Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins with Cranberries and Walnuts

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffin with Cranberries and Walnuts

I really had no intention of writing about muffins today. But thanks to jet lag I was awake at 2:30 a.m. again and by 6:00 I was fully caffeinated with lots of new recipes brewing in my head. It was nice and cool and foggy this morning, perfect weather for a warm and spicy batch of muffins.

Luckily, my sister had taken me out shopping yesterday for my baking basics so I had everything necessary for these pumpkin muffins. Although some of my muffin recipes use a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flours, these are 100% whole wheat. They also have very little fat compared to traditional muffins. But believe me, they don’t taste like health food!

I took a chance using sweetened dried cranberries in place of the raisins I would normally put in a recipe like this. And I really wasn’t sure I would like it. But the combination of cranberries and walnuts was really great!

Although this recipe only calls for two tablespoons of oil, they are far from dry. I really think that the pumpkin puree, buttermilk, and honey all help contribute to the texture of these muffins. These three ingredients keep the muffins moist and tender without being heavy and oily like many traditional muffins.

Broken Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

I absolutely love using King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour. The name of the flour is slightly misleading. It’s not a whole wheat flour that has been bleached, just a new strain of wheat that makes a flour lighter in color and texture than traditional red wheat. It has all the nutritional benefits of traditional whole wheat flour and can be used exactly the same way.

I love King Arthur’s traditional whole wheat flour in yeast breads but this white whole wheat flour is really great in quick breads or anywhere you would like a lighter texture. I’ve even used this flour in pie crusts! If you are new to baking with whole wheat flour or think that you don’t like whole wheat baked goods, give this flour a try. I really think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

While living in Sicily, I would actually buy King Arthur flour online and have it shipped to me, it’s that good! But, I ran out of my supply a while back and didn’t want to have any more shipped because of the impending move. It was so nice to be able to buy my favorite flour in the grocery store yesterday!

Actually, it was really nice to buy a lot of things in the store yesterday that would have normally been hard for me to find overseas. We went to a new (to me) store called Sprouts and I got way too excited about the selection of grains in the bulk bins. And then there were the cheap avocados! And cheap limes! And cheap mangoes! And jicama! And cilantro! Last night my sister and I split a yummy mango and jicama salad with lime and cilantro. So simple, so good, and so not Sicilian!

I do miss Sicily, I really do. But I’m getting very excited to start experimenting with a whole new range of ingredients that haven’t been readily available to me for the last few years.

I’ll write about that jicama salad soon but for now, let’s get back to these muffins! The thing about using 100% whole wheat flour in muffins is they might not rise as high as muffins made with an all-purpose flour or cake flour. Since I like my muffins to have a fully formed “muffin top,” I try to create recipes with enough batter to completely fill up those muffin cups. I’m not talking about 2/3 full or 3/4 full, I fill those babies up to the top!

Muffin batter

This recipe give you enough batter to completely fill 12 standard sized muffin cups. When they bake, the batter should rise up and over the cups, resulting in some big and beautiful muffins.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins with Cranberries and Walnuts

2 1/2 C. whole wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 C. pumpkin puree (I use canned)
2 T. oil
3/4 C. honey
2 eggs
2/3 C. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
1/2 C. sweetened dried cranberries (like Craisins)
1/2 C. chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a standard size 12 cup muffin tin (I use cooking spray).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, honey, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
5. Divide batter evenly between 12 standard sized muffin cups. Bake 20-23 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. Muffins are done when they spring back lightly to the touch or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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52 Comments
  1. Peter

    Nicole, I would certainly have these muffins alongside some cornbread! ;)

    10:58 am  Nov 20th, 2007
  2. Nicole

    Peter: How the heck do you always get here so fast?! You just gave me an idea…maybe I’ll try mixing some of that cornbread mix with the leftover canned pumpkin and see what happens…

    10:59 am  Nov 20th, 2007
  3. Deborah

    I don’t use whole wheat flour as often as I should. Maybe that will be my New Year’s resolution this year!! These muffins sound wonderful.

    11:05 am  Nov 20th, 2007
  4. Karina

    Hey Nicole! I love the combo of cranberries and pumpkin. Those little gems look amazing. Something good *can* arise from insomnia. ;) And thanks a bunch for the muffin shout-out! Much appreciated.

