Grab your canned pumpkin and start the fall baking season with these tender spiced pumpkin muffins, studded with fresh cranberries, golden raisins, walnuts, and plenty of spice.
Have you noticed the arrival of canned pumpkins on the grocery store shelves this month? Those orange cans that show up in October, stacked perilously high at the ends of grocery store aisles, signaling the start of the fall baking season?
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Now, What to Do With All That Pumpkin?
Honestly, it’s difficult for me to muster enthusiasm for baking pumpkin pie, so I leave that to the local bakeries. There are other more delicious and creative things to cook with canned pumpkin — scones and soup and my favorite spiced pumpkin muffins.
This pumpkin muffin recipe is inspired by the flavors of the amazing Pumpkin Cranberry Scone in one of my favorite cookbooks, “Once Upon a Tart” (sadly, out of print).
Yes, I know, there are thousands of pumpkin recipes on the internet, competing for your puree. Hundreds of variations on bread, bread pudding, or pie. But so many are weird. This muffin recipe, however — studded with fresh cranberries, golden raisins, walnuts, and plenty of spice — is wholesome and delicious. The tartness of the cranberries contrasts with the sweet punch of the golden raisins and the earthy crunch of the walnuts. And they all play well together surrounded by cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove.
Pumpkin, Cranberries and Walnuts Are Good for You, Too
While the main ingredients of these muffins are, flour, sugar and butter, you can feel good about the rest of the list. Pumpkins, cranberries and walnuts are nutrient-rich. (I’m working on a new gluten-free version and a lower-fat version.)
Pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients.
It is one of the best sources of beta-carotene, an antioxidant with several health benefits. According to the USDA, 1 cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin, without salt, contains only 49 calories, zero cholesterol and 1.76 g of protein and 2.7 g of fiber.
Cranberries are antioxidant rock stars.
In addition to being a great source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese, cranberries contain phytonutrients — including proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins; flavanols like catechins and epicatechins; flavonols like isorhamnetin, kaempferol, myricetin, and quercetin; and terpenoids like ursolic acid.
The best way to take advantage of cranberries’ health benefits is to eat them raw (they keep their nutrients for 6 months to a year when frozen).
If you like dried cranberries in your snacks, salads or on your cheese platter, look for dried cranberries that are unsweetened (most have added sugar). The extra sugar cancels out any nutritional benefit you might gain. For example, 100 grams of fresh cranberries contain 10-15 milligrams of vitamin C, compared to 1 milligram found in dried, sweetened cranberries.
Walnuts are an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals.
These include copper, folic acid, phosphorus, vitamin B6, manganese, and vitamin E. While most calories come from fat, walnuts are richer than most other nuts in polyunsaturated fats. They also contain a relatively high percentage of the healthy omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
While I can’t pretend these muffins are low-calorie, they have healthy ingredients and taste amazing. Try out the recipe — believe it or not, make the batter in a saucepan, starting with melting the butter. I love this technique!Print
Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Tender pumpkin muffins studded with fresh cranberries, golden raisins, walnuts and plenty of spice.
1/2 c. Butter, unsalted (1 stick or 8 T.)
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Dark brown sugar
1 c. Pumpkin puree (canned), preferably organic
1 t. Vanilla
1 c. Whole Wheat Flour * Substitute your favorite 1 for 1 gluten-free flour blend
1 c. All Purpose Flour * Substitute your favorite 1 for 1 gluten-free flour blend
1 1/2 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Ground Ginger
1/2 t. Nutmeg
1/4 t. Ground cloves
1/2 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Kosher Salt
1/3 c. Golden Raisins
1/2 c. Chopped fresh cranberries (thawed and patted dry if frozen)
1/2 c. Walnuts, coarsely chopped
Sparkling sugar or turbinado sugar for topping, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners (or grease with butter or PAM spray)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, whole wheat flour, spices and salt. Set aside.
- In a 2-qt. saucepan, melt the butter on low. Turn off the heat and add the sugar and brown sugar. Stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Cool slightly so the eggs don’t curdle when you add them to hot sugar.
- Add the two eggs and vanilla. Stir to incorporate.
- Add pumpkin puree and raisins, stir until pumpkin is completely mixed in.
- Add the flour mixture. Stir only until traces of flour disappear.
- Stir in the chopped walnuts and cranberries.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin; batter will reach the tops of each cup.
- Top each muffin with ½ t. of sparkling sugar or turbinado sugar, if desired.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool and enjoy!
Keywords: spiced pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cranberry muffins, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cranberry muffins recipe
Please note: Nutrition facts and calories per serving are approximate.
© Photos / Health Food Radar
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