Fig Love: Coconut Rum Raisin Free-Form Muffins

Sometimes a mistake turns out better than it would have if things went exactly as you originally planned. A point I always make to my quilting students.

Breaking Free was one such quilt. I was fusing down stylized fabric pine cone scales when one decided to fuse itself to the iron rather than the quilt top.

Rather than force it back into its proper place, I let it break free, and fused it flying up and away, dancing on an invisible breeze. While the quilt would have been nice enough the way I had designed, it turned out way more interesting as a result of my mistake. (Click here to find out more about Breaking Free.)

Of course, fixing culinary mistakes can be an entirely different matter. It’s not so simple to solve too much Sriracha in the spaghetti sauce, or burnt black cookies. Luckily every once in awhile a kitchen mishap turns out to be serendipitious genius.

Whipping up a batch of grain-free scones one day, I forgot to add butter. I couldn’t very well scrape them off the pan back into the bowl to add the missing butter since I’d already mixed in the wet ingredients. So I decided to just go with it sans butter.

The result was amazing! Looked like a scone, except soft and cakey like a muffin. A lot like a muffin top. Yum! A few strategic tweaks, and voilà, the Coconut Rum Raisin Free-Form Muffin was born!

If you like your treats to have a more controlled shape, try baking them in a whoopie pie pan, a donut pan, or even simply a regular muffin pan. Baking times may need to be adjusted with different sizes and shapes.

Fig Love

A secret ingredient, puréed rum-soaked dried figs, makes these free-form muffins moist, flavorful, and sweet. The perfect complement to coconut and rum raisins.

Dried figs taste like pears and honey. They are a fabulous healthy, whole foods sweetener. A good source of dietary fiber and minerals. If you’ve never baked with dried figs before, you’re in for a real treat! Sweet like dates, but with a less assertive flavor.

Look for unsulfured dried figs. Sulfur dioxide can trigger symptoms for those with asthma. It can also cause stomach cramps and migraine headaches in sensitive people. This effect may seem more pronounced if you’ve been eating “clean” for awhile (clean = whole, unprocessed foods) and your diet has been free of aggravating chemicals and foods.

Without preservatives, dried figs and other fruit will be brown or even black. That’s perfectly fine and natural. Some dried fruit has sugar, artificial color, and even artificial flavor added. Avoid those as well. In case you’re wondering, organic dried fruit is always free from sulfur dioxide and most other additives, although sometimes organic dried fruit will contain added sugar or honey.

Unsulfured dried fruit is also drier than sulfured dried fruit. Having no preservatives, it needs to be completely free from moisture to keep it from spoiling. This is actually a benefit for baking, because being drier, it can soak up more flavorful liquid of your choice, adding delicious dimension to your dish.

Some figs are best suited for drying and others for eating fresh. Varieties with a high natural sugar content make flavorful, sweet dried figs. My favorite dried fig for baking and snacking is called Calimyrna when it’s grown in California and Smyrna when it comes from Turkey.

To make a purée for baking, chop off the stems, cut the dried figs in half, and soak them in the liquid of your choice until soft. I used rum for these free-form muffins. Fresh-squeezed orange juice is another flavorful option. Purée the figs and as much soaking liquid as desired or necessary in a blender, then add to the other wet ingredients. Like prune purée or mashed ripe bananas, dried fig purée is a versatile baking ingredient that adds natural sweetness and a nutritious boost.

Note: without preservatives, unsulfered dried fruit has a shorter shelf life than standard sulfered dried fruit. If you’re unable to finish them in a timely manner, you should store them in the freezer, especially when it’s humid. Let them come to room temperature before using in a recipe.

Coconut Rum Raisin Free-Form Muffins

Coconut Rum Raisin Free-Form Muffins


  • 142 grams (5 ounces/about 12) dried organic/unsulfured Calimyrna/Smyrna figs
  • 80 grams (1/2 cup) organic/unsulfured raisins
  • 1/2 cup gold rum
  • 84 grams (3/4 cup) sifted coconut flour
  • 45 grams (1/4 cup lightly packed) coconut sugar
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) unsweetened macaroon coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 5 large organic free-range eggs, divided
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 64 grams (2 tablespoons) almond butter, unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • extra macaroon coconut for sprinkling on top


  1. Chop the stems off the dried figs, then cut the dried figs in half. Soak the dried figs and raisins in the rum for 1 hour.
  2. While the fruit is soaking, prepare the dry ingredients.
  3. Sift the coconut flour into a measuring cup or container for weighing. Use the flat side of a knife to gently level off the excess coconut flour even with the top of the measuring cup.
  4. NOTE: Coconut flour can get clumpy and compacted, making it difficult to measure accurately. Sifting will not only give coconut flour a good light consistency, it can help you get a more accurate measurement if you don't have a digital kitchen scale.
  5. Put the sifted coconut flour into a large bowl with the coconut sugar and sea salt.
  6. Coconut sugar is another tricky ingredient to measure accurately. If you don't have a scale, lightly pack the coconut sugar into the measuring cup like you would do with brown sugar. Stir to combine.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Crack open the eggs and set aside one yolk.
  9. When the hour is up, strain out and separate the raisins from the figs and rum.
  10. Place the figs and rum into a blender jar and blend. It may get thick and not completed puréed depending on your blender, but the eggs and applesauce to be added next will provide enough liquid to finish the job.
  11. Add the 4 eggs, extra egg white, applesauce, almond butter, and vanilla to the blender jar. Blend a minute or so more until smooth and mixed thoroughly. With a high-power blender, one minute is sufficient to blend the ingredients and incorporate some air into the batter. If you are using a regular blender, it may need a bit more time.
  12. Pour mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. The batter will be quite wet at first, but as your stir, the coconut flour will start to absorb some of the excess moisture. As it sits, more moisture will be absorbed, but it will remain a little more moist than regular muffin batter.
  13. Stir the rum-soaked raisins into the batter.
  14. Drop about 1/4 cup of batter at a time onto the prepared baking sheet to make 12 free-form muffins.
  15. Add the tablespoon of water to the remaining egg yolk and whisk to make a smooth egg wash for the tops of the muffins.
  16. Brush the egg wash onto the tops of the muffins and sprinkle with extra macaroon coconut.
  17. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. Set on a wire rack to cool.

You can serve Coconut Rum Raisin Free-Form Muffins fresh from the oven, but they’re even more flavorful the next day.

Many gluten-free baked goods seem to dry out almost immediately, but these free-form muffins stay moist for days. Probably even longer, but I can never seem to keep them around long enough to find out!

I store these muffins in the refrigerator and they always seem downright damp when I take them out, but that effect disappears when I let them set out and reach room temperature before serving, or warm them up in the oven.

A little bit of the Caribbean, from me to you.

To find out more about why figs are healthy, visit The World’s Healthiest Foods: Figs
For more fig recipes, visit The Spicy RD’s #figlove Blog Hop

What secret ingredients do you like to cook or bake with?

(This recipe was shared at: Gluten-Free Monday, Keep It Real Thursday, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Allergy Friendly Friday, Fill Those Jars Friday, Gluten-Free Friday, Fig Love Blog Hop, Eat Make Grow )

6 thoughts on “Fig Love: Coconut Rum Raisin Free-Form Muffins

  1. Do these taste anything like fig newtons? I’d love to find a gluten free alternative to those tasty treats! Thanks for this great recipe. I’m pinning it. If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to visit my weeklyGluten-Free Monday party at and link up any GF idea you would like to share. I hope to see you there.

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