Pumpkin Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins

title, pumpkin muffins

I am so excited to finally share these Pumpkin Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins with you! Two years ago when I first tried The Best Pumpkin Muffins from the Post Punk Kitchen they became an instant favourite. I made them constantly all of that fall and winter. Last winter I was so busy trying new recipes, that I only revisited these a couple times, and never took any photos. Now its pumpkin season once again and I have fallen in love with these muffins all over again.

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Through the many times I’ve made them, The Best Pumpkin Muffins has slowly morphed into something healthier and a little different: my Pumpkin Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins. I use whole grain flours, a lot less sugar and oil (and healthier versions of both), more molasses and pumpkin, and the cranberries are never optional. While the PPK’s pumpkin muffins lived up to their name, I have to say that I enjoy them even more with the changes I’ve made. I hope you do too!

Pumpkin Cranberry Gingerbread Muffins (Yields 12 Muffins)
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup chickpea flour (besan)
¼ cup brown rice flour
½ cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp sea salt
1 ¼ cups pureed pumpkin
½ cup unsweetened nondairy milk or water
¼ cup molasses
⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans (optional)

Notes:
– Please don’t be scared away by the somewhat lengthy ingredient list; one third of it is spices. The recipe is really simple and comes together quickly.
– If you don’t have chickpea or brown rice flour, you can use all whole wheat but your muffins will be a little denser and you may need a little bit of extra milk or water.
– For a special treat, I highly recommend trying these with a ½ cup of vegan dark chocolate chips instead of the nuts. You won’t be disappointed!
– For some an extra pop of ginger, toss in a couple tablespoons of chopped crystallized ginger.

Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
In a smaller bowl whisk together the pumpkin, milk, oil, and molasses.
Stir the cranberries and nuts (if using) into the dry ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined.
Use a ¼ cup measuring scoop to scoop batter into a lined or lightly greased muffin tin.
Bake for 20-23 minutes.
Enjoy!

labels, pumpkin muffins

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In case you’re wondering, these muffins freeze amazingly well, though I usually have a hard  time having extras to put in the freezer.

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These little guys are so moist and flavourful they really don’t need anything else! (Though a little smear of Earth Balance probably wouldn’t hurt.) Yum!

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I’ve shared this post with Healthy Vegan Friday #70 and Wellness Weekends.

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Pumpkin Cornbread Waffles

Pumpkin Spice Waffles via Healthy Happy Life

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When asked the question, “Pancakes or waffles?” my answer is always WAFFLES! I absolutely love them so was obviously super excited to find this cute little waffle maker amongst my Christmas gifts this year (or last year I suppose, since it is now 2013 and I’m talking Christmas 2012).

I’ve seen a lot of huge waffle makers around lately and I’m sure they’re great but I do not have enough space for one of those gigantic flip ones. I really love how small this Cuisinart Waffle Maker is. Small enough to tuck away, but always there when I’m in need of waffles!

First up, I made these Pumpkin Spice Waffles from Healthy Happy Life! I’ve had my eye on Kathy’s waffle post for awhile. She also has recipes in the same post for Ginger Matcha Waffles and Apple Cinnamon Candied Ginger Waffles and they all look amazing!

Collage, Pumpkin Waffles

I followed Kathy’s recipe, except that I left out the matcha powder (on purpose) and the lemon juice (by accident). I wasn’t sure how I felt about matcha in pumpkin spice waffles and didn’t want to waste it when I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to taste it. I actually just realized while looking at the recipe that I left out the lemon juice, but my waffles turned out great without it.

I topped my waffles with a little Earth Balance and some Instant Cranberry Sauce I made while the waffles were cooking. So good!

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I sure have missed waffles! Now my only problem is deciding what kind to try next.

Questions:
Pancakes or waffles?

Do you have any great vegan waffle recipes I should put on my to-try list?

Cranberry Orange Cardamom Muffins

Title, Cranberry Orange Cardamom Muffins

If you haven’t noticed already, I have been going a little crazy for cranberries lately. Cranberries turn up in my muffins and other quick breads quite often. Their sweet-tart flavour makes a great main attraction when paired with a little lemon or nuts, and I love the contrast they give in spiced pumpkin muffins.

But this time I wanted something a little different. Enter, the organic pure orange extract I just bought. Perfect! Cranberry and orange goes great together! But I still wanted something else to contrast the sweet-tart pairing of cranberries and oranges. Normally cinnamon would be the first thing I’d reach for. I find it very difficult to not add cinnamon to every single thing I bake. But then I remembered the little packet of ground cardamom I had hiding in my spice cupboard. Sold!

In need of a fall/winter muffin that is simple without being boring? Maybe a bit special? Try these! Both the orange and cardamom flavours are subtle compared to the bold bursts of sweet-tart cranberries, but they are definitely detectable and the combination is so good!

Cranberry Orange Cardamom Muffins (Yields 12 muffins)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/3 cup agave or maple syrup
1 tsp pure orange extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Notes:
These muffins have subtle orange and cardamom flavours. For bolder flavours, try adding the zest of one orange or doubling the amount of ground cardamom.

Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly grease a muffin tin. In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and cardamom. Set aside. In a small bowl mix together the wet ingredients: milk, syrup, orange extract, oil, and applesauce. Measure out the cranberries so they are ready when you are.

