Tag Archives: Pumpkin

Baking with Vegetables: Pumpkin Muffins and Sweet Potato Brownies

21 Nov

My original thought for making a vegetable-added brownie was to make a beet brownie.  I eventually will, but I had a sweet potato to use.
Sweet potatoes in particular add sweetness to the brownies such that less sugar is necessary.  I also had to make pumpkin muffins because I had yet to make them this fall, though they are one of the things I most look forward to making in the fall and winter.  The pumpkin muffins are inspired by the Yammy Muffins recipe from the Sustainable Food Center’s The Happy Kitchen cookbook, which I’m currently doing some recipe testing for.  I changed up that recipe quite a bit, reducing the amount of sugar, increasing the pumpkin, eliminating the oil, and using pumpkin in place of sweet potato.  Overall, using vegetables in baking adds moisture so that less oil and eggs are necessary, and in the case of beets and sweet potatoes, adds sweetness so that you don’t need to add so much sugar.  Of course, there’s also the added nutrition factor.

Pumpkin Muffins


1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinammon

1/2 cup barley malt syrup

1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk will do)

1 15-oz. can pumpkin

2 T ground flax mixed with 6 T water, or 2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 400.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with papers, or dab some vegetable oil or butter in the cups to keep the muffins from sticking.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In another smaller bowl combine the pumpkin, flax mixture or eggs, vanilla, barley malt, and almond milk.  Then, mix the dry and wet ingredients together, until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Evenly distribute muffin batter in the muffin pan.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

Sweet Potato Brownies


4 T (1/2 stick) butter or non-hydrogenated margarine (I think coconut oil would be good here too, though I haven’t tried it yet.)

1  4-ounce bar of 100% cacao chocolate (I used Ghiradelli brand)

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

About 1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1 large sweet potato)

1 T ground flax mixed with 3 T water, or 1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract


Peel the sweet potato, cut into chunks, and boil until tender.  (Another alternative is to cut a few slits in the potato and microwave until it’s cooked, usually about 10 minutes.)  Mash in a medium bowl.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Melt the butter with the chocolate bar in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium low heat until completely melted.  Stir during the process to facilitate the combining of the butter and chocolate.

Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) together in a small bowl.  Mix the flax mixture or egg with the sweet potato, vanilla, and sugar.  Add the chocolate mixture, then add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Place in a square 8×8 pan, or a loaf pan for thicker brownies (that’s what I did).  Bake for about 25 minutes.  The brownies will be very fudgy, not cakey.


Pumpkin Pie with Hazelnuts and Chocolate

6 Dec

This recipe combines Martha Stewart’s pie crust recipe, pumpkin pie filling from a Heidi Swanson recipe on http://www.101cookbooks.com, and my own addition of a hazelnut chunk and chocolate layer on the bottom of the pie.  This was an excellent way to round out our Thanksgiving meal.  For the pie crust, I employed the help of my food processor to mix the dough–it worked very nicely, but you can make the dough with a pastry blender or even a fork. Though this is the crust I used, feel free to buy a pre-made crust or use any recipe you like.  Martha’s recipe has always given me excellent results.

Martha’s Pie Crust

Makes enough dough for two crusts, or a top and bottom crust for one pie.


2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, or unbleached white flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces (make sure it’s very cold)

1/4 cup-1/2 cup ice water


Put flour, sugar, and salt in the food processor, and pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and run the processor until the dough looks grainy–the butter and flour are completely combined.  As you pulse, add the ice water little by little.  The dough should stick together now and not be grainy–the water should be enough to bind everything together.  Form the dough into two equally-sized balls with your hands.  Store one for later use.  Refrigerate the dough you will use for the pumpkin pie until you are ready to put together the pie.  What you don’t want is for the dough to get warm…the butter should not melt.  Bad!

Pumpkin Pie with Hazelnuts and Chocolate

1 pie crust

1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted (instructions below on how to toast)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tsp ground ginger

(or, instead of each spice individually, use 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (you can find arrowroot in the bulk foods section of most stores, or you can substitute cornstarch)

1 can pumpkin puree (do NOT use pumpkin pie mix….you want pure, plain pumpkin puree)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

1 cup coconut milk (you can buy a half-size can of coconut milk that equals about 1 cup; otherwise, buy the big can and freeze the other half of it if you don’t have a use for it right away)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the hazelnuts in a small baking dish, and toast for about 10 minutes.

Set aside the hazelnuts.  Prepare the pie filling.  Mix the brown sugar, spices, salt, and arrowroot in a large mixing bowl. Once combined, add pumpkin puree and vanilla.  Then, add eggs and coconut milk.

It is easiest to use an electric mixer, but a whisk will also work.

Next, roll out the dough on a floured work surface.

Next, place the crust in a pie pan.  Trim the edges.  I used the excess to make a few tiny pies with leftover pie filling.

Next, add the hazelnuts and chocolate chips to the bottom of the crust.  Lightly chop the hazelnuts first if you like. 

Next, pour the pie filling over the crust.  I had a bit left over, which I used to make tiny pies in small ramekins (see pictures that follow).

Bake the pie for about 40 minutes, then check.  Stick a knife in the center, and if it comes out clean, the pie is done.  The pie may take up to 50 minutes, but my oven seems to cook things faster.  My small pies had to come out after about 30 minutes.

I made one small pie with just the filling, and the other with crust on top and bottom.  Yum!  Though I did not serve the pie with whipped cream, that would make an excellent addition.  Not Cool Whip for god’s sake…real whipped cream!  This pie is excellent with a cup of strong coffee.

My Spin on Pumpkin Muffins

24 Nov

For a few years now, I’ve been using Ellie Krieger’s pumpkin muffin recipe, but usually adding or subtracting a thing or two.  Here is Ellie’s recipe on the Food Network website:


I changed up some of the ingredients and amounts.  In my version, I doubled the amount of pumpkin–mostly because I wasn’t sure I would use the rest of the pumpkin from the can!  Instead of one cup, or half a can, I used the whole thing.  It turns out that more pumpkin=moister muffins.  I also used alternative flours–half oat flour and half whole wheat white flour.  I didn’t use pumpkin seeds, and added chocolate chips and dried cranberries.  Sometimes I also like to add walnuts, but I didn’t this time.  These muffins are entirely whole grain and have a lot of pumpkin, and very little oil.  These are very good with coffee, either for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  Yum!  Here is my version of Ellie Krieger’s Pumpkin Muffins:


1 cup oat flour

1 cup whole wheat white flour (using unbleached white flour or whole wheat pastry flour would also be fine)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/8-1/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons black strap molasses (you can use any molasses–black strap is stronger in flavor than others)

1/4 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1-16 oz. can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix–plain pumpkin with nothing added)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup soy milk

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a muffin pan or line with muffin papers:

Next, mix the dry ingredients.

Set aside.  Next, in a large mixing bowl, mix together the brown sugar, molasses, canola oil, and the eggs.  You can use a wire whisk or an electric mixer, which is what I did.

Once these ingredients are mixed, add the pumpkin and the milk.  Whisk or mix using the mixer.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture along with the cranberries and chocolate chips.  Stir just until mixed–too much stirring and you end up with tough muffins.

Next, fill the muffin papers.

Bake for about 20 minutes.  Check the muffins by poking one with a knife or fork–if it comes out clean, the muffins are done.