Are you aching to indulge in seasonal treats, but attempting to watch your figure? Look no further! Here, my friends, is a delectable, uber moist and low-fat muffin that's chock-full of flavors. No exaggeration. I dislike bland foods. I'm a pro-seasoning kind of gal. So, when I adapted this recipe, which had numerous comments about how the muffins needed more flavor, the first thing I did was increase the pumpkin pie spice and sprinkle in extra cinnamon. Perfection!
I fondly call these treats "fall in a muffin". Cause that's what they are. Taking one whiff of the muffin's warm, earthy aroma is equivalent to a sudsy bath, a tight embrace, a gossamer knit sweater, comfy slippers, and a lick or two from your favorite kitten or puppy.
Did I mention they were moistest muffins I've ever eaten? How'd I achieve that? A mixture of pumpkin puree and unsweetened applesauce. And by using applesauce instead of canola oil & water, I also lowered the fat content tremendously.
Aaaaand, if you're vegan, or want to reduce the total fat even more, simply replace each egg with 1/4 cup of mashed ripened banana. I almost did this, but decided at the last second to try the egg method, assuming the banana would overpower the pumpkin or apple. Who knows, though, the flavors might mesh into a hybrid even-more-super-awesome muffin. Please let me know if you try this!
Pumpkin-Apple Harvest Muffins
Incredibly moist muffins chocked full of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon & nutmeg. Pumpkin puree and applesauce lend moisture and lower fat content, while the whole wheat flour, oats, apple chunks and cranberries boost the nutrition value. Easily substitute mashed ripened banana for the eggs to make it vegan friendly.
Adapted from Food.com's Moist Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
1 cup of 100% pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of turbinado or brown sugar
1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
2 cage-free eggs (or 1/2 cup of mashed ripe banana so it's vegan friendly)
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 an organic apple, cored and diced
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-count muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. If using muffin liners, insert into tin and spray those instead. In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients (sugar, flour, oats, baking powder, spices, & salt) and stir. Then add the wet ingredients (pumpkin, applesauce, eggs) and mix everything only until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently stir the diced apples and dried cranberries into batter. Fill each muffin tin equally until all the batter is used up. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick or fork stuck into the middle of a muffin comes out clean (with no wet batter).
To make these vegan friendly, substitute 1/4 cup of ripe, mashed banana for each egg. I considered doing this but wasn't sure how the banana flavor would affect everything. Let me know if you try this!
Notes & Tips
If you dislike applesauce or have apple allergies, use 1/4 cup of canola oil and 1/4 cup of water instead.
The apples & cranberries REALLY take it up a notch, but if you're not a fan, try chopped walnuts and dark chocolate instead.
Use whatever flour you have on hand. The ratio I used was my own preference. You can go with all-purpose, whole wheat, etc. Using only whole wheat flour will likely make the muffins more dense, though. Keep that in mind.
Oh, and white whole wheat flour has the same calories, fat, fiber, etc. as whole wheat flour. It's a great, lighter alternative for someone who wants to ease into using whole wheat/grains. :)
The muffins are pretty small and don't rise much (probably because the healthy substitutions I made) so feel free to double the recipe if you want 24 muffins. They go fast! Adding more baking powder might help them rise more, if you're feeling experimental. I have not tried this, though.
Question for Discussion: What's your favorite way to achieve moist baked goods? Answer in the comments section below.