lets try some ‘healthy’ baking

Let’s branch out a little bit from the stuff I sell shall we? ‘Cause I also really like to bake. Well, I like to cook all kinds of things, but baking is by far my favorite. I seems  to be what I am best at and what tastes the best. And often times the least ‘eating healthy’ friendly.

Recently though I came across a recipe that was both! Pumpkin Walnut Cranberry Muffins. With whole wheat flour, NO butter, and the only added sweetener being honey! I say it definitely counts as healthy eating. (I mean when compared to my rolo cupcakes with dark chocolate ganache and caramel buttercreme, they are practically diet food!)

The recipe I found via Pinterest… my other day job…  and comes from Jessie over at A Hint of Honey  (thanks!) where there are tons of other lovely recipes that are on my to do list. But for now lets focus on the pumpkin.

mmmmmmmmmmmm pumpkin

I know it’s not fall. But I love pumpkin all the time. I do not discriminate. There is always a can of pumpkin in my pantry for whenever the craving strikes. So no, it’s not fall. Actually it is very hot. The Hubster was not happy that I baked in 80+ degree weather making our hot house even hotter, but it was for a good cause. Pumpkin Muffins!

Actually, a very sweet and deserving coworker of my had fallen rather ill and was desperately in need of a healthy homemade get well soon delivery. And these seemed like just what she needed.

You will need:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice cinnamon (this is your call… but I hate nutmeg)
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 cup honey (1 cup for a sweeter muffin)
2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (toasted for more flavor)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Begin!

-Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin (or use your prettiest get well soon cupcake liners).

– In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

-In a second bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, honey, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.

-Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined (no dry clumps remain). Fold in the cranberries and walnuts. The batter will be stiff! Don’t worry, this will come in hand later. 

-Evenly divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups (they will be extremely full).  <– very subtle wording for the craziness that you are about to undertake!

Personal experience side note: I have made these three times now. The first time I was immediately calling BS on whoever wrote this crazy recipe and decided that they were clearly mistaken and meant to say that the batter will be enough for 24… not 12. So I made the first half as the recipe called for. Then with the left over batter I added some chocolate chips.. cause it was just sitting there waiting for the first batch to bake… it was lonely… and everything is better with chocolate.

Anywho, we learned two things from this part of the baking experience. 1. There is not enough batter for 24 muffins. So don’t try that. 2. My theory still stands, everything IS better with chocolate, I recommend highly it.

These are pics from the second attempt when I was trying really hard to believe the recipe:

this is how full I would usually fill muffins…. see all that left over batter… not enough for 12 more.

So, this is where the super stiff batter comes in handy… you have to use it like play dough and BUILD your muffins. And there is still some left in the bowl!

This is PRE-baking people. Don’t be sacred. It will turn out okay. When you are done, the bottom of your oven will be just as messy as it was when you started.

Okay, Continue:

-Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

-Remove from the oven to cool on a wire rack.

So the original recipe claims that they are best enjoyed when warm. And yes, they are good that way….

See? They stayed in their papers and just got nice and fluffy and tall. No spillage at all!

Or you can be like me and add one final touch… which really, the more I tweak and add to the recipe, the less and less like health food they seem to be… but we can all focus on the whole wheat and no added sugar part anyways, right?

Cause I want more! So, I let mine cool completely then whipped up a nice runny glaze.

I usually eyeball this part until it reaches a good consistency, thin enough to dip and coat your muffins easily but thick enough to not all run and drip off before it can set up.

Roughly 2 cups powdered sugar + 2 tablespoons of heavy creme and a dash of vanilla to taste.

Roll the tops of the muffins in the glaze just to coat, then set back on your drying rack for an hour or so or however long it takes your glaze to set up in your inferno of a house because you insist on baking in the middle of the summer….

Totally worth it.

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