When the holidays roll around, I’m usually a pumpkin pie kinda gal. I don’t really love fruity pies at all so if you ever see an apple pie, blueberry pie or [fill in the name of your favorite fruit] pie, it’s because I love someone a lot. Enter these Pecan Pie Muffins. They hit all the marks:
- Breakfast Alternative: Most of the muffins I make are lower in sugar and higher in nutrition, so calling them “breakfast” is an easy fit on my conscious.
- Less Sugar: Most pecan pies have tons and tons of sugar in filling – and that doesn’t even count the crust. This muffin actually tastes a lot like a pecan pie with a different texture and a sliver of the sugar!
- No fruit to speak of: Pecans aren’t a fruit. I like fruit. Just not in pies.
Pecan Pie Muffins…In 3 Attempts
I was ready to call it quits when it came to developing a recipe for this muffin. I make these pecan pie muffins with pecans (obviously) and real maple syrup. Neither are cheap.
Attempt 1: The first attempt at making these muffins involved coconut flour. I love baking with coconut flour, but depending on what you’re doing with it, it can be extremely dry. Despite the texture of the first attempt at these muffins being spot on, it was just too dry. Ciao, coconut flour!
Attempt 2: A different muffin altogether. But astonishingly, they raised very nicely, then fell like a bad soufflé. It’s not exactly a mystery why this happened. Instead of placing the pecans in the center of the muffin (like I did with the final recipe), I thought it would be prettier and tastier to place them on top. Sigh! They tasted great, but looked terrible. The weight of the pecans coated in maple collapsed the roof on my muffins in no time. I could have probably remade these without putting the pecans on top, but I wasn’t 100% sure that’s what did it.
Attempt 3: It worked. Void of all coconut flour, but using much more almond flour, this muffin did the trick. I placed the pecans inside after creating a bit of a batter-based floor for them to rest on. Constructing the muffins was a little more than your garden-variety pour-and-bake type, but it’s well worth it. I’ll explain a little more in a moment.
As you can see, the pecans still managed to rise a little, bursting through the top of the muffin. I’m glad I stuck with it, despite the fact that I have a couple dozen very funky muffins sitting in my kitchen right now.
Grain Free and Dairy Free Muffins
These Pecan Pie Muffins are grain free and dairy free. If you don’t have coconut oil or coconut milk in your kitchen, you can probably swap with butter (which is a common interchangeable ingredient) and whole milk. I say probably because I haven’t tested this recipe. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work.
The type of coconut milk I use is canned, so you’re going to find it in aisle with the baked goods or in the aisle with the Asian foods. The store I shop at has canned coconut milk in both of those sections. It won’t be near the gigantic wall of cartons of alternative milk.
Pecan Pie Muffins Recipe
Yields: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 18 – 20 minutes
- 2 cups + 1 tbsp almond flour (not almond meal)
- 1 cup pecans, raw, unsalted
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, divided
- 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease baking tin or line with cups.
- Combine pecans and 1/4 cup maple syrup in a saucepan and cook over low/medium heat to a simmer for 6 – 8 minutes, or until the syrup has reduced down to a thicker liquid.
- While pecans and syrup cook, add almond flour, salt and baking soda to a medium-size bowl. Set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs with coconut oil, 1/4 cup maple syrup, coconut milk and vanilla.
- If pecans are done, remove from heat, leave in the pan and set aside.
- Thoroughly combine wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
- Scoop about a teaspoon of the batter to the bottom of the baking cups.
- Follow that up with a teaspoon of the pecan/syrup mixture, creating the middle part of the muffin.
- Finally, layer the remainder of the batter to the top of the muffins.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are golden brown.
- These muffins rise to the top of the muffin tip, but will not burst over. They fill the cup, but are on the small side.
- The pecan/syrup combination becomes almost like a sticky candy. Be prepared for this. Use a spoon coated in coconut oil to gather the pecans and scoop them on. This will help prevent them from sticking.
- You may be tempted to avoid cooking the pecans together with the maple syrup in lieu of just mixing them. Cooking them together helps reduce the maple syrup and makes the pecans a little crisper too. The taste delicious this way.
- Don’t worry about completely coating the pecan layer with the top layer of batter. Just scoop even amounts on and everything will bake together nicely.
I’d love to know what you think of these muffins. Please leave a comment below!
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