    12:05 pm  Nov 20th, 2007
  5. Nicole

    Deborah: I’ve always baked whole wheat bread but it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve been using it in things like quick breads and pancakes. I’ve come to realize that besides being healthier, it actually makes many things taste better.

    Karina: I now realize that I like the combination too! I guess I wasn’t sure how I would like the tartness of the berries with the warm pumpkin pie spices. But it worked!

    12:24 pm  Nov 20th, 2007
  6. Kalyn

    They do sound really good. I’m also a big fan of the white whole wheat flour!

    12:54 pm  Nov 20th, 2007
  7. deb

    These look wonderful! And I am really itching to make your pumpkin roll. Probably next week, though… Thanks for the inspiration.

    1:50 pm  Nov 20th, 2007
  8. eliza

    look at those mangoes :D i love cranberries too whether it’s in dried or fresh forms. this time of year we surely eat a lof of them.

    2:56 pm  Nov 20th, 2007
  9. Katie

    I’m putting this at the top of my list of recipes to try! They look amazing, and healthy. (Healthy = Craig will eat them).

    4:14 pm  Nov 20th, 2007
  10. Nicole

    Kalyn: It’s good stuff! :-)

    Deb: Thanks! I haven’t made any pumpkin roll this year…not sure if I’ll get around to it before I get pumpkined out!

    Eliza: The mango I had last night was pretty good although a little under ripe. It was perfect for the salad, though!

    Katie: Cool! I hope you guys like them!

    5:17 pm  Nov 20th, 2007
  11. Dani

    Hi Nicole! These look and sound d’lish!
    I too am in love with the “white” whole wheat flour…it’s so lite!
    Thanks for the recipe:)!

    5:22 pm  Nov 20th, 2007
  12. kellypea

    Mmm…bringing back memories of muffins I made for a friend last week –but mine had pepitas which added a nice flavor. Very similar recipe quite tasty!

    6:59 pm  Nov 20th, 2007
  13. Gretchen Noelle

    These look delicious and I just wound up with A LOT of pumpkin puree last night, so I am looking forward to trying these…after Thanksgiving. Also, I love your attitude about the big move – it is great to see that you are positive about change.

    4:20 am  Nov 21st, 2007
  14. Patricia Scarpin

    I say this is the best way of dealing with jet lag!

    10:07 am  Nov 21st, 2007
  15. Ruby

    These sound and look fabulous. I used a recipe from Swirling Notions for a pumpkin contest today. The pumpkin spice cupcakes with caramel cream cheese frosting. I won first place! I was so excited, I’ll send you a pic when I get them. :)

    12:36 pm  Nov 21st, 2007
  16. Dayna

    I just made muffins quite similar to this, so I must say it’s a delicious combination.
    Yours look so wonderful and fluffy. Aside from missing Sicily, it must be so great to reintroduce yourself to North American offerings.

    6:59 pm  Nov 21st, 2007
  17. Susan

    Could this batter be used as a quick bread in a loaf pan? I love the ingredient list; buttermilk, honey, pumpkin, walnuts, very little oil…has anyone tried it as quick bread?

    7:16 pm  Dec 2nd, 2007
  18. Alexandra

    I like King Arthur as well…and muffins, yum.

    12:27 pm  Dec 7th, 2007
  19. Diana

    Oh man, these are good. I am a big fan of your recipes. I have tried several of them. I baked this one into mini loaves and muffins. Just ate one for breakfast with a cup o’ joe. YUMMMMM!

    6:25 am  Sep 10th, 2008
  20. Erin

    These are SOOO good! My boyfriend hardly ever eats “healthfully”, but he LOVED these! This recipe will stay in the top of my box!

    1:51 pm  Oct 9th, 2008
  21. Renee (Re-knee)

    Nicole- found your blog while looking for a whole grain pumpkin muffin recipe and I’m really enjoying it! Love all the pictures and directions. Even though I’ve been cooking and baking for years, I still like pictures and a recipe that’s been fully tested and the bugs worked out so I don’t have to do it myself. Haven’t ever tried the King Arthur white wh. wh. flour, so I’ll be checking that out. Something you might want to try, if you haven’t ever, is something I found by accident and use regularly in my baking-Hodgeson Mills oat bran flour blend. I usually use some combination of unbleached, wh. wheat and the rest oat bran flour. It gives things a moister, cakier texture as well as adding more nutrition. Also if you like baking with whole grains check out Ken Haedrich’s cook book “Country Baking” Dicovered him years ago in Yankee magazine. Cut out his recipe for whole grain pancakes(the best I’ve ever found) and eventually got around to buying his cook book–I’m not as adventurous as you as far as making up my own recipes, although I usually end up altering them to my taste.

