Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

This is how my morning started:

Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.
And this is how it ended:

Thank goodness.

Because I'm weirdly obsessed with food, I couldn't sleep last night for all of the substitutions and details and anticipation of today's recipe.

It comes from a dear baking friend, Mrs. L. Mrs. L is pretty much the bomb when it comes to cookies and muffins, and she shared her recipes with me as a graduation present.

I have been itching to make something from her collection...but we've had plenty of desserts lately. "Okay, so muffins!"
I reiterate. We've had plenty of desserts lately.

So, there are lots of changes I made to the original recipe, some out of desire for health, some out of curiosity about a new ingredient, but I've included both recipes, because the full fat/sugar way is guaranteed delicious. Approved by Mrs. L.

Let's talk ingredients. Chia seeds. I've been freakishly intrigued by them. Each tablespoon offers up 60 calories: 3 g fat (most or all Omega 3s), 3 g protein, and 5 (yeah you read that right) g of fiber. It's crazy, right?

Plus, the omega 3s are available to your body without grinding the seeds.

They're the new superfood. But they have legit nutrients to back it up.

And here's another cool thing. Put liquid on them and they soak it up to make a gel. People make pudding out of it!

So these muffins use chia gel in place of the eggs in Mrs. L's recipe. 1 tablespoon of seeds plus 3 tablespoons of liquid makes the equivalent of a large egg. And since you can use any liquid, I chose orange juice (which also meant I got to decrease the amount of sugar, since OJ is sugary).

Let's get those Beta Carotenes!!
Wait. What kind of healthy person just invaded my fingers and made me type that??

Orange is a nice flavor to complement pumpkin...but honestly the citrus flavor wasn't super detectable with the amount I used. If you're into it, add some orange oil, extract, or zest. Or make an orange glaze with OJ and powdered sugar!

Anyway, these muffins tasted excellent! They were moist and bursting with pumpkin-y flavor. I didn't add cloves or holiday spices like that, since it's summer, but you could for a more seasonal muffin around the holidays.

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins
Yield: 18 muffins

1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar                       OR       1 1/2 cups (10.5 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz) vegetable oil                          OR       1 cup (8 oz) vegetable oil
     plus 1/4 cup+2 tablespoons
        (3 oz) greek yogurt
1/4 cup chia seeds                                       OR       4 eggs
     plus 3/4 cup orange juice, mix with a
        fork to gel
1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) all purpose flour             OR       3 cups (15 oz) all purpose flour
     plus 1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) white whole
         wheat (or whole wheat pastry) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg                                   OR       add 1/2 tsp ground ginger and ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
1 cup pecans, chopped (preferably toasted unless you burn them like I did...), plus 18 whole for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (toast nuts while it's preheating) and line your muffin tin with baking cups or parchment squares.
  2. Mix sugar, oil, and yogurt (if using). Add chia gel or eggs and mix to combine.
  3. Dump in flour(s), baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Fold to combine.
  4. Add pumpkin and pecans and mix again (if too thick, add up to 1/4 cup milk, or OJ if you're vegan).
  5. Spoon into muffin tins, top with a whole pecan each, and bake for 26 minutes (25 for original recipe), or until toothpick comes out clean.
Enjoy! And a big thank you to Mrs. L for sharing her wisdom and love of sweets :)

P.S. The ingredient list just looks long because I have a crazy plotting food brain. I promise, these muffins are a throw-it-in-one-bowl and bake affair.

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