Fall is officially here! (Insert dancing.) Can you tell that I’m excited? Summer is such a stagnant time for me in terms of motivation and creativity. I can’t relate to people who feel free and happy when the weather is hot and sunny. I feel more like an Eeyore than my usual Tigger personality. With the change in season comes a renewed pep in my step and an increase in motivation. I also want to spend time in the kitchen again! Seriously, there were a few weeks in August when I lost motivation to train for my fall marathon, questioned whether or not I should even have a food blog if I don’t even want to cook, and had a bit of a not-quite-quarter century crisis. Thankfully, I have patient friends who brought me back down to earth. And then, just a few weeks later, the temperature started to drop, the leaves began their shift from bright green to deep red, and my whole being breathed a sigh of relief.
The cooler temperatures bring feelings of coziness and togetherness, as well as cravings for warming meals. The deep bowls of soup and stew that we shun all summer long finally appeal. Never-ending cups of chai tea while curled up with a good book sound like a good way to while away an afternoon.
I also feel as though cooler weather and pumpkin spice go hand in hand. Sure, the humble combination has been appropriated by commercial interests in recent years, but if we can look just beyond that and appreciate pumpkin spice for what it is at its essence, we can enjoy it in all manner of foods and beverages all season long. I’m kicking things off with a pumpkin spice apple muffin recipe that practically sings ‘fall.’
These muffins are entirely vegan, easy to whip up, and use everyday pantry ingredients that you probably already have on hand. They also lend themselves well to substitutions. Not a fan of raisins? Feel free to use cranberries or dates. Allergic to nuts? Skip the topping, or top with chopped dark chocolate instead. No coconut sugar on hand? Use brown sugar. They are also ultra moist and bursting with flavour. They make the perfect breakfast component (try one with a smoothie for a complete meal) or on-the-go snack.
I hope that you enjoy the recipe! It’s good to be back. 🙂
Pumpkin Spice Apple Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping
Time: 15 minutes prep + 30 minutes baking
- 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh- if canned, ensure that can is BPA-free)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup light spelt flour or whole spelt flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 medium crisp, sweet apple (i.e. Gala or Honeycrisp), peeled and finely chopped
- 2/3 cup dried fruit (raisins, chopped pitted dates, or cranberries all work well)
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, or grease with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Avoid over-mixing. The batter will be quite runny.
- Fold in the apple and the dried fruit.
- Add 1/3 cup of batter into each muffin cup. Top with a couple of pecan halves and a sprinkle of coconut sugar. If you have more batter than is needed for 12 muffins, you may pour it into a small ramekin or oven-proof glass container and make a mini cake for yourself. 🙂
- Bake until golden, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean, 27-35 minutes.