Sugar-Free Pumpkin Muffins and Testing Stevias!

gluten-free-grain-free-low-carb-pumpkin-muffins

The fiery hues of fall have painted the trees of Atlanta, transforming ordinary backyards into magical landscapes!

Fall Leaves in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Why are color changing leaves so enchanting to a 25 year old? They’re a novelty for someone who spent the better part of her youth surrounded by the monochromatic tropical evergreens of Southwest Florida. 

Fall Day in Atlanta, Pt. 2

You can’t exactly jump into a pile of palm fronds to make memories (ouch!). Guess that’s a fair trade-off for the perpetual summer weather. :D

We made the long drive up to The Big Peach from Fort Myers to celebrate a very special occasion: The arrival of my new baby niece. Meeting the sweetest, most beautiful one month old was my inspiration for creating the crumb-topped Healthier Pumpkin Muffins pictured above. They’re tiny, a little bit messy, and so sweet, just like my niece is!

These moist muffins were adapted from the Banana Nut Muffins that were posted eons ago on the blog. I’m breaking out the coconut flour and trying to consume fewer pastries made of almond flour after reading about the inflammation that could be linked to high consumption of the omega 6 fatty acids found in nuts. It’s easy to go overboard with nuts when you’re testing so many almond flour treats for blog posts. 

Like all Healthy Indulgences treats, these muffins are gluten-free and low in carbohydrates, so you can start your day off without a giant spike in your blood sugar, which causes the inevitable crash and sluggishness a few hours later. 

In the ingredients list for these muffins, you might notice a change in the brand of stevia I recommend. A couple of you who commented here recently brought to my attention that the NuNaturals stevia formulation recently changed. Sadly, the sample of the new stevia I received from the company last month is less sweet, with a noticeably bitter aftertaste.

To address this problem, I went on a stevia buying spree to find out for you all which brands of powdered stevia deserve the Healthy Indulgences Seal of Approval. By testing out every single type of stevia available for purchase (11 stevia products, so far), I hope to identify the good products on the market so that you don’t have to waste your time and money on poor quality stevia. 

Have you tried any of the stevia products you see here? Leave a comment recommending your favorite brand of stevia!

Every major brand of stevia extract, waiting to be put to the test!

For this recipe, I used the first new brand of stevia that I tried: Mood & Mind Pure Stevia Extract Powder. It has a very clean, non bitter taste. Stay tuned for the results of the stevia showdown…

Recipe Notes:

You can easily make these muffins paleo using honey or coconut sugar as the sweetener.

Because coconut flour contains so much fiber, it sucks up moisture and requires a ton of eggs to yield palatable baked goods. Using such a high ratio of eggs to other ingredients can lend a spongy quality to baked goods made with 100% coconut flour. To improve the texture, you can add a starch or grain flour (like oat flour – see the Banana Snack Cake recipe in the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook) in place of some of the eggs. By using one of these ingredients to “hold” moisture in the cake batter, you can reduce the sponginess of the finished cake.

I reduced the number of eggs in this recipe by using arrowroot starch, a new addition to the Healthy Indulgences arsenal. This plant starch, derived from a tuber, greatly improves the texture of grain-free baked goods. You can read more about using starches in paleo grain-free baking over at Paleo Fondue, an informative blog I stumbled upon while researching the properties of arrowroot starch. In place of oat flour, I’m using small amount of starches (arrowroot and tapioca) to appeal to paleo eaters, SCD dieters, and others who are trying to address health issues by avoiding grains.  

If you are allergic to nuts, make the muffins nut-free by leaving off the “streusel” topping. The topping contains a bit of coconut sugar due to the tendency of erythritol or xylitol to crystallize when it’s part of a dry mixture. Erythritol would be unpleasantly crunchy in such a topping. Find out how to use natural, sugar-free sweeteners like erythritol in the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook.

I wanted to thank you all again for purchasing the Healthy Indulgences Cookbook, giving it as gifts, and for spreading the word about it on your social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest). The revenue generated from the book, and from sales through the affiliate links in my posts, allows me to create more recipes for you and answer your questions while I pursue my career goals. With your help, the news about sugar-free baking will be heard by everyone who could benefit from it.

Special thanks to my sister and her husband for graciously allowing me into her kitchen for the baking and photoshoot. I’d also like to thank J and J for their exquisite taste in mugs.

