I love to transform my favourite recipes into something new. Often, it’s not too far of a stretch to take a solid recipe base and create something different and fresh. Maybe I’m a baking nerd, but I just love the process of calculating measurements, swapping new ingredients for others, figuring out new baking times, and streamlining the method. My goal with recipe writing is to provide as many pertinent details as I can so you feel like I’m in the kitchen with you, but I also try to simplify and condense, too. It gives me great joy to refine and improve a dish and the written recipe itself over multiple trials.
Yup, I’m definitely a baking nerd. There’s no denying it.
My Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf with Spiced Buttercream is a bit of a legend on this blog. I created the recipe for a blogging competition, Project Food Blog, five years ago (side note: my recipe writing style has clearly changed since then!). Despite being buried in the archives, this loaf has stood the test of time and remains popular during the fall and winter seasons. I’ve had requests for a muffin version – something a bit lighter and more wholesome that could pair with breakfast or an afternoon snack. (Wait a second. The original loaf with frosting doesn’t count as breakfast? I’ve been doing it all wrong.)
Joking aside, it’s a great idea. So maybe it’s a few years late, but I’m not a miracle worker! Ok, maybe I am. I made the original loaf more wholesome by using whole-grain spelt flour rather than all-purpose white flour. Despite using this heavier flour, I was astonished by how light and fluffy the muffins turned out! Spelt flour is incredibly tasty with a lightly sweet and nutty flavour that works so well in a muffin. Actually, I kept saying to Eric that these muffins taste a bit like a spiced bran muffin (in a very good way!). In just 1/4 cup of whole-grain spelt flour you’ll find 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of fibre, too. Look for whole-grain spelt flour in the natural foods or specialty section of grocery stores or you can find it online. Keep in mind that it’s not gluten-free so it won’t work for those with gluten allergies. You’ll also find pumpkin, blackstrap molasses (a great source of iron), pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and more. It’s like a big fall hug. Get ready, because your place is going to smell like a gingerbread house. No joke.
Despite using whole-grain spelt flour, pumpkin purée, and molasses, these muffins rise beautifully and they are so light and fluffy! I think you’re going to love them. They are perfectly spiced (not too strong and not too light) and great for fall and winter baking. You won’t believe how incredible these muffins will make your house smell, too. Throw a batch in the oven before company comes over and your entire place will smell like a gingerbread house! This recipe is adapted from a reader-favourite recipe: my Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf with Spiced Buttercream.
For the wet ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) water
- 1 cup (240 g) unsweetened pumpkin purée*
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil**
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup (105 g) packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) blackstrap molasses
For the dry ingredients:
- 1 2/3 cups (260 g) whole-grain spelt flour***
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Heaping 1/2 cup (70 g) toasted chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a muffin pan with large paper liners. My favourite brand of liners is “If You Care” brand as they never stick!
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the chia seeds and water. Set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (spelt flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt).
- In the same bowl as the chia mixture, whisk together the wet ingredients (chia mixture, pumpkin purée, oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, and molasses) until smooth.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. No patches of flour should remain. Be sure not to overmix the batter as spelt is a delicate flour. The batter will be quite thick.
- If using, stir in the chopped walnuts. You can also reserve some for garnish on top, like in the photos.
- Divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin liners. They should be about 3/4 full or a bit more. Add any reserved walnuts on top and gently push down (optional).
- Bake the muffins for 20 to 24 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, and then transfer each muffin onto a cooling rack until completely cool. Serve with homemade almond milk.
- * If your pumpkin purée is a bit grainy, try throwing it into a food processor and processing it until smooth before making this recipe. Or you can beat it with electric beaters. This will simply prevent clumps in the dough.
- ** If using melted coconut oil, make sure that the rest of the wet ingredients are all at room temperature (do not use refrigerated pumpkin, maple syrup, etc. as they will harden the coconut oil).
- *** I haven't tried these muffins with any other flour, but I expect that regular all-purpose flour will work (like in the loaf recipe).
- Make it nut-free: Simply omit the walnuts.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
Photography credit: Ashley McLaughlin Photography