Celebrate harvest season with these pumpkin cranberry muffins, with added carrot, apple, raisins and seeds.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Zehrs™. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting brands that support Seasons and Suppers.
As part of the Food Lover Unite program with Zehrs™, I was tasked with modernizing a family classic recipe to be more health-conscious. Since pumpkin is top of mind these days, I decided to update the Fall classic, pumpkin muffin.
My classic pumpkin muffin is a recipe from the 1950’s. It’s the perfect pumpkin muffin (in my opinion) in terms of taste, texture and moistness. It’s pure pumpkin muffin enjoyment and there will always be a place for that pleasure in my life now and then.
There is also room in my life for a version of pumpkin muffin that offers up a bit more – a pumpkin muffin that maybe delivers up part of those “3 servings” I talked about back in July and maybe some extra fibre and vitamins, too. It still needed to taste great though, and be moist and light in texture. That was my challenge.
To help me with this challenge, I sat down with the Orillia Zehrs™ in-store dietitian, Becka Orgill Toner, to discuss some ideas. We didn’t just focus on what we would take out of the recipe, but what we could add to it. We talked about what ingredients would offer some extra goodness, while still keeping the focus on great taste and texture. Once we had some ideas gathered, we headed out into the store, where we explored some more options and gathered our ingredients.
If you’d like to shop your local store with an dietitian, head to bookadietitian.ca to learn more.
Zehrs™ stores are one of my go-to locations for fresh and local produce, that you will love and shopping with your family is a great way to make everyone a food lover!
After shopping with Becka, I was armed with a list of ideas and a basket of fresh ingredients, I hit the kitchen to start baking. When I was done, I had reduced the oil and the added sugar by half, compared to my original recipe. I also managed to pack these muffins with cranberries, apple, carrots, raisins and seeds, working out to just about 1/2 serving of fruits/vegetable per muffin! The best part of all, is that they are still wonderfully delicious, moist and satisfying.
Ingredient Notes for Harvest Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Cranberries We were just a little early for the fresh, local cranberries, so frozen cranberries were used here. Thaw the cranberries before cutting in half and adding to batter. Of course, if fresh cranberries are in season, even better!
Apples: Use any moderately sweet, red-skinned apple. There are lots of varieties of local apples available at Zehrs™ this Fall.
Raisins: Any type of raisin is fine here.
Pepitas: Also known as pumpkin seeds. I used raw unsalted pumpkin seeds, though salted is fine here, as well.
Milled Flax Seed: Milled flax seed is simply whole flax seeds that has been ground up. Our bodies have trouble breaking down the whole flax seeds, so using milled flax seed allows us to enjoy the full health benefits of the flax seed. The milled flaxseed simply adds extra goodness to these muffins. You can omit, without issues, if you like.
Oil: I reduced the oil from my classic pumpkin muffins in half, so these are already reduced in that respect. If you wished, you could replace 1/2 cup of the oil with applesauce, though it will affect the moistness of the resulting muffin.
Sugar: Again, the sugar is reduced by half from my classic pumpkin muffins, so I don’t feel there is a ton or room to reduce it drastically more. As noted below, you can skip the sugar topping easily, to reduce the sugar further.
Cook’s Notes for Harvest Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Feel free to omit any of the apple, carrot or raisins if you prefer or you don’t have all on hand.
The actual muffin itself is not super sweet. The bit of sugar in the topping fools you into thinking it’s sweeter than it actually is. I like that. If you’d prefer to skip the sugar topping, simply sprinkle the chopped pepitas/pumpkin seeds on top of the muffins before baking.
As these muffins are reduced in oil and sugar, the shelf life will be shorter than a full fat/sugar muffin. These muffins will freeze well, so you can freeze any you can’t eat in the first couple of days.
Top Tip! When making muffins and all the muffin cups aren’t filled, fill the empty cups in the tin half full with water before putting in the oven. This will help your muffins bake evenly.
Harvest Pumpkin Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 5 tsp milled flax seed
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup canola oil or sunflower, vegetable oil etc.
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup cranberries fresh or frozen (thawed), halved
- 1/2 cup raisins plumped
- 1/2 cup carrot shredded
- 1/4 cup apple shredded
- 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp pepitas chopped
- 1 Tbsp butter cold
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line 9 muffin cups with paper liners
and set aside.
- Set raisins (if using) in a bowl of hot water and allow to
stand for 10 minutes (plumping the raisins). Drain and pat dry before adding to the
- Prepare the Topping by whisking together the flour, brown
sugar, cinnamon and chopped pepitas. Add the 1 Tbsp cold butter and use your
fingertips to gently rub the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Set
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, white sugar,
cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and flax seed.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and
- In a separate medium bowl, combine the fresh cranberries,
soaked/drained and dried raisins, carrot and apple. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp all
purpose flour and toss to combine.
- Add the egg/oil/pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and
using a spoon, stir until combined and no flour is visible. Stir in the
cranberry/fruit mixture and stir until combined.
- Divide batter between the 9 muffins cups. Sprinkle topping
mixture on top. Fill any empty muffin cups 1/2 full with water to ensure your
muffins bake evenly.
- Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, or until a tester
comes out clean. Remove from oven. Allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes,
then gently remove from tins and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.