QUICK, EASY, VEGAN! Part 1 - May I present you with the best vegan muffins I have EVER made? Now, please don't take my word for it, but instead ask the man and the boy in my life, our neighbours, their children, plus the guys at BBC World Service. See they ALL gulped these muffins down like there was no tomorrow and begged me to make more! I made 48 in total in the space of a week, insane isn't it?! But it kinda worked for me cuz I hade A LOT of Halloween pumpkin left-overs to use up ;). Know what I'm sayin'!!!
Anyway, I feel this muffin recipe will work really well for those of you celebrating Thanksgiving - as a sort of Thanksgiving breakfast treat kinda thing - as well as those of you who just dig pumpkins, full stop. Once baked, these muffins can be eaten on the spot or frozen to be enjoyed throughout the weeks to come. Whatever works for you!
Before I leave you with today's recipe, just to say, I'm plotting big time behind the scenes here (including sorting out the logistics for my 2018 Madrid Food Photography and Food Styling Workshop) and won't have so much time to put long visual story boards together for the blog. Sorry :(. Instead I'll be running the QUICK, EASY, VEGAN! series until the end of the year where I share a quick, easy, vegan recipe in a quick, short-ish blog posts like this one. Hope that sounds good. Got to run guys, but thank you so much for stopping by. See you all next week.
VEGAN PUMPKIN MUFFINS WITH CHAI SPICES
Please read the recipe from beginning to end before you start baking. Please also read my suggestions for alternative ingredients and tips below. Then, bake and enjoy!
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Baking time: 25 minutes
Makes: 12 muffins
Approx. 300g uncooked/raw peeled and de-seeded pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato
125g coconut oil, gently heated up to soften + extra for greasing
2tbs ground flax seeds + 6tbs of (filtered) water
225ml plant-based milk (I used almond milk)
300g plain flour
220g brown sugar
2tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground cardamom + a pinch of black pepper + 1/2 tsp ground ginger + a pinch of ground nutmeg
12 pitted frozen or fresh sweet cherries
For the icing (optional)
1/3 cup icing sugar
1tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 dash of turmeric for colour
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180FAN/400F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with coconut oil and set aside.
Weigh the peeled and de-seeded pumpkin, cut into little squares (the size of dice), place in a pan with water and boil until the flesh is soft and you can stick a fork through with ease.
As the pumpkin is cooking prepare all the wet ingredients; mix together the ground flax seeds and water in a little bowl, and set aside. Gently warm up the coconut oil and set aside. Next measure out the milk and place in a large deep bowl.
Then prepare the dry ingredients. In a large deep bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices. Set aside.
Once the pumpkin is cooked through, discard all the water and puree the pumpkin wih a fork or potato masher, until smooth. There shouldn't be any lumpy bits! You only need 220g of the pumkin puree for the recipe (any left over puree can be eaten on the spot ;)). Then place the pumpkin puree in the large bowl with the milk, add the ground flax seed mixture as well as the melted coconut oil and mix with a hand whisk until combined. Now pour this mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined (don't overmix please) and pour into the prepared muffin tin. Spread evenly. Before popping this into the oven, grab your 12 cherries and stick one cherry into the centre of each muffin. Push the cherry down until it's covered by the muffin mixture (don't fret if the top of the cherry peeks out!) and put the muffin tray in the oven immediately. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on the top.
As the muffins are baking, feel free to prepare the icing if using by combining all the ingredients and mixing well.
Let the muffins cool for a good 15 minutes before icing them, then enjoy!
Tip 1: It's pretty tricky to get ahold of pumpkin puree here in the UK and I'm used to making my own. But feel free to use the pre-made stuff if you like. It will cut a good 15 minutes off your preparation time, but watch that you get the unsweetened and unsalted kind please ;)!
Tip 2: You can use any pumpkin variety you like!
Tip 3: To keep this nut-free, consider using a coconut, soya or seed milk
Tip 4: Truth be told I used Mira Manek's chai masala spices for this recipe which she kindly gifted me a few weeks ago (I'm OBSESSED with it). You can make a little jar of it yourself - and use 2 teaspoons instead of the spices noted in the recipe - by mixing 3 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground cardamom, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 1/4teaspoon ground nutmeg and a pinch of ground clove.
Tip 5: The cherries really 'make' the recipe. I used frozen ones (these to be precise) but fresh should work well too (though they aren't in season here which is why I went for frozen). The cherries are naturally sweet, tart and juicy and just add so much moisture to the recipe. But I'm wondering if frozen blueberries or raspberries would work well too or even a small piece of pear. If you try these other options, do please let me know how you get on.
Tip 6: A note on the topping - I made 2 batches with streusel, but I felt it was overkill, which is why I didn't share the streusel bit here.
I only added the icing for the yellow colour, but actually it's rather lovely as the muffins aren't too sweet. However they'll still taste great without the icing so only make the icing if you want to.