Here we go, my attempt at being seasonal and festive … anything pumpkin counts as Halloween and Thanksiving themed right?
I had held onto to that convenient package of gluten-free, dairy-free cornbread mix for months. Every time I spotted the mix sitting patiently on my shelf, I would head to the internet and google “pamela’s cornbread mix egg-free” and “pamela’s cornbread mix vegan” and every time the results disappointed. I needed to prepare the mix egg-free, in order to share the results with my husband, and I guess I was hoping to find a tried and tested egg-free method for using this particular mix. I was afraid to “waste” it on a potential failed trial.
But finally I said enough is enough. My job is to create and test recipes, so it was time to shed my fears and just go for it. Plus, I needed something pumpkin!
My biggest concern was not so much in the lift without eggs, but with the binding. When you cut out eggs in a gluten-free blend, the results can be a crumbly mess. With the exception of cookies, I find that the flax egg doesn’t usually cut it in gluten-free circumstances. But suddenly it came to me. Why not go with the gluten-free flow? Use what the gluten-free bakers use for added “glue” in the flour blend … xanthan gum. The mix already has some xanthan gum, but I added more in just the perfect amount to mimic the added cohesiveness that the eggs would provide.
I live at high altitude (6000+ feet); the lower oxygen here allows baked goods to rise more easily (too easily sometimes), so the pumpkin provided enough “lift” for my muffins without any added leavener, but I have included optional baking powder in the recipe for sea level.
So how did they turn out? The texture was spot on, not a crumble in sight.
They weren’t light and fluffy like a cakey cornbread, but rather rich and flavorful. I loved the taste, which was definitely sweet enough to eat plain or indulge with a pat of Earth Balance. And the occasional drizzle of honey (or agave) never hurts either, right?
Pamela’s Sweet Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins
I have included several optional ways of making these muffins (less sweet, sans pumpkin, etc.) including an additional suggestion for experimenting should you prefer a cake-style cornbread!
This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Wheat-Free, and optionally Refined Sugar-Free. Note that Pamela’s mixes are made on equipment that also processes tree nuts, soy, eggs, and milk. Contact them directly to learn about their processes if potential cross-contamination with a food allergen is a concern for you.
1 Bag Pamela’s Cornbread & Muffin Mix
1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice or Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar (see below for unrefined sweetener option)
1/3 Cup Oil (I used coconut oil)
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Cup Vanilla Milk Alternative (I used Hemp Bliss)
Optional: Add 1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder for lower altitudes (below 3000 feet) or for a cakier result
Preheat your oven to 375ºF. I use silicone baking cups, which actually work better without greasing, but if needed, lightly grease the muffin tins.
Combine the mix, spice, and xanthan gum in a large bowl and stir to combine. If using additional baking powder, stir it in too. Add the sugar, oil, pumpkin, and milk alternative, and stir to combine. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 17 to 20 minutes. Allow them to cool for a few minutes in the tins on wire racks, then remove the muffins to a wire rack. Devour hot or let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Bigger Muffins? These do make somewhat petite muffins (I had no problem eating two in one sitting). For more generously sized muffins, pour into 8 to 10 muffin tins and increase the baking time accordingly (probably more like 22 to 25 minutes – or until a toothpick comes out clean, and a nice firm crust has formed on top of the muffins).
Less Sweet? Sub 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar for the sugar and use either unsweetened milk alternative or water for the liquid.
Plain Egg-Free Cornbread? Omit the pumpkin spice, swap the brown sugar for white sugar or the “less sweet” option above, use unsweetened applesauce in place of the pumpkin puree, and use unsweetened milk alternative or water for the liquid. You could use banana in place of the pumpkin, which would probably be tasty, but it would affect the flavor more than applesauce.
Feel Like Experimenting? For a lighter, cakier muffin, I might swap the milk alternative for water (and possibly increase the amount by a tablespoon or so if the batter looks to thick) and add just a touch of baking powder.