    6:08 pm  Oct 12th, 2008
  22. Maryka

    Hi, Nicole: I stumbled across this recipe, and blog, while looking for some way to use up the pumpkin left over from yesterday’s pie. I am also a big fan of white whole wheat flour. I made these muffins with brown sugar instead of honey and increased the buttermilk to 3/4 cup. They are light, fluffy, not-too-sweet, and taste heavenly with a cup of coffee. Thank you, they will go into my permanent recipe collection!

    2:13 pm  Nov 28th, 2008
  23. Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins « The Constant Physicist

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  24. Abbey Jo

    Yummy!! I am 17 weeks pregnant and trying to eat healthy and all i could think of wer pumpkin muffins, normally very sugary and not so good for you! I used applesauce in place of the oil and did not have cranberries or walnuts so the first time i made it without. I also did not have a muffin tin so i made it into bread. I just pulled out a loaf that i used abt 1/2c of mashed bannana and 1/2c honey, 1/4c appledsauce instead of all the honey. It tastes great!!!!!
    Thank you for your recipe.

    10:25 am  Oct 1st, 2009
  25. michelle

    Sprouts is wonderful! You must try the Steel Cut Oats in the big bulk section! That’s the only oatmeal I’ll eat. Yes, I’m an oatmeal snob. Try it with Honey butter or better yet, honey cranberry butter (w/ a pinch of orange zest & juice)
    Thank you for your pumpkin recipes. Looking forward to making your pumpkin muffins & scones for friends on Tues. Just wish it were cooler here in AZ.
    Thank you for your awesome blog & recipes!

    11:14 am  Oct 11th, 2009
  26. Marta

    The pumpkin muffins look amazing! I’m looking forward to making this recipe for the upcoming months. I am going to substitute the walnuts with pecans….have you heard how the muffins turn out with different substitutions?

    10:30 am  Oct 12th, 2009
  27. trish

    Was looking for whole wheat muffin recipes – and these look fantastic. Question: what would be the side effects if I made these with regular whole milk instead of buttermilk – I never have buttermilk around, and whenever I buy some, I only use a little bit and have to throw the rest away.

    10:53 am  Oct 12th, 2009
  28. Maryka

    Hi, Trish: You can buy powdered buttermilk. I keep a container of it in my refrigerator. Or, you can add a tablespoon of vinegar to each cup of regular milk to “sour” it.

    12:13 pm  Oct 12th, 2009
  29. Naomi (onefitfoodie)

    omg these look delicious! printing out this recipe NOW!

    5:55 am  Oct 16th, 2009
  30. Sara

    I made these this afternoon – they were fantastic! I didn’t have the white wheat flour on hand, so I used King Arthur’s regular wheat flour instead. Next time I’ll try to find the white. I added a spiced glaze on top for fun. (powdered sugar, tiny bit of cream, and some of that pumpkin pie spice) They were a hit for an afternoon gathering :) I’m definitely adding this recipe to my favorites book!

    1:47 pm  Oct 17th, 2009
  31. Rebecca

    These came out delicious! Not dry at all (even 2 days later!).

    5:35 pm  Oct 25th, 2009
  32. Laurel

    These muffins are amazing, I am very impressed. Thank you for such a great tasting, great looking, and healthy muffin.

    1:04 am  Nov 6th, 2009
  33. Hallie

    I think I’m going to make these this weekend! Do you think it would affect the flavor/consistency if I cut the honey to 1/2 cup? I am a VERY novice baker but I would love a muffin healthy enough to have in regular rotation. I’d also leave the walnuts out though because I’m not a big fan of nuts in baked goods, usually.

    8:46 pm  Nov 25th, 2009
  34. Jane

    Made these this morning – delicious! I used regular whole wheat flour b/c that’s what I had in the house. I also added a handful of frozen blueberries with the cranberries and walnuts….yummy. Maybe my muffin tins a bit smaller – I came out with 16 muffins. I put half the batch in the freezer and I look forward to pulling them out for my lunches this week. Thanks for a great healthy recipe!

