Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins have always been a staple in our family home. While our kids have never been big fans of vegetables, they have no problem eating their share of this orange super food when snuck into this luscious snack.
They’ve even made up their own nickname for them, “punko muffins!”
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Pumpkins are considered a nutritionally dense food, meaning that they are full of vitamins and minerals, yet low in calories. Even if your finished product, the muffin laden with gooey, melted chocolate chips, is no longer a low-calorie food, it is still rich in pumpkin’s vital antioxidants, vitamin A, C, and E, and fiber. It also contains the minerals of copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Put all that wholesomeness into a sweet, soft and chocolatey muffin that’s easy to bake, and there you have it, the perfect snack for between meals that Mom never has to feel guilty about giving her kids.
But then one day, this mom was in for a surprise: My eldest child, my daughter, sits me down and tells me in all seriousness, “I want to become a vegan.”
(Play sound effects of record scratching to a stop, music dies.)
This decision of my daughter’s to become a vegan has made a huge change in the way I cook and the way our family eats in general, and I will refer more to these changes in other posts.
Overall, it has been a good thing. I have been eating healthier myself as a result of having to find alternate, plant-based sources of protein for my daughter, and I find myself consuming a lot less meat myself.
But one thing that was hard for me to accept in the beginning, however, is that being vegan isn’t just not eating meat. (That’s being a vegetarian.) It’s avoiding ALL animal products. Even eggs, milk and honey. Yes, that even means reading the fine print on ingredient lists on processed foods in the store. If it lists any egg or milk, it doesn’t land in our shopping cart.
It’s been about 8 months now on this vegan cooking journey, and while I’m still learning more and more as I go along, I’d like to start sharing some of the tips and recipes that have worked for us. The first one of these is this vegan pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe.
Big difference between this recipe and a non-vegan’s recipe: no milk or eggs.
The recipe calls for a non-dairy milk, which in our case, we used almond milk.
The egg substitute is vinegar. Yes, vinegar!
A couple words about egg substitutes: Eggs are used in baking for one of 3 basic reasons: binding, leavening, or moisture. There are many different ingredients that can be used for these purposes, as substitutes for eggs.
For example, for binding, you can use cornstarch, fruit or vegetable puree (like pumpkin!), flax seed, or silken tofu. For leavening agents, baking soda or commercial powder egg replacements, such as Ener-G Egg Replacer can be used. And for moisture purposes, fruit juice, water or pureed fruit are good substitutes.
You can find more great information about egg substitutes at http://www.egglesscooking.com/egg-substitutes/.
Today’s recipe is one that I actually found on the eggless cooking site, only I revised it a bit to fit our needs. For one thing, it called for whole wheat flour, and I wanted to make sure our family liked it with regular white flour first, before slowly introducing them to all whole wheat breads. Also, the original recipe called for apple cider vinegar, which we didn’t have. I happened to have some rice vinegar I’d bought for an Asian recipe once, so I used that!
And now, without further ado, the recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!!
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C pumpkin puree
3/4 C white sugar
1 C non-dairy milk (soy, almond, coconut)
1/3 C vegetable oil
1/2 T vinegar
3/4 C vegan chocolate chips (We like the “enjoy life” brand, found in health food aisle of grocery stores)
1/2 C pumpkin seeds or other seeds/nuts (optional; our kids don’t like nuts, so we skipped this part!)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.
2. In medium bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
3. In large bowl, sift and stir the dry ingredients.
4. Stir wet into dry ingredients, combine.
5. Mix in chips and seeds/nuts.
6. Scoop about 1/3 C batter into each muffin cup.
7. Bake 18-20 min.
8. Set pan on rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins to cool. When completely cool, store in airtight container.
Nutrition per muffin: 317 calories, 13 grams fat, 4.9 grams protein.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! Come back again, as I will continue to share my yummy findings on this vegan journey!