Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins and Happy New Year!

Happy 2023! I hope you welcomed in the new year with loved ones and that sweet spot of hedonism - celebratory but not sleepless, hungover, or puffy. (Increasingly elusive as the years pass...)

My New Year's Eve (aka "My Birthday") was mostly fantastic: filled with food, kicked off with a decadent, boozy brunch with five of the best women friends a person could ask for, culminated at a perfectly chaotic family-friendly fondue party with neighbors, and sandwiched in between - lest we otherwise starve! - my little family enjoyed its "last pizza of 2022" at Pizzeria Lola. Unfortunately, we concluded the night with an anaphylaxis-induced ER visit. Everyone is okay! My middle child has a severe peanut allergy, however, and is sixteen months in to the miracle that is oral immunotherapy. For the most part, it's been smooth sailing and we take it for granted that he can handle his daily dose of two peanuts. There are many rules though - for good reason, we've been reminded! - and on a festive fondue-infused child-centered party-hopping night, strict compliance went the way of last year's resolutions. We messed up, and it mattered. He had his first v. scary, serious peanut reaction ever, and epinephrine is a medical marvel, and he's fine. THANK. GOD.

And now I'm doing the Whole 30 again and craving one of these pumpkin muffins. It's snowing cats and dogs out there; this winter is drowning us. I don't recall a whiter December in the twenty-and-change since I moved here. My nerves are still wobbly after the peanut incident plus a few other close calls of late (a 2.5-hour icy highway journey from St. Cloud to Minneapolis, a slip-and-fall involving hundred-year-old stairs and a cast iron radiator with evidently lacerative edges). So, as the inches accumulate on our roads, I worry about school buses in ditches. The drivers in Minneapolis are top notch, but still. A chai tea latte and a pumpkin muffin might be cozy on a dreary day like the one we're braving.

I am staying the W30 course though because my body needs it. There will still be sugar in February. In the meantime, perhaps you will enjoy a pumpkin muffin yourself. And perhaps it will alleviate any panic tendencies to which you are prone. In which case, I'm sorry and you're welcome. xo



A word on the recipe: these really are my favorite muffins from one of my favorite oldie-but-goodie cookbooks and I probably make these more often than any other baked good. You will love them. In the pictures some of them are topped with Trader Joe's pumpkin-spiced pumpkin seeds (seasonal - crazy good).

The Best (Vegan) Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance
Yield: 18 muffins (or 12 muffins + small loaf)

2 2/3 cups all-purpose or pastry flour (400 grams by weight - I sometimes do half whole wheat flour here)
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie or baking spice
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
14-oz can of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup soy milk (or any milk)
3/4 cup neutral oil
3 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional but highly recommended)

Preheat oven to 400. Generously grease twelve-muffin tin and a small loaf pan if you've got one.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. In a separate large bowl, stir together pumpkin, soy milk, oil, molasses, and both sugars, until thoroughly combined. Add dry ingredients, one cup at a time, into wet and mix until there are no more rogue patches of flour.

Fill muffin cups two-thirds full. Put the remaining batter in the loaf pan (or another muffin pan, or the same muffin pan after you're done with the first batch). Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean. For loaf, test at around 30-35 minutes.

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