Paleo, Grain-Free Pumpkin Muffins

 

Healthier Pumpkin Muffins (Grain-Free, Sugar-Free)

Yields 9


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For Muffins
  1. 1/2 cup sifted organic coconut flour
  2. 6 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, softened
  3. 5 large eggs
  4. 3/4 cup coconut sugar OR erythritol
  5. ½ teaspoon good-tasting pure stevia extract
  6. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  7. 1/4 cup arrowroot starch*
  8. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  9. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  10. 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  11. 3/4 cup pumpkin
  12. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  13. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  14. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
For Crumb Topping (Optional)
  1. 1 teaspoon butter
  2. 2 Tablespoons almond flour
  3. 1 Tablespoon arrowroot starch
  4. 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Beat butter with erythritol or coconut sugar and stevia until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.
  5. Combine coconut flour with arrowroot, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and beat into batter until there are no lumps.
  6. Beat in mashed pumpkin.
  7. Pour batter almost up the top of greased muffin papers (the shiny tins work best), and sprinkle with crumbled up streusel topping.
  8. Bake 30 minutes.
  9. Let cool in pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove and let muffins finish cooling on a wire rack. When completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container.
  10. Store at room temperature for 24 hours, then move to the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. *You could replace the arrowroot starch with 1/4 cup GMO-free cornstarch. Cornstarch might be easier to find in your local grocery store, and more reasonably priced. If you eat oat flour, you could use 1/2 cup in place of the starch called for in this recipe.
Adapted from Healthy Indulgences Blog – Banana Muffins
Healthy Indulgences http://healthyindulgences.net/

~157 calories, 6g net carbs, 5g protein, 12g fat

  • http://www.stephanieserrano.com Stephanie

    I’ve had good results with “Steviva” brand stevia/erythritol blend for baking.
    http://www.steviva.com/
    The muffins look delicious, will try them this weekend.

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren B.

      Stephanie, thank you for sharing your stevia recommendation. I’ll include your recommendation for it in the stevia review post.

  • Elaine

    I pretty much gave up on powdered stevia and only use the liquid extracts. What I really would like to find is a good low carb substitute for all those paleo recipes that use so much honey.

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren B.

      Hi, Elaine! That’s interesting about the liquid extract. I do have the Now and NuNaturals liquid extracts. The only drawback with using those is that you cannot sweeten chocolate with them, as it causes it to seize.

      Have you tried erythritol? It complements the sweetness of stevia very well and has negligible calories and carbohydrates.

  • Valerie

    I agree with Elaine, I use the liquid NuNaturals Stevia. I’ve never like the powdered Stevia, but the liquid NuNaturals is great. I use it in my coffee and think it is by far the best of the bunch.

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren B.

      Valerie, thanks for weighing in about stevia. I will have to review the 2 liquid extracts I have as well. You are right about them working well in coffee. Liquid extract is so convenient, too!

  • Melanie E.

    How many muffins did you get from this recipe? (Maybe I missed it…) Thanks!

    • Lauren Benning

      Hi, Melanie! 9 muffins is the yield. It’s in tiny writing underneath the title. I’ll see if I can play around with the theme to make it more visible.

  • Nikki

    Dear Lauren, mine are in the oven as I type and I tasted the batter and it was GOOD! :D I do however have two things I noticed about the recipe: I cannot find where to add the arrowroot in the recipe…I added it with the flour..hope that works! And I couldn’t see in the recipe for how many muffins the recipe is….turns out to fill exactly twelve :) I only had regular paper muffin liners so I used my silicon trays (2 x 6) Thanks for your awesome recipes, I’ve only recently found your site and am loving it! Greetings from Autumnal Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    • Lauren Benning

      Nikki, it’s great to see you commenting and on FB! Is the weather fall-like in the Netherlands?

      Updated the recipe to note when the arrowroot is added. Thank you for catching that.

  • Lona

    I tried many brands of Stevia and found a couple that I thought were “ok” but it wasn’t until I tried the NuNaturals brand that I was hooked. I use it everywhere that I can and have turned many stevia-haters onto its lack of bitter aftertaste and onto just how good it tastes!

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren B.

