Pumpkin is still going strong!
Kefir is a cultured milk product similar to yogurt, except it has different, more potent strains of bacteria, and is thin enough to drink. It’s a great alternative to buttermilk in baking and pancake recipes, thanks to its similar consistency and acidity to buttermilk. Kefir is also a perfect base for smoothies!
Maple Hill Creamery arguably produces the best kefir, because they use the highest quality milk from third party certified 100% grass-fed cows. Not only is grass-fed dairy better for you, as I discussed here, supporting grazing cattle also promotes the natural ecology of the planet and preserves various perennial grass species, which are at risk of extinction. Grass farmers (the farmers who raise grass-fed cattle) have a vested interest in using a variety of grasses to support the cows’ health. These cows then preserve these perennial grasses by clipping them at the right moments so that the grasses can form deep roots. The cows are also responsible for aerating the soil with their hooves, which allows water to penetrate the soil more effectively.
Also, Maple Hills flavors cannot be beat. Maple, Strawberry, and Vanilla, to name a few, are naturally flavored and only gently sweetened. Of course, Plain is a classic option if you prefer something more neutral.
Now about these muffins. They’re a sophisticated twist on pumpkin spice with hazelnut and espresso. However, if you don’t like hazelnuts, almond flour should be a fine substitute and if you don’t want caffeinated muffins, you can easily substitute with decaffeinated espresso or espresso powder. Just try to look for water processed decaf, rather than chemically processed so that you’re not exposing yourself to unnecessary toxins.
If you prefer a loaf or bundt, go ahead and bake this in a loaf or bundt pan. Just add extra baking time and check it until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.
3/4 cup hazelnut meal/flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (DIY: 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg + 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder or 1 shot of espresso
3/4 cup pumpkin purée, room temperature
1/2 cup Maple Hill Creamery 100% Grass-Fed Plain, Vanilla, or Maple kefir, room temperature
1/3-1/2 cup coconut sugar (more or less depending on preference for sweetness)
1/4 cup coconut oil (liquid) or neutral oil (avocado is best)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Raw pecans, for topping
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease or line a standard muffin pan with 9 muffin liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin spice, and salt.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, kefir, coconut sugar, oil, egg, and espresso powder. Mix until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix gently until just combined.
Spoon the muffin batter into the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle pecans over the batter in each muffin cup.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 minutes.
Allow muffins to cool in pan. Remove and store in an airtight container for up to one day, or in refrigerator for up to one week.