Autumn is in full force here in Toronto. The streets are a riot of reds, yellows and oranges as the leaves on the boulevard trees start to change and pool on the ground. Balmy evenings are done for good and Kona's evening walks now require a cozy hoodie. Maybe it's something in the air but this year I have found myself totally in love with the autumn. I know it's super trendy to "fall in love with fall" and all that, but for the most part I'm not a trendy girl. I live in a bubble that includes food, my dog and yoga. Nothing else really makes it in there, I couldn't tell you what movies are playing or who the "hip" artist is on the radio. I can't even really tell you much about fashion, unless of course it's athletic clothing or for my dog, that's totally different. However, in saying off the of that that, this year for some reason or another I have jumped on the fall bandwagon; I'm taking pictures of Kona playing in the leaves and I'm cooking with pumpkin. I know what you are thinking "Alexandra, you don't believe in food rules. What are you doing?" I hate to disappoint, but this post is totally autumn.
Now if I am going to follow the status quo I am going to go full force. This week's recipe not only includes pumpkin but cranberry as well. These moist muffins are a perfect late night snack after going for a chilly evening walk. I've used canned pumpkin, but you could also roast fresh pumpkin if you have some around. If you are using canned, please make sure that it isn't pumpkin pie filling since it already includes sugar and spices. In terms of substitutions you can use half whole wheat flour to make this a bit healthier. If you are watching your sugar intake feel free to use all Splenda instead of sugar. If you don't have brown sugar on hand you can use white sugar. If you hate cranberries you can use raisins or even chocolate chips.
Unfortunately at the moment I am trying to drop a few "patio pounds". I decided to make some changes to this recipe to reduce some of the calories. I have cut the fat down in this recipe by adding apple sauce, however if you aren't watching your waistline you could use butter instead of apple sauce. I wanted to further cut calories so I used part Splenda instead of all sugar. If you don't use artificial sweeteners or if you are less concern about caloric content than I am you can use all sugar and the results will be delicious. It's important to know that the shelf life of your baked goods will be reduced when you reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe. Sugar is a natural preservative, so if you omit it entirely and use an artificial sweetener instead make sure to store your muffins in the fridge so that they don't go moldy.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
0.25 Cup Butter, Room Temperature
0.5 Cup Sugar-Free Apple Sauce
1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
0.5 Cup Brown Sugar
0.25 Cup Splenda
1.5 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 TSP Baking Soda
1 TSP Baking Powder
1 TSP Cinnamon
0.25 TSP Ground Cloves
0.25 TSP Ground Allspice
0.5 TSP Salt
0.5 Cup Dried Cranberries
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
Cream together your butter and sugar
Add in Splenda, eggs, apple sauce and pumpkin
In a separate bowl mix together the remaining ingredients except for the cranberries
Combine your dry and wet ingredients, stirring until just combined
Add in cranberries, stir until incorporated
Fill 12 prepared muffin cups
Bake at 375 for about 15 to 20 minutes
You will know that your muffins are cooked when you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.