“So, what do you think of these acorn squash apple muffins I just made?” I was asking my husband Brad this question after his first bite. They are nice and warm, a good muffin to enjoy on a cool morning during the colorful fall in Michigan. Before Brad answered my question, I heard our little eater, Leo, start to make noise. Oh, he just finished the last piece of muffin on his tray and is ready for more.
Brad’s response was “It is very moist! I can taste the apple and cinnamon.” He liked that the muffins are held together very well with a chewy texture and also liked the roasted squash seeds on top. He is right about the apple taste. The tartness from the apple chunks is just enough to complement the sweetness from the squash and spice from the cinnamon.
Apples and acorn squash are in season right now. I can’t resist using the fresh apples and squash in my baking experiments. I saved the squash seeds and sprinkled the kernels on top of the muffins. The additional saturated fat, protein, vitamins and minerals from these seeds make the muffins an even healthier treat.
Do you ever have trouble baking with gluten free flour? Sometimes the baking products are too dry and crumbly. Or sometimes too dry on the outside while too wet inside. However, making muffins with apples and squash always makes my day. The combination of apples and squash gives these gluten-free, vegan, and no-sugar-added muffins a perfect texture as well as helping to hold the muffins together. When I serve them warm, Brad says: “It doesn’t get any better than this!”
I found recipes for gluten-free all-purpose flour mixtures on Shauna Ahern’s blog. She shared her experience of homemade gluten-free all-purpose flour. I do agree with her that mixing flour by weight is better than mixing by volume because the density of flour varies from batch to batch. This way I always achieve more consistent results than measuring by volume. Here is a list of the gluten free flour I used in this recipe: corn meal, organic millet flour, white rice flour, sweet rice flour, and potato starch. I mixed together equal amounts of each flour by weight. This all-purpose flour recipe is good for muffins, scones, pancakes, or even a chocolate cake. However, I do find it is a little bit crumbly if I use this flour to make bread. In that case, I would add some xantham gum or guar gum to help the bread hold together better.
These are probably the first gluten-free, vegan, and no-sugar-added muffins you’ll want to master and luckily they are also one of the easiest.
- 70 g corn meal
- 70 g millet flour
- 70 g white rice flour
- 70 g sweet rice flour
- 70 g potato starch
- 1½ cup cooked acorn squash puree
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ tsp pure stevia extract powder
- 6 tbs olive oil
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- (Optional) ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbs flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)
- 3 tbs lukewarm water
- 1 small chopped apple (any kind, peeled and cored)
- (Optional) 2 tbs squash seed kernels
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Lightly spray the muffin cups with vegetable oil spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder, nutmeg, and stevia. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl, combine together the flaxseed meal and lukewarm water to make the flaxseed egg. Set aside for 5 minutes and then add oil, squash puree, and applesauce into the flaxseed egg.
- Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Add chopped apple, then gently Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle squash seed kernels on top. Bake for 20 minutes until the muffins are springy. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Serve warm.
2. Flour mix can be replaced by 2½ cup all-purpose wheat flour for non gluten-free version.
3. To make squash puree (steamer method): Wash the acorn squash. Cut in half then remove the seeds and stringy insides with a spoon. Cut the squash halves into quarters. Place into a steamer to steam for 30-40 minutes. Let it cool enough to handle. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the soft squash flesh and discard the squash skin.
4. To make squash puree (oven method): Wash the acorn squash. Cut in half then remove the seeds and stringy insides with a spoon. Cut the squash halves into quarters. Place into an oil sprayed baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 °F preheated oven for 1 hour. Let it cool enough to handle. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the soft squash flesh and discard the squash skin.
5. To roast and hull squash seeds: Wash off the stringy squash membrane under running water. Pat dry the seeds on a drying towel or kitchen paper towel. Slightly coat the seeds with vegetable oil or butter. Place the seeds on an oil sprayed baking sheet and bake at 325 °F for 10 minutes. Allow the seeds to cool enough to handle. Pinch the narrow end of each seed between your thumb and forefinger to open the shell. Remove the shells to get seed kernels.