It’s that time of year again, when food bloggers’ fancies turn to thoughts of pumpkin. And why not? Pumpkins are everywhere in October. At the grocery store, farmer’s markets, farm stands and local harvest festivals…you just can’t get away from them.
Winter squashes in general are also warming. I don’t know about you, but I associate pumpkin with comforting spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The smell brings to mind the scent of fallen leaves on a warm day, that dusky fall smell that clings to everything from September until the first snow.
The basis for these muffins come from a recipe for Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries in Robin Robertson’s ever-helpful 1,000 Vegan Recipes. Much as I adore her books, the breads and muffins always have too much oil and sugar in them for me. In fact, that’s the case with most bread-type recipes I’ve found, and even with otherwise good-quality vegan muffins from stores and bakeries.
I’ve seen a lot of “healthy” or “healthier” muffin recipes that attempt to rectify this by replacing some of the oil or reducing the sugar a little. I like to take that a few steps farther. Now, I know some people enjoy a sweeter muffin, but I don’t like overly sweet baked goods, especially in the morning. Also, putting oil in bready things never made sense to me. I find that it gives the finished product an unpleasant pasty texture that sits heavy in my stomach.
These muffins have no oil at all and only a small amount of maple syrup for sweetness. There are healthy fats from a generous dose of chopped walnuts as well as a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. Plus I swapped out the all purpose flour in the original recipe for a mix of whole wheat pastry and white whole wheat flours, which results in a nice light muffin with a pleasing crumb. All in all, I like to think they’re about as healthy as a baked good can get without tasting like, well…health food.
You can make 12 regular-sized muffins or 6 big muffins from this recipe. I prefer the big ones for breakfast and snacks. They’re filling, portable and very, very tasty!
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup canned organic pumpkin
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ⅓ cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp ginger powder
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ cup + 2Tbsp chopped walnuts
- 2Tbsp. raw hulled pumpkin seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 6- or 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate smaller bowl, combine the canned pumpkin, maple syrup, applesauce, almond milk, vanilla and spices. Mix well.
- Carefully pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just combined. Fold in the walnuts.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with about 1tsp. of pumpkin seeds and a bit more cinnamon, if desired.
- Bake large muffins for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For smaller muffins, start checking for doneness after 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and set the tin on a wire rack to cool for a bit. Remove the muffins from the tin and cool completely on the rack. Store in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container.