As soon as the humidity breaks and the Autumn air rolls in, Trader Joe’s lovers like me eagerly await the arrival of the pumpkin products. As it has been the past few years, the week after Labor Day I make my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s but this time my cart is full of packages with an orange hue. One item new to my shopping list this year is the Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread or Muffin Mix. I had read great things about the GF mix on Instagram and couldn’t wait to bake it for my family. We opted for muffins this time around over bread. To jazz them up a little I went the extra step and added mini chocolate chips which added a hint of sweetness that complemented the bold pumpkin spice flavor. Walnuts would make a nice addition as well.
As someone that is constantly trying to balance healthy eating with convenience given our busy lives I’m always overjoyed when I find a product that exceeds my expectations in both taste and quality. We’re no strangers to boxed mixes but while I value convenience I’m always conscious of the ingredients and stay away from most.
I often feel that our breakfast options get boring and repetitive. These muffins are an easy way to spice up your breakfast table. In less than 30 minutes total, we had fresh, warm, and delicious pumpkin spice flavored muffins for a cool fall morning. The pumpkin spice aroma of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg permeated my entire house, and my kids came running up begging for breakfast because it smelled so good.
Flavor Profile and Ingredients
These muffins were so easy to make and only required eggs, oil and water which I always have in my house. I love that these can be made in one bowl for an easy clean up. The box easily made 12 nice size muffins.
The flavor of the mix is more pumpkin spice than pumpkin. You know, the flavor that’s become synonymous with pumpkin products with spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and maybe clove. Think pumpkin spice latte. It can be a bit overpowering for those that are more sensitive to this spice or frankly are turned off by it. We added mini chocolate chips to the mix which balanced the sweet and the spice.
If you decide to add chocolate chips, I used ½ cup of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (link takes you to amazon) which was a good ratio of chip to muffin.
One other way to balance the spice is to add (not substitute) 2/3 of a can (~10oz) of pumpkin puree to the mix of ingredients. Trader Joe’s sells a 15oz can of organic pumpkin that would be perfect for this. Just measure out 2/3 and keep the rest to use for a batch of pumpkin pancakes or to give your pup a special treat. Not only will the addition of the pumpkin help to balance the spice but it will make these already light and cakey muffins even more moist.
Being a gluten free mix, I was expecting a dense chewy muffin. Trader Joe’s really perfected this mix by using a combination of 3 gluten free flours (sorghum, millet and brown rice). Check out our article about baking with sorghum flour for more on this really great gluten free grain. To our surprise, the muffins turned out light and cakey with the same consistency you’d expect in a conventional muffin. Honestly, if it I hadn’t known it was Gluten Free from the box I wouldn’t have believed it was.
Whether its for flavor, consistency, health reasons or just not having a specific ingredient on hand here are some easy substitutions for this mix if you’re in a pinch.
- Substitute 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 can (7.5oz) of pumpkin
- Substitute 1/2 cup of oil with 1 can (15oz) of pumpkin
- Substitute 1/2 cup oil with 1/2 cup applesauce
- Substitute 1/2 cup oil with pumpkin Greek yogurt
Using the Mix for Pumpkin Bread
If you’re leaning towards baking a pumpkin loaf instead of the muffins here are some things try. Because there is more batter in loaf pan as compared to being separated in a muffin pan, this gluten free mix can sometimes be tricky to bake. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re pumpkin loaf comes out perfect every time.
If you’re finding that your bread is not cooking evenly and seems raw in the middle while the top is getting a bit to crispy lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and add 10-15 minutes to the baking time.
Gluten free batters can be somewhat tricky to cook with and require a little more oversight. This is because gluten free flours tend to absorb more liquid than conventional flour and therefore require more liquid which as a result produces a looser batter. Because of the added liquid these recipes also require longer bake times. This can make things challenging when trying to cook it through without burning.
If you’re still finding that the inside of your loaf isn’t cooked through (and you’ve already tried lowering the temp and extending the bake time) I recommend using a cake heating core (link takes you to amazon). These can be used with any cake pan and are designed to conduct heat into the batter to so that the cakes bake and rise evenly.
Front of Product Package
Ingredients and Nutritional Facts
Raw Batter Mix
Raw Batter Spooned Into Muffin Pan Before Baking
Fresh Baked Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Muffin Close Up In Pan
Airy and Cakey Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Muffins Ready to Be Served
After one breakfast our kids have declared these muffins “amazing” and have given them a spot in our Autumn breakfast rotation. If you’re someone that enjoys experimenting with new products and gets into the pumpkin spirit during the Fall I highly recommend giving these a try. If you can find them at a Trader Joe’s near you I recommend grabbing a box or two! You’ll be happy you bought more than one (I promise).