I've tasted some pretty awful "healthy" muffins in my day so I've pretty much avoided baking anything with the word "vegan" in the title, thinking it would turn out bland, tasteless and with a weird overly dense "health-food" store consistency. But if these muffins are at all representative of the genre, then I am officially hopping on the vegan bandwagon! These are terrific--moist, fluffy, flavorful, and ... normal--just what you want out of a muffin. If you have a little bit of the vegan-phobia thing going on like I did, give these a try and you'll be a convert like me, for sure!
I've been curious about vegan baking for a while. So many of my friends' kids have allergies to eggs and dairy and I've always made the standard rice krispie treats that they're able to have, but thought that it would be nice to be able to bake regular goodies as well. Now I can. This recipe is from Averie Cooks, a wonderful baking blog that features down-to-earth vegan and non-vegan recipes that are reliable and home-cook friendly. Definitely check it out if you like to bake.
These muffins would be welcome anytime, but are particularly good for this time of year. And the recipe is pretty flexible too. Though you're not using butter of course, you have the choice of using canola, vegetable or coconut oil. I used canola but next time I will definitely try it with the coconut oil, as I've never baked with that yet but would like to try. For your other liquid, you also have the choice of using almond milk, soy, rice, coconut or even cow's milk too, if you want to go the non-vegan route. I used coconut milk, which worked really well and there was no taste of coconut, only pumpkin and of course, chocolate from the many chocolate chips I poured in!
Plus they're so easy to make--you don't even need a mixer. You just whisk the dry ingredients together, mix the wet ingredients together, stir them together, add the chips and then fill your muffin cups.
Twenty minutes later you're rewarded with a fresh muffins. The whole thing took me about 30 minutes from start to finish--
When I gave these to various different people (we have to give away a lot or we'd all weigh a thousand pounds!) I didn't tell anyone that they were made without eggs, butter or milk and everyone loved them and was surprised to find out that they were vegan. Vegan or not, these are one of the best pumpkin muffins I've ever tasted. Try them and let me know what you think!
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes anywhere from 1 dozen to 18 standard size muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Bake Time: 18-20 minutes
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup canola oil (you can use coconut or another vegetable oil)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk ( you could also use unsweetened vanilla almond milk, soy, rice or cow's milk)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels (you could also use regular sized chips, add another 1/4 cup)
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray a muffin pan with floured cooking spray or grease and flour the pan (in the original recipe, it says that if you use paper liners the muffins might stick to the liners)
2. Using a whisk, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
3. In another large bowl, using a whisk, mix together the sugars, pumpkin, oil, milk molasses and vanilla till well combined.
4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix just until combined. You don't want to over mix. Fold in the chips. The batter will be pretty thick. Spoon it into the muffin cups, filling about 3/4 to the top. Smooth the tops and bake for 18-20 minutes until the muffins rise up like a dome and a tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean (it's ok if there's a bit of chocolate on it since the chocolate will be all melty at this point).
5. Cool the muffins in the pan for 15 minutes and then remove and transfer to a rack to finish cooling. Store well wrapped or in an air-tight container for about 5 days (ours never lasted that long!)
Note: Recipe adapted with some substitutions and omissions from Avery Cooks, http://www.averiecooks.com/2013/09/vegan-chocolate-chip-pumpkin-muffins.html