Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gluten-Free Ginger Pear Pumpkin Muffins + Recipe

These pumpkin muffins really make me wish I had a jumbo muffin pan (kind of like this one by Lodge).  When I was a college student at Ohio University I would eagerly wait for Fall every year so I could buy a gigantic pumpkin muffin from Perk's Coffee House & Roastery.  Those muffins were amazing!  They signaled that Fall had arrived just as much as the changing leaves and cool temperatures did.  Eating one of those muffins made me feel better after a rough day, once I even bought Kenneth a giant pumpkin muffin as a way to say "I'm sorry" after a fight (that's how good these muffins were, they could serve as a food apology) only to find out he had bought me one too!  They were pretty powerful pumpkin muffins...

Unfortunately I can't buy myself a giant pumpkin muffin from Perk's anymore.  Athens is too far of a drive for a baked good, and they weren't gluten-free.  Until I get myself a giant muffin pan, I guess I'll just eat two of these ginger pear pumpkin muffins at a time and think of Athens!  These muffins are missing the swirl of creamy icing that the Perk's pumpkin muffin had, but they're gluten-free and spicy.  I like to think that the pear makes them healthy, or at least a tad bit healthier than eating a fruit-free muffin.  

The dark flecks in the muffin are from buckwheat, which is not related to wheat at all (it's related to other delicious plants like sorrel and rhubarb) and is ok for those on a gluten-free diet to eat.  I love baking with buckwheat, but haven't used it in very many of my recipes because I have a hard time finding in the grocery store.  I've actually run into this problem with several different gluten-free flours from time to time.  Our local Giant Eagle stores always have some gluten-free flours in stock, but not usually the same flours each week.  Kroger is more reliable, but we usually shop at Giant Eagle for the fuel perks.  Whole Foods is my favorite source for gluten-free flour (and is where I usually find buckwheat flour), unfortunately I have a hard time shopping there without picking up expensive extras... Whole Foods is just awesome!  So are these muffins - find some buckwheat flour and try them out!

Ginger Pear Pumpkin Muffins  (Gluten-Free)
Makes 24 muffins     

½ cup millet flour      
½ cup buckwheat flour  
½ cup cornstarch      
½ cup tapioca starch      
2 teaspoons xanthan gum      
2 teaspoons baking powder     
¼ teaspoon salt      
1 cup sugar      
¾ cup brown sugar  
2 teaspoons cinnamon  
1 teaspoon ginger  
½ teaspoon nutmeg     
¾ cup canola oil  
2 large eggs      
2 cups pumpkin puree  
1 tablespoon vanilla  
¼ - ½ cup candied ginger, chopped  
2 red d'anjou pears, chopped (leave peel on)  

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line muffin cups with paper liners.  In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients and stir with whisk to blend.  Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stir.  Add candied ginger and pear.  Fill the muffin tins nearly to the top with the batter and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or or until toothpick inserted in the muffins comes out clean. Cool for five minutes in the muffin pan, then remove.    

Inspired by Apple Pumpkin Muffins from Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free: 75 Recipes for Irresistible Gluten-Free Desserts and Pastries by Karen Morgan