    12:52 pm  Feb 13th, 2010
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  36. Ellen

    I made these last night without the inclusions for my toddler and her daycare class. I was surprised by how GOOD they are, even plain! (I will admit to adding some cream cheese and jam on mine:)) Everyone in our house loves them; I can’t wait to make a “real” batch.

    What do you do with the rest of that pumpkin puree?

    Thanks for the recipe!

    5:27 am  Mar 15th, 2010
  37. Jenny

    Do you think I could turn this into a loaf bread by just adjusting the cooking time? Or would the texture be too different? Thanks!

    8:22 am  Apr 22nd, 2010
  38. Jodi

    Do you know the nutrition content of these muffins? Or maybe just the calories per muffin? Thanks!!!

    8:49 am  Sep 10th, 2010
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  40. abby charlton

    I just found your blog and made these muffins…and they are fabulous! Can’t wait to look around at your other recipes too.
    Thanks!!
    Abby

    12:12 pm  Nov 17th, 2010
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  42. Niki

    Must tell you how much we love these muffins! They are a family hit and they go in school lunches often. Yum! We add a little molasses instead of honey sometimes and they are delicious! Thanks for your great site and fabulous recipes! :)

    10:28 am  Dec 15th, 2010
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  45. Sarah @ cooking pretty

    Just made these – delicious! I subbed agave for the sugar, and pumpkin seeds for the cranberry. Amazing that whole wheat muffins can be so fluffy – thanks for the recipe inspiration. :)
    http://cookingpretty.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/whole-wheat-pumpkin-muffins-with-walnuts/

    9:22 am  Feb 19th, 2011
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  47. Josie Marsh

    These were great. I used yogurt instead of buttermilk and would add a bit more cranberries and walnuts next time but we loved them! Thank you :)

    12:53 pm  Sep 27th, 2011
  48. Lisa

    Just found your site and made these muffins today; apparently long after you posted it!
    My husband opened a can of pumpkin because the vet suggested giving some to our cat (don’t ask!), As predicted, she wanted no part of it, so there I was with an open can of pumpkin. I love to make muffins, and was browsing baking blogs, as usual. I had all the ingredients, so on went the oven.

    I did tweak the recipe a bit. I made 1.1/2 times the recipe because there was 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin leftover.
    I did not increase the amount of honey, though, and they seemed sweet enough. However, I used half whole wheat and half white whole wheat flour, so that may have been a factor. I also threw in a couple of finely chopped Granny Smith apples. Then, when I filled the pan, I put some batter in each cup, added a good dollop of apple butter, and then added more batter, to cover, I’ve done this before; it adds a nice little surprise that complements the other flavors. I use apple butter that is made locally, but any brand made with apples, cider, and spice (no sugar) will add a little sweet-tart accent. They turned out very tasty; I will definitely make them again.

    10:08 pm  Jul 22nd, 2012
  49. kim w

    made these today and they rose beautifully, smell wonderful, what a treat! will be making them again. thanks for the recipe.

    5:47 pm  Nov 25th, 2012
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  51. Sam

    I tried these muffins out last night because I had some fresh baked pumpkin left over from Thanksgiving. Between this and the biscuits I made for Thanksgiving dinner, I am now completely sold on King Arthur Brand Flour. I have never been happier with my breads then with their flours. Back to the muffins though, I didn’t have honey on hand so I had to sub in white sugar with a little extra liquid, but I added a little brown sugar too because honey has more flavor then white sugar and I still wanted it to have a little something extra to it. The other substitution I did was pecans because I don’t care for walnuts. I’m not sure if they turned out as moist without the honey, but these were so good. Though it makes them far less health, I had a couple for breakfast with cinnamon cream cheese. Yum!

    1:44 pm  Nov 30th, 2012
  52. RobertS

    Uncle Google showed me your blog in response to a search I did on pumpkin recipes :)

    I made these muffins and my whole family was thrilled to bits! They all disappeared the following morning!

    We try to avoid using processed milk in our daily diet, so I used oat milk – worked our brilliant! Highly recommend avoiding processed milk – all signs of allergies have vanished form our kids skin :) . . . and this is nothing to do with being lactose intolerant!

    I am going to follow you from now on – keep up the good work on maintaining this good, informative and colourfully positive blog.

    12:08 am  Oct 5th, 2013
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