Chocolate Pumpkin & Cranberry Muffins (GF)

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Chocolate Pumpkin & Cranberry Muffins |

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.

Chocolate Pumpkin & Cranberry Muffins |

I haven’t done a lot of gluten-free baking up to this point but 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.

Chocolate Pumpkin & Cranberry Muffins |

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 more difficult to make than typical gluten-filled baked goods either.

Chocolate Pumpkin & Cranberry Muffins (GF)

Yield: 6 medium-size muffins


  • 1/2 C Pumpkin Purée
  • 3/4 C Non-dairy Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Psyllium Husks
  • 3 Tbsp Melted Coconut oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1/3 C Coconut Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Liquid Stevia (optional, for extra sweetness)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 C All-Purpose Gluten-free Flour Mix
  • 3T Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda/Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 C Dairy-free Chocolate Chips OR Unsweetened Carob Chips
  • 1/3 C Fresh OR Frozen OR Dried Cranberries (If using frozen do not thaw first)


  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Lightly oil a 6-hole muffin tray or line with paper cases.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients, pumpkin through to vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  4. 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.
  5. Using a lightly oiled cookie scoop, distribute batter evenly between the muffin cups (they should be about 3/4 full). Smooth tops a little if necessary.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.

Chocolate Pumpkin & Cranberry 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?

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  1. says

    Is it common to use pumpkin in sweet recipes in the UK? Here it seems to be very limited to savoury stuff. And I have to admit that I am not the hugest fan of sweet pumkin treats, although those muffins look lovely!

  2. Eve L. says

    Hi Emma, I’m definitely making these after I purchase the psyllium husk and gluten-free mix. I’ve never done gluten-free baking (unless I was unaware of it) so I will be glad to have a gluten-free recipe in my possession to use for group gatherings. I’ve noticed that in my son’s high school, there are people with many different food needs/proclivities, and it’s nice to be the one bringing something to the potlucks for people who are usually the odd man out. So far I’ve been bringing vegan foods, and I’ve also learned that bringing nut-free items is very appreciated. And with this new recipe, I’ll have a whole range of categories covered!

    I adore all things pumpkin (I’ve been hoarding my own stash of Libby’s to get me through the fall and winter), so I was drawn immediately to these gorgeous muffins!

  3. heathergfc says

    I’m actually a terrible GF baker. I leave that to the experts and make their recipes! Raw foods recipes are more my style as there’s no chemistry involved! :) These muffins look really yummy, Emma!


  4. says

    For better or for worse, Americans seem to be preparing for Christmas already, too! I’ve been seeing lights and hearing the classic Christmas songs in stores for weeks now, and it seems as though the promotions have already been at work for months. It’s crazy! I don’t mind it when it comes to food though, since this season is full of such delicious things. You fabulous cranberry-spiked muffins are proof of that!

  5. says

    they look delicious and sound great – I really like psyllium husks in gf baking – my mum gave me some of her xanthum gum so am going to give that a go too – I really like Ricki’s gf flour mix rather than the one I get from the supermarket – and I think she is a great person to learn about gf baking from – I have learnt just so much from her

    • says

      Ricki is my baking mentor! I haven’t made her flour mix yet as the millet bulk bin at my local health food store was empty last time I checked. Waiting for a delivery. This was my first time using psyllium in baking though and it really worked a treat.

  6. says

    These muffins look right up my alley! I am not in the Christmas spirit yet at all. Stores around here began decorating right after Halloween and it’s only gotten more intense since. I usually wait until about 2 weeks before Christmas to decorate, I’m such a scrooge!

    • says

      Great Anna. Hope you try the mufffins :) I’ve had quite a few readers make and enjoy them already.
      It seems a little silly to decorate my flat just for me but I’m sure when I’m home with family for Christmas it will be me taking charge of decorations- nobody else seems particularly bothered!


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