Fail Proof Allergen (and Gluten) Free Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

A few years ago, the playground moms were raving about this recipe. "I can't have that," I lamented, "I'm gluten free!"

"Oh, I don't think it will work without gluten," came the response. I was desolate. Heart broken. My daughter and I were newly gluten free, and facing a pumpkin muffin-less life. And then I stumbled across Namaste Spice Cake mix. It was on sale. I took a deep breath, and took a small risk. My gluten free-dairy free daughter was grateful that I did. And so was the rest of the family. I went back and bought more muffin mix (no longer on sale). The gluten eaters I know think it's even better than gluten-filled goodies, and that's saying a lot.

The best part about this particular recipe is that it's pretty foolproof. Follow the directions. Don't second guess them or you will get goop. (I've done it.) How quickly it turns into a proper dough will depend on humidity; I can't figure out what weather yields which result, but as long as I follow the below directions specifically, it always works out. I don't know how to adjust for different altitudes, I live fairly close to sea level and I will hope that if you don't, you know how to adapt sea level recipes to your own standards. Good luck, and eat free!

Please note that I've seen this basic recipe from multiple sources online and off. My original source was a vague acquaintance whose name escapes me. Her original source may have been the back of a cake box. My understanding is that when it comes to recipes, it's directions that are generally copyrighted, not ingredients. These particular directions are uniquely mine.

What's in Them?

Assemble Ingredients:

  • 1 can of pumpkin (This is the small sized can. About 15 oz. It is the equivalent of just shy of 2 cups)
  • 1 box or bag of your favorite everything-free spice cake mix. I use Namaste. According to the bag, it is enough cake mix to make 2 9" round layers. This measurement is much more relavent to gluten free cooking than specific amounts or weight is.
  • About half a cup to three quarters of a cup of your favorite muffin fillings. I usually toss in raisins for regular use and chocolate chips for parties. I use cranberries when I feel festive. I've never had any complaints.

That is it. Ignore the list on the back of the bag of cake mix. No eggs. No oil. No water. Nothing. Assemble the above ingredients, and the above ingredients only.

Stir, Stir, Stir and Keep Stirring
Stir, Stir, Stir and Keep Stirring
Don't Stop Stirring...
Don't Stop Stirring...
Eventually, it will look like this!
Eventually, it will look like this!

Now What?

Those muffins aren't going to make themselves!

Hand your kids a package of muffin liners and the muffin tins, and let them get to work. Open the pumpkin, dump it in your bowl. Pour the cake mix on top.

This is the tough part.

Start stirring. Keep stirring. Don't stop stirring. Ignore the urge to add water or milk. Keep stirring. Don't panic, just stir. It will turn into dough. Try not to think about how much gluten free cake mix actually costs. Take a moment to dry your eyes when it looks like this is never going to work. Resist the urge to add water or another liquid. Just keep stirring.

When your arm starts to fall off, the powder should just about disappear into the dough and ka-boom. You've got something resembling 'real' muffin mix. Fold in your filler of choice.

Drop by rounded large spoon fulls into those muffin tins. They rise just a little, so fill them about 3/4ths full. These also make delicious bite size muffins for Friendship feasts. Note that there were no eggs used in the recipe (You did follow my instructions, right?), so there's no chance of salmonella. Hand the mixing bowl and spoon over to your kids or husband so they can lick them clean without a shred of guilt or worry.

Pop into a 350* oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until when you tap the top they feel done, not still soft and dough-like. (Unless, like my husband, you prefer your baked goods to resemble warm dough. Then take them out whenever you please and enjoy. Just remember they may not keep as well if not cooked all the way through)

Can I store them?

If you would like to freeze extras, simply pop them into a container and seal tightly. We freeze them paired up in baggies, ready to pop into lunches along with a small tub of nut butter or fake cream cheese.

They are delicious by themselves as a dessert, snack or paired with yoghurt for a light meal. Serve with nut butter, cream cheese or cream cheese substitute, or top with a cream cheese flavored frosting for an extra decadent dessert. Just be careful not to eat too many...or you'll have to make a second batch for the kids!

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