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Pour the liquid ingredients into the large bowl containing the dry ingredients. Stir until about half-way combined. Add in the cranberries and gently fold in, until everything is just combined. Divide batter into a 12-cup muffin tin.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

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Nutritional Info (per muffin, using unsweetened soy milk and agave syrup): 230 calories, 7.2 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 249 mg sodium, 36 mg potassium, 39.4 g carbs, 5.3 g fibre, 13.6 g sugars, 4.2 g protein, 1% Vitamin A, 17% Vitamin C, 5% calcium, 7% iron.

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Ginger Snap Oatmeal with Instant Cranberry Sauce

I have another oatmeal recipe for you and this one tastes like a ginger snap! It’s full of spicy ginger, warming nutmeg and cloves, and that distinctive molasses flavour. This oatmeal is great on its own, or even better topped with my Instant Cranberry Sauce. The sweet tartness of the cranberries pairs beautifully with the flavours of the oatmeal. Perfect for a cool fall or winter morning!

Ginger Snap Oatmeal
2 cups water
1/2 cup pumpkin puree or unsweetened applesauce
1 cup rolled oats
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp ground flax
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp molasses
1/3 cup slivered almonds
2 tbsp Sucanat, coconut sugar, or cane sugar (optional)

On the stove, bring water to a boil in a pot. Stir in all of the other ingredients, except for the molasses, almonds, and sugar (if using). Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until oats are cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat. Stir molasses, almonds, and sugar (if using) into the oatmeal. Serve topped with Instant Cranberry Sauce. Enjoy!

Instant Cranberry Sauce (Yields 1 cup)
2 cups frozen cranberries
2 tbsp maple syrup

Place frozen berries in a microwave-safe dish (I use a liquid measuring cup). Defrost berries in a microwave, about 90 seconds, until berries squish when pressed. Stir cranberries with a fork until at least half of them are broken and have released their liquid. Stir in maple syrup.

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Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart

Vegan MoFo 2012 Post #7

In my Thanksgiving post on Sunday I mentioned that I was making a Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart as my contribution to our family dinner’s dessert. I couldn’t have been happier with the way it turned out. This is a super rich dessert: perfect for a special occasion when there are lots of people to share it with. The combination of a nutty crumbly crust, creamy dark chocolate ganache, and tart cranberry sauce makes this a dessert worth savouring, sharing, and remembering!

The inspiration for this dessert came from this Fresh Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart. This tart from Sweet Sugar Beanis not a vegan recipe, but I really liked the idea of pairing dark chocolate ganache with fresh berries, so I added it to my inspiration pile when I came across it this summer. I’ve also been experimenting with making small batches of berry sauces using chia seeds as a binder and I knew if made thicker, this could work great as the fruit part of the tart.

As soon as I started seeing fresh cranberries in our local grocery store, the idea for this Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart came together. While this would probably work equally well with any other berry, using cranberries makes this a perfect seasonal fall and winter dessert: perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Plus I have a major soft spot for all things cranberry!

Please don’t be intimidated by the three different things you need to make for this recipe. Each one has 5 ingredients or less, is simple and quick to make. Plus all three can be made ahead of time, so there is no need to feel rushed. I made the crust one day, the cranberry sauce the next, and then made the chocolate ganache and assembled the tart the morning before our Thanksgiving dinner.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart (makes 1 10-inch pie)

No-Bake Date Nut Crust
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup sliced almonds
6 tsp ground chia seeds
15 dates (3/4-1 cup), pitted
1/4 tsp salt

Place pecans and almonds in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add the ground chia, dates, and salt and process until thoroughly combined. The mixture should start clumping together. Press mixture into a lightly greased 9 or 10 inch pie or tart pan. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble tart.

Cranberry Sauce
3 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp organic maple syrup
3 tbsp ground chia seeds*
*If you can’t find ground chia seeds, whole chia seeds can be ground up in a coffee or spice grinder.

Combine all ingredients in a pot or saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times. You want at least half of the cranberries to pop, but not all of them. Remove from heat, stir well, and let cool until ready to assemble tart.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
3 cups roughly chopped vegan dark chocolate*
1 15 ounce can light coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
*I used 2 1/2 cups 72% chocolate and 1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate, but feel free to choose your percentage according to how dark you like your chocolate. While I personally would have used darker chocolate if making this just for myself, I had to keep the tastes of my family in mind. Also remember that the darker the chocolate, the less sweet your tart will be. 

Place chopped chocolate in a large heat-safe bowl. In a pot, bring coconut milk to a boil, remove from heat, and pour over top of the chopped chocolate. Let this sit for 5 minutes, then add vanilla and stir for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and glossy. Immediately pour chocolate into prepared crust. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, until chocolate is cooled and no longer liquid.

Once chocolate is cooled and set, spread the cranberry sauce evenly over the top. Keep in the refrigerator until serving. The tart will be difficult to cut if the chocolate warms up. Enjoy!

How do you like the photo collages? I made them through PicMonkey. Fast, easy, free photo collages and editing, with tonnes of options!

This post has been submitted to this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Healthy Vegan Friday #46. Perhaps its a little more than ‘slightly’ indulgent, but certainly a lot healthier than it could be!

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