You didn’t seriously think I could post an epic ton of pumpkin recipes and not talk about muffins did you? Whatdaya take me for, some kind of anti-muffin fanatic? They’re like the first thing people think of when it comes to that big ol’ orange squash, ok other than pie, but I’ve already done that. I’ve had, and have made my fair share of rubbery/hockey puck-esque muffins over the years, especially back in my totally new to being vegan days, when I thought using absolutely no-oil was just a vegan thing. Little did I know I had it all wrong. Um, I think it’s fair to say I’ve come a long way. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still all over eating my no-oil, sugar-free, kale-filled, sprouted bowl of hippiness, but you best not be messing with my muffins. I like to think of them as itty bitty icing-less cakes and yes I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that what cupcakes are? No. Just. No. Cupcakes have icing, muffins don’t. It’s a clear distinction! Google may not be able to get it together but I’ve got it all figured out 😉
When I think of pumpkin muffins, I can’t help but get inspiration from the coffee overlords. Back in the day I used to eat the hell out of those muffins, with all their creamy tangy filling and crunchy sprinkling of seeds; along with some fancy ass dairy-filled latte, I was set for the morning. Then I discovered that being broke because I spent all my money on lattes kind of sucked, oh, and of course now there’s the dairy issue, so it didn’t take long before that habit when out the window. Besides, nowadays lattes are no match for my good old reliable morning cup of joe.
After taking on their breakfast wrap, I like to think that anything Starbucks comes up with, I can make a vegan version. Now whether it turns out any good is another matter, I can talk the talk but sometimes my food ends up looking like sadness with a pinch of desperation, but hey, I’ll give it the old college try! And saying that, I can tell you that the first attempt at these were not so hot, well they were 70% good with the remaining 30% looking like some weird alien-like blob exploded all over the tops of my muffins. Instead of sticking with the ‘peek-a-boo cream cheese’ thing Starbucks has got going on, I resorted to the ‘surprise! There’s cream cheese all up in this thing!’ method. Worked like a charm. Plus now when you’re expecting to get a mouthful of muffin, it’s all BAM cream cheese, well unless you made them, I’m reeeally hoping you wouldn’t be surprised by something you made yourself….
If you like a tender fluffy muffin, this is where it’s at. The cream cheese adds a nice little tasty tanginess to the sweet pumpkin casing. To get muffins to rise really high, I like to bake them at a higher temperature for the first few minute and then turn it down to a lower temperature for the remaining cooking time. It’s one of the tricks I’ve learned since getting into baking and it works really well! It’s now how I bake all my muffins. Besides, everyone knows the muffin top is the best part, so the bigger the better. I know everyone has that little bit of nostalgia where they miss things from their omni days, but I hope the next time you longingly stare at those orange muffins mocking you behind their prison of glass, you think of these. So there you have it, put that in your pipe and smoke it Starbucks!*
Are there any restaurant recipes you’ve successfully veganized? Are there any you’d like to veganize?
- 4 oz. non-dairy cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch and flour. Store in the fridge until needed.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt.
- In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugars, oil, milk and vanilla. Add to the dry mixture to the wet and stir just until combined.
- Fill paper-lined muffin cups with a spoonful of batter, enough to cover the bottom, place a small spoonful of cream cheese mixture in the center, then cover with the remaining batter. Sprinkle with the tops with the pumpkin seeds and turbinado sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 16 to 19 minutes or until springy to the touch. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.