I like to start my day with a healthy breakfast so I know I will get at least one low-fat, high fiber meal in my day. Usually that means a bowl of cereal and skim milk. For some strange reason, despite all the baking I do, I usually don’t eat anything homemade for my week day breakfasts. Not sure how that happened, but you can’t always explain your eating quirks, right?
Lately Calvin has been eating homemade pumpkin muffins for breakfast. These have a whole can of pumpkin in twelve muffins and they also have bran cereal, whole wheat flour and not much sugar or fat. Not sure why it took me so long to realize that they fit my criteria of a healthy breakfast, with a vegetable serving to boot. Now Calvin is tired of the muffins and has moved on to something else, but I am enjoying my muffin every day.
I first found this recipe for pumpkin bran muffins on King Arthur Flour’s baking forum, The Baking Circle. I wish I could remember which member posted the recipe, so I could give credit. Whoever you are, it is a great recipe and I thank you for sharing it!
As a lot of bakers do, I made my own tweaks to the recipe. I changed the name to Pumpkin Spice Muffins from Pumpkin Bran Muffins, since bran in the title will turn some people off. The original muffins had only all-purpose flour, but I figured that if you are going for a healthy muffin, why not use mostly whole wheat flour? I added a bit of wheat germ to up the nutrition even more. You can certainly use all-purpose flour, as I note in the recipe. I also replaced the melted butter with canola oil to cut down on the saturated fat. I changed the spices to suit our tastes – adding more cinnamon and ginger and replacing allspice with nutmeg and cloves to mirror the spices we like in pumpkin pie. These are pretty spicy as written – feel free to cut back on the spices or change them to make the muffins your own.
The original recipe also had you refrigerate the batter overnight before baking them. The first time I made them, I somehow skipped over that detail completely. I had the oven preheated already and I really wanted muffins, so I baked them immediately and they were fabulous. If you want to have hot, fresh muffins, you could certainly follow the original recipe’s directions to refrigerate them overnight. Personally I like the muffins room temperature instead of warm, so I haven’t tried this.
You will have to buy a box of bran bud/”twig” cereal to make these. I found Kellogg’s All-Bran, which is what the recipe calls for. I imagine you can use any kind of bran bud cereal, but I don’t know if flakes would work. I don’t imagine they would ruin the recipe, but the results might be different. I only use the cereal in these muffins, but it keeps very well. I just close the top of the inner bag with a chip clip and keep the box in the back of the pantry until I am ready to make the muffins again
The original recipe had nutrition information, so I tried inputting my revised recipe into a couple of sites that will calculate the nutrition information. I got different results on each site, and I don’t know which one is accurate, so I am not including nutrition information here.
Even without the exact numbers, you can figure out some things with a calculator. There is about a teaspoon of oil in each muffin, along with 1/6th of an egg and a tablespoon of sugar, if you use a full teaspoon on top of each muffin. There is somewhere between 4 and 7 grams of fiber in each one (depends on which site you look at), a full day’s requirement (and then some) of vitamin A from the pumpkin and a fair bit of protein from the whole grains, buttermilk and eggs. When you break it down these are pretty healthy, and you know exactly what is in them, since you made them yourself.
I usually make a batch of these and put most of them in the freezer, as they are really best the day you make them. Rich usually takes a frozen one to work with him and it is thawed by the time the mid-morning munchies hit.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Adapted from a KAF Baking Circle member recipe
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup bran bud cereal (like Kellogg’s All-Bran)
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup buttermilk
1 cup white whole wheat flour*
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour*
2 tablespoons wheat germ*
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins (optional)
Granulated or coarse sugar for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup standard muffin pan and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, bran cereal, oil, sugar and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Stir in eggs and buttermilk.
In a separate bowl, combine white whole wheat flour, wheat germ, all-purpose flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt and raisins, if using. Stir to mix. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and stir gently to combine.
Fill muffin pans, using a heaping quarter cup of batter for each muffin. Cups will be almost full. These rise up to be beautiful, tall muffins, without spilling over. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins heavily with sugar (about 1 teaspoon per muffin), if you like.
Bake muffins for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin in the middle of the pan comes out with just a few moist crumbs, not batter. Cool muffins in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then remove them to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for a day or two, or freeze for longer storage.
*You can use a total of 1¼ cups all-purpose flour instead of the white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and wheat germ, if you prefer.