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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins with Cranberries and Walnuts

Posted By Nicole On November 20, 2007 @ 10:45 am In Adventures in Baking,Breads,Breakfast/Brunch,NaBloPoMo,Vegetarian,Whole Grains | 52 Comments

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.

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!

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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