So, winter is here.
Let us all respond with a resounding "Bleh."
It snowed today. It was bitterly cold with a wind that cut through my wool winter coat.
In fact, I was feeling rather disgruntled with the day in general - it was dark by the time I left work and I realized I bought boots that were of different sizes (Two whole sizes apart. C'mon, Target.).
I came home and decided to bake some delightful pumpkin muffins to console myself. As their warm spicy smell filled the air, I began to be suddenly delight in the oncoming chilly season. Instead of: "Gah. Stupid layers and gloves and bulky clothing," I thought, "Yay! Cozy evenings with hot chocolate and cute tight-boot-skirt ensembles and peppermint mochas!"
It's amazing how a little pumpkin muffin and some (Silk) eggnog can brighten my mood.
Here are two delightful fall recipes from my favorite cookbook, Vegan with Vengeance.
The Best Pumpkin Muffins
The quintessential flavor of fall, neatly packaged in a delicious muffin!
Yields 1 - 1 1/2 dozen
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix!)
1/2 cup milk - soy, rice, or cow
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup chopped walnuts [optional]
Preheat oven to 400F. Grease muffin tins.
Mix dry and wet ingredients separately - pour the wet into the dry and mix.
Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. (I placed a walnut half on top of each muffin. Because I adore any kind of nuts.) Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
Maple Walnut Cookies
If you are as in love with the taste of maple as I am, you will not be able to stop eating these moist, delicious cookies.
Yields 3 dozen
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (try to avoid licking the measuring cup. fail.)
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons maple extract (Yum.)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk - rice, soy, or cow
2 tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot or tapioca starch)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
3 dozen walnut halves
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease cookie sheets.
Combine the oil, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla and maple extracts, and sugar into a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Add the milk and cornstarch and mix until cornstarch is dissolve and the mixture resembles caramel.
Add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix with a spoon until well combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts.
Drop spoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Press a walnut half into the center of each cookie. Back for 8 to 10 minutes, remove from oven, let sit for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Doin' It Ashley-Style:
- I usually substitute applesauce for at least half the oil, keeps the fat down and you don't even realize!
- Whole wheat pastry flour is a beautiful thing - much healthier than refined flour, but with all the fluffiness you could want.
- Substitution is not a dirty word. No molasses? Try honey. Don't have all the spices for pumpkin muffins? Use some pumpkin pie spice. (Which I liberally put in ANYTHING - cookies, waffles, pancakes, banana bread. Oh so good.)