concerned about gluten, try a combo of oat flour (certified gluten-free), quinoa, and chickpea.
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (the full-fat kind, taken from a can that has been stored at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin or applesauce
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips (vegan)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease or line a muffin tin.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add shredded coconut.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together canned coconut milk, melted coconut oil, and coconut palm sugar until fully combined. Add pureed pumpkin, vanilla, and shredded zucchini.
  5. Combine wet ingredients with dry and mix gently until almost combined.
  6. Add dark chocolate chips and finish combining, stirring just until mixed.
  7. Scoop into greased or lined muffin tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top of the muffin springs back when gently pressed.
  8. Cool for a few minutes, then remove from muffin tin to continue cooling. Note that these muffins freeze really well.
  9. Enjoy with a glass of almond milk and a game of lawn bowling.

Happy Summer!

© 2014 Backyard Owl