Tropical Breakfast Muffins

Breakfast. Let’s talk about it.

I know that as someone who is mostly paleo, I should be eating dinner for breakfast. I should abandon the notion that breakfast food should look different than the foods we eat for the rest of our meals. We are, after all, the only species who does that. It’s silly. I know.

But I’m not always in the mood for dinner for breakfast. And guess what happens if nothing in the house looks appetizing and I have to run out? That’s right; I don’t eat. And then I get hungry, and can’t find anything acceptable to eat, and then before I know it, it’s migraine city. Bad news.

I love the idea of the Morning Glory muffin for those days that eggs and bacon isn’t happening, and leftover beef stew doesn’t sound quite right at 7am. When I started looking at recipes to get a basic idea of what went into this iconic breakfast muffin, it occurred to me that while I like the idea of it, I don’t actually like it. We have a strict no raisins in baked goods rule in this house, and there’s no way I’m posting a recipe that features apples in April. It’s pretty much the opposite of apple season. That ruled out two of the essential ingredients, so I was on to something else. I decided to go tropical, while keeping the carrots that go into a traditional Morning Glory muffin.

These muffins are barely sweet, and are loaded with good fats and protein, so they’ll keep you going. Just promise me you’ll eat a well balanced lunch.

tropical breakfast muffins

all of the ingredients

(almost) all of the ingredients

Tropical Breakfast Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins

1.5 cups almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
3 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, plus more for the tops, if desired
1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus more for the tops, if desired
1 tablespoon orange zest (about 1 small orange)
1/2 cup very ripe mashed banana
1/2 cup grated carrots (about 2 small carrots)
1/2 cup minced pineapple (fresh is best, canned is okay)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with parchment liners.
  2. Place the chopped pecans and coconut on a baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes, until just golden.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients; almond flour through pecans. Stir to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients; orange zest through maple syrup.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir to combine
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Top with additional coconut and pecans, if desired.
  7. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until they bounce back when you lightly push the top.
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating.

paleo tropical breakfast muffins

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tropical breakfast muffins


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    • We eat very little sugar too, which is why I’m okay with us eating a muffin that has a high fat content and 2 T of maple syrup in 12 muffins.

  1. There is a colossal amount of baking soda in that recipe. It is unlikely that it all gets neutralized by the acids that are included, and residual baking soda adversely affects the flavor of your baked goods. You might try scaling it back and seeing what happens. I modified one of Elena’s almond bread recipes, replacing the baking soda with baking powder. (Baking powder has 1/4 the leavening power of baking soda.) And the bread rose higher and came out a different color—yellow instead of greenish—and had a vastly superior flavor. I feel like a lot of the people posting gluten free baking recipes are making this mistake, so I’m trying to draw attention to it. Sometimes a bit of extra baking soda can help baked goods brown, but I don’t think you want tons of extra baking soda.

    I recently did an experiment to see how much vinegar it took to neutralize a teaspoon of baking soda. The answer was 5 tablespoons. (I added vinegar to baking soda until it stopped fizzing.) So if you include a teaspoon of baking soda you should have the equivalent of about 5 tablespoons of vinegar in there too. (If you don’t want to use baking powder because of the corn starch, then cream of tartar, which is found in grapes, seems like a reasonable option.)

    • 1 teaspoon is colossal? That sounds a bit dramatic, but I’ve just figured out baking as I’ve gone, I didn’t go to school for it. I use baking soda b/c baking powder has cornstarch, and have never had any interest in buying cream of tartar.

      But thanks for info!

      • Well, a teaspoon is somewhere between double and triple the amount I’d expect in a recipe this size. There are two separate issues here. One is putting in the right amount of baking soda and the other is ensuring enough acid to neutralize all the baking soda you put in. Baking powder is simpler because it includes the acid, so you don’t have to think so hard. Most ingredients are somewhat acidic, so a modest amount of baking soda may be neutralized by other ingredients you’ve used. But if you overdo the baking soda it’s going to get harder to neutralize it all. In this case you’ve got the pineapple to help do that job. You can use vinegar. You just need to include more of it—like 2-3 tablesponns instead of 1/2 tsp if you really want to use 1 tsp of baking soda. (Too much leavening can caused baked goods to rise and then collapse.) The disadvantage compared to cream of tartar is that it will probably react sooner and foam more in the bowl. But this is a workable approach.

      • hokay. I’m not sure why I would change the recipe if it turned out well, but I’ll keep the above in mind for my future baking adventures.

  2. The reason to tweak is that it might come out better! When I made Elena’s almond bread I made it first with the full amount of baking soda. And it seemed OK. It wasn’t obvious to me that there was something wrong. When I cut the soda and made a second loaf, though, the result was so much better. It was really clear when I had both breads to compare, but not when I just had the “bad” one.

    • The next time I bake something, I will keep that in mind. Honestly though, I don’t have time to go back and redo an entire recipe when the end result was really good and raved about by the people who tried it. Do you have a blog? It sounds like you’re more of an expert on grainfree baking than I am; I’m a chef, not a baker. If you don’t, you really should, so you can educate people how to do it better!

  3. These were delicious. Thanks for sharing. Love the fruit/vanilla/maple sweeteners. I’ve made these, the banana bread, and the chocolate cake…they’re all amazing. I think you might have to embrace the “baker” title soon, you’ve already earned it.

  4. These are absolutely fabulous!! Such an aray of flavor! From the toasted coconut to the pineapple. I used toasted macadamia nuts, and will definitely be my nut of choice for this fantastic recipe!! High five to u!! Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Oh I’m glad you loved them! Macadamia nuts is a great idea, I’ll definitely use them next time I make these. High Five back atcha!

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  6. These look amazing! I would love to make them but my daughter is allergic to pineapple. Can I omit that or do I have to find a substitute? I love love love everything you make!!

    • thanks Erin! You can definitely leave out the pineapple. You might want to add more banana to make up for the moisture. And of course with any change in recipe, I can’t predict how it will change the final outcome… Let me know how they turn out!

  7. Sorrryy to be annoying, but is there anything you can sub for arrowroot? I want these TONIGHT but I have only 1tsp arrowroot left…. Boohoo ;(
    I’m not strictly paleo so would potato starch work(or some old organic cornstarch I have hanging around -.-“)?

  8. Sorry, I guess I’m an outlier here but these were just “okay” in our household – not a big hit considering the extra effort to make these. I think I agree with another commenter that there may be a little too much baking soda giving it a slightly off taste. :\

  9. Hi Simone,
    Saw these muffins on your blog and had to invite my Mom over to make them with me :)
    My husband jumped into the kitchen while we were preping and in the chaos I forgot to add the coconut oil that was melting on the stove (oh no!) I have to say, they were really great, none the less! We stay away from sugar so making this recipe was a rare treat. We have been playing with some intermittent fasting so my husband was thrilled with the accidental lower calorie content-we didn’t miss the fat at all! I wanted to share this alternative for folks who might be doing the same. Love your cookbook Zenbelly, and your blog. Thanks so much for sharing your great work!

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