Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pumpkin Everything!

It's that time again when the blog world is flooded with pumpkin posts, and I'm not going to try to be different. Let's go with the flow. Pumpkin everything! Well... I actually used golden hubbard squash for these muffins.  Golden Hubbard Squash everything! No. That doesn't have the same ring to it. Pumpkin everything!

I first came across the golden hubbard squash at the advice of a friend and colleague, whose mom used to make pumpkin pie with hubbard squash because it simply was sweeter and more flavourful than a regular pumpkin. And I can't disagree. Regular pumpkin is perfect for soups and stews, but when I'm baking, the golden hubbard or golden nugget squash is hard to beat.

These muffins are very quick to make, provided that you already have your squash roasted and pureed. In pinch, go ahead and used canned pumpkin puree, but I urge you to give the golden hubbard squash a try, just once this season. You won't be disappointed. A large handful of dried cranberries add a nice burst of tangy flavour. I used fresh Ontario cranberries from the farmer's market when I made these the first time, and they were also lovely. Chopped fresh apple would be a great addition as well. But what makes these muffins special is the pumpkin seed butter. It lends a rich, nutty, hearty flavour to the muffins and combined with the spelt flour and ground flax seeds, you have a protein-packed, energy-filled snack to look forward to in the middle of your day.

The original recipe called for peanut butter which I'm sure is delicious as well, but while I'm a definite peanut butter addict, I would strongly recommend making that trip to the health food store to pick up pumpkin seed butter. The flavour is just too unique to substitute. And despite being vegan, these muffins baked up light and fluffy and held together perfectly.

It's a chilly day out there today which is making me believe all the rumors about winter arriving early. Bake up a batch of these muffins and they will definitely warm up your day.

Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
adapted from Crazy for Crust
makes 12 medium-sized muffins

2/3 cup of pureed squash

1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of ground flax + 3 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup of pumpkin seed butter
2 tablespoons of soy milk + 1/2 teaspoon of cider vinegar
1 cup of spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of dried cranberries

1. In a large bowl, combine the squash, sugar, flax, water, pumpkin seed butter, soy milk and vinegar. Stir well to combined.

2. Sift in the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Gently mix until just combined. Stir in the dried cranberries.

3. Spoon the mixture (it will be very thick) into lined muffin tins and bake in at 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

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