When I decided I wanted to make a Pumpkin Muffin
that has a lot of nutritional value yet still tastes great, I knew exactly where to
look. It was a cookbook by Canadian Anne Lindsay called Smart Cooking - Quick and Tasty Recipes for
This Pumpkin Muffins does not disappoint. They are actually what I would call a
Pumpkin 'Bran' Muffin as they contain unprocessed wheat bran. Besides the bran
they contain whole wheat flour, pumpkin puree,
raisins, buttermilk (or yogurt), and oil instead of butter (which contains more
Each Pumpkin Muffin has about 200 calories and is a good
source of fiber and Vitamin A.
So let's talk a little about the
ingredients used in these delicious Pumpkin Muffins. One way to start making our baked goods more healthy is to try replacing at least
some of the all purpose white flour in a recipe with whole wheat flour.
Whole wheat flour is milled from the entire whole wheat berry, so it still
contains its bran (fiber) and its germ (rich in oil, protein, iron and
vitamins). This makes it rich in fiber and it also has a nutty toasted
flavor which is excellent in these muffins. The other ingredient you may
not know much about, and yet it is very good for us, is unprocessed wheat bran.
can be found in most grocery stores on the baking isle or in the health food
section, and it can also be found in health food stores.) Wheat Bran
is the outer layer (shell) of the wheat kernel and even when ground it is
not considered a flour but a fiber. It is high in carbohydrates, calcium
and fiber and it adds a mild earthy taste and coarse flaky texture to these
Pumpkin Muffins. Buttermilk is also used in these muffins. Buttermilk (or
you can use plain low fat yogurt) has a nice thick creamy texture with
a rich tangy buttery taste that makes baked goods tender and moist. Whereas
in the past buttermilk was made from the liquid left over after churning
butter, it is now commercially made by adding a bacteria to whole, skim, or
low fat milk. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1/2 tablespoon of
white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1/2 cup (120 ml)
of milk. Just let this mixture stand 5 to 10 minutes before using. Or you
can buy buttermilk powder which can be found in some grocery stores or in
specialty food stores.
To make our lives easier we really do not have to make our own pumpkin
puree as there are excellent brands of canned pure pumpkin on the market
today. Just make sure you do not buy the pumpkin which already has the
spices added to it. That being said, if you have the time and are so
inclined, you can make your own puree using the smaller pumpkin varieties
like Sugar Pie, Baby Bear or Cheese Pumpkin (approximately 5-7 lbs., 2 1/2
- 3 1/2 kg.). To begin, first cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove
all the seeds and stringy fibers, and then place cut-side down on a greased
baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) for approximately 45
minutes to 1 1/4 hours (depending on size) or until easily pierced with a
knife. Scoop out the pulp and puree in a food processor until smooth. You
do need to extract all the liquid, so strain the pumpkin through a
cheesecloth lined strainer and then cool the puree before using.
Pumpkin Muffins: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205
degrees C). Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with
paper liners or
spray with a non stick vegetable spray.
In a medium sized
together the pumpkin puree, eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl,
combine the flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add
the milk and egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just
combined. Fold in the raisins. Do not over mix the batter or the muffins will be tough when baked.
Fill the muffin cups
with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place
in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes
, or until firm to the touch and a
toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to
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