      Lona, I’ve had the same experience you did with trying different stevias. It’s unfortunate that the product we love changed. I found a couple of good stevias out of the bunch that were tested, and will be sharing them soon with you.

      Your testimonial was posted over in the new section. :) Thanks again for taking the time to leave your feedback, Lona. It’s always good to hear from you.

  • Stephanie R

    Just made these and HOLY COW THESE ARE GOOD! I used a 1/4 tsp of the Kal Stevia powder and it worked great. I ran out of arrowroot powder for the topping but I used 3 Tbsp of almond flour, 1Tbsp of erythritol and 1tsp of butter and it still turned out delicious. (Just had to make sure the topping didn’t burn.) I also ended up with 12 very large muffins, I’m not sure how you only got 9… They turned out very moist and full of flavor! My husband said that if he’s disappears for any length of time I had better check the kitchen as he might be in there eating them all! This is definitely a new favorite recipe! Thanks!!

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren B.

      Stephanie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the muffins! May I ask when you purchased your KAL stevia? I tried it out for the stevia showdown, and wanted to hear your thoughts about it.

  • Felicity

    I can’t wait to read the results of the stevia showdown. I was so frustrated that NuNaturals changed the formula so soon after I discovered it. Will try this recipe soon!

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren B.

      Felicity, thanks for the support re: the stevia showdown! I figured out how to standardize the testing, and will have the post up soon.

  • Maria

    I made these yesterday, subbing in cornstarch for the arrowroot. Delicious!! To me the texture is more cake-y than bread-y (super moist), so I turned them into cupcakes with a thin layer of your yummy cream cheese frosting.
    I don’t bake much (prefer to cook), but when I get a craving, I always turn to your blog for reasonably healthy treats. Thank you so much for continuing to post your innovative recipes!!

    • Lauren Benning

      Maria, thank you for the feedback. Happy to hear the muffins turned out well! Please spread the word about ‘em if you know anyone interested in healthier treats.

  • jendjam

    I was so sad when NuNaturals changed there formula I have been using their stevia for 8 years. I tried Better Stevia but didn’t like it at all. I purchased KAL Stevia about two months ago and love it. It is very sweet and I don’t detect an after taste. I use about 1/4 tsp for most recipes. I have made cakes, brownies, cookies, and ice cream with it. Thank you for your great recipes and information. Your site has really helped me in my journey to eliminate sugar from my diet.

    • Lauren Benning

      Jen, I felt the same way! It’s been a great product for all these years. I’m glad you found another stevia. I did try KAL, but the bottle I received did not taste as “clean” in terms of sweetness as the old NuNaturals formula. Do you mind sharing with me what the date is on your bottle of KAL stevia?

      Thanks for the nice feedback. It’s great to hear that these recipes are helping you to eat less sugar. That’s the goal! :)

      • jendjam

        The expiration date is 10/15. Lot number 171704.

  • David Rahrer

    I just bought the NuNaturals powdered Stevia a couple of weeks ago on your recommendation. Can I tell if I have the new or the old formula? I have to admit, it has a bit of an after taste.

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren Benning

      Hi, David! It sounds like you have the new formula. I’ll update the cookbook to reflect the change in stevia formulation. I am sorry to say that the recommendation in the cookbook is no longer accurate. It will be a lot of work revising the book and every post on this blog, but it needs to be done. Thank you for sharing your experience with the new NuNaturals stevia formulation.

      A great stevia that I have been using often this month after testing multiple brands of stevia is the NOW Better Stevia. It had no aftertaste, unlike KAL, Wisdom Naturals Sweetleaf, and the new NuNaturals formulation. The only drawback of using NOW stevia is that it is about half as sweet as the old NuNaturals stevia. I am still experimenting with it, and will post the results later in December.
      http://tinyurl.com/nd8hx4j

      • David Rahrer

        Thank you very much. I realize that is not under your control, and it’s a shame. I wonder why they would do that? Also, are you not recommending the Mood & Mind? I was about to buy that but will wait if the NOW is better. I’m about to make the Red Velvet cake next so I will either have to use the NuNaturals or buy the NOW and double the amount I guess. I look forward to your new recommendations.

  • Deborah Lapatina

    Wilderness Family Naturals has an awesome stevia powder concentrate; but watch out it is potent! I usually use this in conjunction with erythritol/coconut palm.

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