Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cooking: Pumpkin swirl muffins

Here is my first post where I show you how I convert a normal recipe to make it a little more healthy for your family but just as YUMMY!
Pumpkin Swirl Muffins are a perfect blend of spicy pumpkin with a little swirl of cheesecake on top. My kind of muffin and a wonderful treat around the holidays! This recipe makes about 12 regular size muffins.

  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin  (I used organic)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil  (in this case you can also use olive or coconut oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (There are MANY great substitutes for white sugar. I used Agave nectar which they now sell in most grocery stores but you might have to go to the health section. Stevia is a good natural choice or one of my favorites 100% Maple Syrup! You normally don't have to use as much as the recipe calls for so in this case I used 3/4 cup Agave Nectar.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-pourpose flour (I blogged about white vs. 100% whole grain so you can understand why I would make different choices when it comes to this area and other options you have. I had Spelt flour on hand so I used= 1 1/2 cups Spelt flour. To make this Gluten free use Buckwheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Swirl filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature (For those of you who are Lactose intolerant like I am there is a great substitute for cream cheese made by Tofutti and is pictured below)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 5 tablespoons sugar (4 tablespoons of Agave nectar)
  • 1/8 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • about 6 Graham crackers (Trader Joes has YUMMY Graham crackers made without high fructose corn syrup, pictured below)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter (dairy free option : Earth balance)

Start by preheating your oven to 350F (180C)

Mix pumpkin, oil, and sugar (agave) together.
 Add eggs, one at a time, combining thoroughly after each.
add vanilla
 whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in separate bowl.
 Slowly add flour mixture to liquids, combining thoroughly and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
 Line you muffin tin with paper cups or grease.
 Here comes the fun part! Divide up the 6 graham crackers into ziplock bags and let the kids pound on them and make them into graham cracker crumbs! Heat up 3 tablespoons of butter in a bowl then mix in your graham cracker crumbs until moist.
 Evenly pour the crumbs in each muffin cup, then press firmly down to flatten on the bottom of the cup, making the crust!
 Then evenly pour your pumpkin muffin mix into each muffin cup.
 Now for the cheesecake swirl filling. Here is a picture of the cream cheese substitute I used.
 Mix together cream cheese, sugar(agave), egg yolk and vanilla until well combined.
I let my kids lick the beaters but you always have to be carful with this when raw egg is in the mixture!
Add a small spoonful of the cream cheese mixture on top of each muffin.
 Swirl with a skewer.
 Bake times:

  • mini muffins : 20-25 min
  • standard muffins: 25-30 min
  • jumbo muffins: 30-40 min

You will know they are ready when toothpick or butter knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.
Here is a picture of finished product, NO white flour and NO white sugar and showing off the YUMMY graham cracker crust!
*Two things you could do to add to these muffins would be to sprinkle chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) to the top of the muffins before baking or add a cup of dark chocolate chips to your pumpkin muffin mix, mix them in before separating out into muffin cups!

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