Monday, November 2, 2009

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

After roasting and freezing my pumpkins, I had one cup of leftover puree.  Muffins seemed to be on my mind, so I searched for a recipe, but just couldn't come up with a recipe that didn't contain a ton of sugar (Halloween is just over, the boys have had LOADS of extra sugar, I wasn't wanting to add more!)  I  looked for a healthy muffin, low in sugar, low in fat, with more than just white flour. (I go on ultra healthy binges every so often; it seems I don't always have to use butter after is where you ignore the butter, melting on the muffin, just warm, from the oven in the picture above, I have no idea how it ended up there, honest!) But, alas, nothing seemed to fit the ideas that were in my head so I ended up making up my own recipe.  I used honey, and not a lot of it, counting on the sweetness of the pumpkin and applesauce to lend a hand. I added some oatmeal to give it some fiber, and added the dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds for texture and flavour.  You could substitute raisins for the cranberries, I am sure they would be um, lovely.... (being as I have a few raisin issues, I rarely use them in my muffins!)   These turn out to be moist, barely sweet, with a nice spicy flavour, perfect for a rainy fall afternoon, with a hot cup of tea.

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins:

1 c unbleached all purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
½ cup  oats (quick, regular or large flake, anything but steel cut)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) plus ¼ cup to sprinkle on top
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger** (you can substitute dried ginger here, add 2 tsp to the dry ingredients instead)

Mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Stir in first amount of pumpkin seeds and the dried cranberries. Set aside.

Whisk together beaten eggs, oil, honey, milk pumpkin puree, applesauce, vanilla and ginger.  Add to dry ingredients and stir only to moisten.

Fill greased muffin tins (or use papers if you are lazy like I was today!) ¾ full, and top with remaining pumpkin seeds. I filled 20 muffin liners*, but my pans are small, if your pans are large, this would probably make on dozen nicely (increase cooking time to 25 min). 

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

*If you are left with empty spots in your muffin pan, and your pans are thin, like these ones of mine, you can put about ¼ cup of water in each empty spot to prevent your pan from warping, just be very careful not to spill or splash the water on you when removing them from the oven!  I have a nice heavy muffin tin but somehow seem to have left it at the trailer when we closed up for the season.  I use it in the barbeque there during the summer, driving our trailer neighbours crazy with the smell of fresh muffins in the mornings.  If they are lucky, they get leftovers, if my vultures haven’t polished off every last one that is!

**I keep a piece of ginger in my freezer all the time.  To use, do not thaw, just peel back the skin with a sharp knife, and use a kitchen rasp or fine grater to grate it.  Pop it back in the freezer til next time. Fresh ginger all the time! It works great!

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