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There’s a festive feel in the air! While the Americans are gearing up for Thanksgiving, here in the UK we’re jumping ahead and getting ready for Christmas already. It’s not much more than a month to go! The Christmas lights were turned on in Bath last week, mince pies and advent calendars are appearing and late night Christmas shopping has begun.
These muffins felt rather in spirit to me. Pumpkin is of course a seasonal classic, well not really here but I read a lot of blogs where there’s a bit of a craze for all things pumpkin (!). After making Dreena’s fantastic Pumpkin Pie I’ve decided we definitely need to work pumpkin into our Christmas traditions somehow.
Everything’s been about chocolate for me lately so I added a dose of cocoa along with a handful of chocolate chips to the batter and studded them with fresh cranberries for that sparkly touch.
I don’t usually bake gluten-free as I don’t have any issues with gluten and tend to favour gluten-free grains and low-gluten spelt flour for baking anyway. All the same, you know I like to challenge myself in the kitchen and I’ve been learning more about gluten-free baking from Ricki Heller’s “Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free”- a gorgeous vegan baking book whose recipes are exclusively gluten-free (as well as free from refined sugars).
When I saw that Ricki was holding a recipe contest to find 5 recipes to be included in a a special winter supplement to the new cookbook I jumped at the opportunity to try something new. In keeping with the recipes in the book, submissions had to be vegan, gluten-free and use only lower glycemic sweeteners.
I did some research and then got to work. I used an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix along with psyllium husk as a binder and the muffins came out lovely and soft with a nice springy crumb and decent rise. They were no harder to make than typical gluten-filled baked goods either.
Chocolate Pumpkin & Cranberry Muffins (GF):
1/2C Pumpkin Purée
3/4C Non-dairy Milk
2T Psyllium Husks
3T Sunflower Oil (or other neutral oil)
1/3C Coconut Sugar
1/4t Liquid Stevia (optional, for extra sweetness)
3/4C All-Purpose Gluten-free Flour Mix
3T Cocoa Powder
1/2t Baking Soda/Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2t Baking Powder
1/4C Dairy-free Chocolate Chips OR Unsweetened Carob Chips
1/3C Fresh or Frozen Cranberries (If using frozen do not thaw first)
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Lightly oil a 6-hole muffin tray or line with paper cases.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients, pumpkin through to vanilla.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just to blend. Do not over-mix. Gently fold through the chocolate chips and cranberries. The batter will be very thick.
Using a lightly oiled cookie scoop, distribute batter evenly between the muffin cups about 3/4 full. Smooth tops a little if necessary.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cook completely before removing from the pan.
Makes 6 medium-sized muffins
Are you an experienced gluten-free baker? Any tips to share with the rest of us?
What’s putting you in the festive spirit right now?