Recipe: Sunny Citrus Muffins with Lemon Icing (sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free)


wpid-img_20150327_205527.jpgI was feeling fancy this week, so decided to make iced muffins. I usually skip icing and frosting because they tend to be loaded with sugar. Plus, I’m a bit lazy! But I’ve been wondering lately if sugar substitutes could create the satisfying, crunchy-but-melty texture of a good icing. My curiosity finally won out over my laziness, and I started experimenting.

It turns out they can! The natural sweeteners  xylitol and erythritol both work well in this recipe, with the main difference being that erythritol is slightly less sweet. To make the sweetener blend more easily with the other icing ingredients, I used powdered (rather than granulated) versions. These can be hard to find in a store or online, but you can make your own powdered xylitol or powdered erythritol by running the granulated version in a blender or coffee grinder until it’s the right consistency.

(And if you’re not avoiding sugar, powdered sugar works just as well.)


  • measuring cups and spoons
  • mixing bowls
  • mixing spoons or electric mixer
  • muffin tin with 12 2½-inch cups
  • cooling rack


For muffins:

  • 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes, skins removed
  • 1 cup unsweetened pear sauce (or applesauce)
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice (or other citrus juice)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 Tablespoons psyllium husks
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
  • ¾ cup chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract

For icing:


For muffins:

  1. Mix together the sweet potatoes, applesauce, lime juice, eggs, oil, psyllium and ground flax seeds.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the muffin ingredients.
  3. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Batter should be somewhat lumpy.
  4. Spoon into lined or oiled muffin tin.
  5. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean and the top of a muffin springs back when you poke it. Let cool completely before serving or icing.


For icing:

  1. In a stainless steel measuring cup, warm butter on your stove’s lowest heat setting until melted.
  2. Mix in the sweetener and lemon juice until smooth — about a minute.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to desired consistency. Drizzle on top of muffins. (If you drizzle while the icing is still warm and thin, a bit of it will soak into the top of the muffin, which produces a nice flavor. That’s what I did in the photographed muffins. If you drizzle when the icing is a bit thicker, you’ll have better control and can create designs like stripes or circles.)
  4. Store leftover icing in the fridge for up to 1 month.


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