A Taste of Fall: Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Muffins

As seen on the Chicago Dietetic Association’s blog…to visit their website, click here.

This year in Chicago, fall arrived with a flourish, riding in on crisp winds with the promise of all things autumn. It’s precisely this time of year that makes me so thrilled that I am back in my sweet home of Chicago – something about the way the air smells and the way the leaves change just feels right.

It’s also precisely this time of year that I get an itch to decorate my life with pumpkins and add pumpkin to every recipe I come across. Pumpkin waffles, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin ice cream…the possibilities that this member of the squash family holds are innumerable.

I’ve actually been dying to create something pumpkin-y for several weeks now, but I forced myself to hold off. Usually I wait until October 1 to start celebrating the season, but by this morning I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I’ve always loved a good pumpkin muffin, so this morning I decided to spice up the old recipes and create something new. The product did not disappoint, and it’s packed with nutrients.

Pumpkin is filled with Vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient that can be found in abundance in sweet potatoes, mangoes, carrots, and squash (among others). According to a nutrition text book, Vitamin A helps prevent our eyes and skin from drying out and it promotes vision, growth, and overall immune function.

In my opinion, hefty doses of Vitamin A couldn’t come at a more perfect time of the year – right when it starts getting cold out. A half-cup serving of canned pumpkin will get you 300% of your daily Vitamin A needs – pretty impressive! It also has 5 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, and only 40 calories. Pumpkin is one of those foods that experts call very nutrient dense – it’s so good for you!

In this recipe, I took the benefits of pumpkin and added in some other healthy ingredients to complement the flavor. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

                                                    Doesn’t this capture the essence of autumn?

Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Muffins
A Nicci Brown Original Recipe

Yields: 24 delicious muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups Granulated Sugar
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Smart Balance Vegetable Oil (Healthy Swap: ½ cup plain Apple Sauce)
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 1½ 15-oz cans Pumpkin (22.5 oz Pumpkin)
  • 3 cups regular Flour (Healthy Swap: Whole Wheat Flour)
  • 1½ t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Ground Cloves
  • 1 t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 t. Ground Ginger
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 T. Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 c. Craisins (Swap raisins, chopped apricots, or chopped dates if you prefer)
  • 1 c. Chopped Walnuts
  • ½ c. Old Fashioned Oats

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix sugars, oil, eggs, and pumpkin until fully blended
  • In a smaller mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and flax seed
  • Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly
  • Add Craisins, walnuts, and oats to mixture, again mixing thoroughly
  • Line muffin tins with liners and ladle batter equally into the 24 liners (I use an ice cream scoop – way easy)
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly from muffin
  • Enjoy!

On a side note, these muffins freeze very well – easy to make ahead then defrost for an afternoon snack. Also, do not overcook these – they’ll dry out really fast.

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 1 muffin
Calories: 250
Total Fat: 9 grams
Sat Fat: 1 gram
Unsat Fat: 8 grams
Cholesterol: 35 mg
Sodium: 90 mg
Potassium: 45 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 52 grams
Dietary Fiber: 2.5 grams
Sugars: 35 grams
Protein: 4.5 grams
Vitamin A: 67% daily value
Vitamin E: 8% daily value
Iron: 7% daily value
Calcium: 2% daily value

Happy pumpkin hunting!

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Comments
One Response to “A Taste of Fall: Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Muffins”
  1. DB says:

    I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of some of these muffins and I can vouch for the fact that they are delicious! Thanks, Nicci!

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