Pumpkins, healthier than one might suspect, are rich in antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and Vitamins A, C, and E. They are high in fiber and protein and are an anti-inflammatory food. Cancer preventing beta carotene is responsible for a pumpkin’s vibrant orange color. Pumpkins are also a great source of l-tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes sleep, relaxation, and feelings of general happiness and well-being. Isolated l-tryptophan is actually prescribed by modern doctors as a treatment for depression or insomnia. That would definitely explain why, in what I like to call my “past life,” a pumpkin cream cheese muffin and a FRIENDS rerun were the ultimate remedy for the “Monday Blues.”
Sadly, this extraordinary fruit (yes, you read that correctly, it’s a fruit!)is trapped within the boundaries of a single, short season. It seems to be only natural that this fruit is eternally linked to the fall in the minds of so many. Coffee chains only sell pumpkin flavored drinks and baked goods during the fall months. Jack o Lanterns are the emblem of Halloween, and pumpkin pie is a staple at Thanksgiving.
Some conventional grocery stores do not carry canned pumpkin during the winter, spring, and summer, but Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s give their customers access to organic, canned pumpkin year round. I encourage you to stick it to the man, bake these pumpkin chocolate chunk muffins, and revel in the delicious taste and health benefits of this no longer “autumn-only” fruit.
These muffins are moist and rather dense, but in the loveliest possible way. They are paleo, diabetic friendly, low GI, gluten free, dairy free (depending on your brand of chocolate chunks), and packed with fiber and protein.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Muffins
1 Cup of Almond Flour *
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1-1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1 Cup of Organic Canned Pumpkin **
1/4 cup of local honey
1/4 cup of almond butter ***
3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (can be replaced with chips)
[UPDATE] * I have started using almond meal instead of almond flour.
**I have gone from 1 cup of pumpkin to 3/4 cup pumpkin AND 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce.
***I have gone from using almond butter to PEANUT butter.
I, personally, prefer the updated way, but whichever way you like is totally fine 🙂
Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan with coconut oil or set up paper muffin cups.
Whisk together the dry ingredients (almond flour through pumpkin pie spice). Proceed to fold the pumpkin into the dry mixture with a spatula. Once thoroughly combined, add in the honey and almond butter, and fold vigorously. Add the eggs. This should thin out the batter significantly. Fold until the mixture is no longer shiny and a thick batter forms. Gently fold in the chocolate chunks.
Spoon batter into your muffin pan and bake for 34 minutes. This yields 10-12 muffins.