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These low carb paleo pumpkin muffins are not only easy to make, but they’re the perfect healthy alternative to typical baked goods because they’re sugar + gluten-free so they won’t spike insulin!
I’ve been experimenting with this paleo pumpkin recipe for a while now since I still have SO MUCH almond flour left over from my ProCakes days. I love playing with low carb flours and creating baked goods that taste great, but also leave you feeling satisfied and not looking for that next hit of sugar.
Pumpkin Muffins Are Great Any Time of Year
I find that folks have this single-minded view that pumpkin is just for fall and once Christmas rolls around, all things pumpkin must disappear until next year. I call BS on that! Canned pumpkin is a pantry staple in my opinion because it adds natural moisture and a great texture to your baking. Also, canned pumpkin is packed with potassium, vitamin A and iron, so it’s never a bad idea to add it to your food year-round!
Why am I using xylitol?
Xylitol is one of my favorite sugar alternatives because it provides sweetness without impacting insulin levels or adding extra calories. Xylitol is considered a “sugar alcohol”, which is a misleading name because it’s neither sugar, nor alcoholic. It looks a lot like sugar as it has the exact same texture, but you’ll find that it’s not as sweet and has a cool after taste too it (which is why it’s used to sweeten many chewing gums). I recommend using Now brand xylitol because the ingredients are pure. It’s made from tree bark. If you go for a cheaper option, you’ll find that it’s derived from corn, which is filled with GMOs.
Why am I using Stevia as well as Xylitol?
As I mentioned, xylitol has a cool aftertaste. So if you use to much of it, it can give your baking an unexpected flavor. It’s not bad, but it will make you wonder why your mouth feels so fresh after eating a muffin. So, to counterbalance this, I use a little bit of stevia as well as it’s a more powerful sweetener and a great compliment to xylitol. It too can have an aftertaste if you use too much, so by using both, you avoid that altogether in your final product. It’s also a natural sweetener, made from a stevia plant, that will not spike insulin or add unnecessary empty calories to your food.
Are Stevia and Xylitol Paleo?
That depends on who you ask. If you’re a paleo purist, the answer would be a hard no (head straight to the next paragraph if that’s you), because it’s not 100% real food and therefore our ancestors didn’t eat it. But, that would also mean that most sweetners are out, including coconut sugar, which a lot of paleo folks enjoy. If you want to learn more about where xylitol comes from, this article provides a full history and breakdown of where it comes from and how it is used. Bottom line, Xylitol and stevia are great options if you’re watching your calorie intake and want to manage your sugar and carb intake.
How to make these muffins strict paleo?
Simple – just remove the stevia and xylitol and use pure maple syrup, honey or applesauce instead. You can also use a combination of all three if you like. How much should you use? That’s going to be up to you. Once you’ve mixed all the other ingredients together, simple add your preferred sweetener in small amounts and taste test as you go. These options will not only add natural sweetness to your muffins, but they will enhance the texture as well. However, note that this will change the nutritional value of the final product, so you’ll have to do your own math here.
Pro Baking Tip: If you want a really intense flavor, I recommend going heavy on the pumpkin spice. You can never have enough pumpkin spice in your life and if people tell you that you’re using too much, ditch those people. You don’t need that kinda negativity in your in your life.
A note about Coconut Milk in this Pumpkin Muffin Recipe
I think it’s worth mentioning that the coconut milk mentioned in this recipe is the stuff that comes from a can. I adore this brand, but Trader Joe’s also sells a great coconut cream it if you prefer to shop there. Just don’t use regular dairy cream or coconut milk that comes in a milk carton. That’s going to make your end result less rich & creamy.
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Love Paleo Pumpkin MUFFINS? You’ll probably love these, too:
- Paleo Banana Bread
- Chocolate Zucchini Muffins – these are so bomb, btw!
- Low carb Apple Cinnamon Muffins – paleo and low carb
- 1.25 cups almond flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 egg whites, or just do three full eggs
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 coconut cream or milk
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of pumpkin spice, you need to walk your own path here
- 1/2 cup xylitol, this is optional, but it does add bulk. If you choose not to use it, just increase the stevia
- 1/4 to 2/3 teaspoon of stevia -, Just add stevia to taste. Aim for a little sweeter than you can you want the finished product to be as the sweetness will go down in baking.
- pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mix dry almond flour and baking powder together and preferably run them through a sieve.
- Add wet ingredients Add spices and sweeter in stages and test along the way. You want to find the right level of flavor and sweetness for your preference.
- Mix well and then add to muffin tin (or a bread tin - feel free to mix it up)
- Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown on top and let sit for about 5 mins before diving in.
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Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, low carb recipes, quick home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.