Tis the season…for PUMPKIN!

It’s a common misconception among Americans that muffins are healthier than cupcakes, and that those made with fruits and vegetables, like blueberries, bananas, zucchini, carrots or pumpkin, are somehow again more nutritious…WRONG. Sadly the standard pumpkin muffin made with butter, sugar and white flour is around 320 calories, 13g fat and 60g carbs, 40g of which come from sugar! Starbuck’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin packs in 420 calories! Don’t kid yourself…this isn’t the breakfast of champions, and certainly not the workout or brain-fuel to permit loved ones to nosh on their way to work/school/gym.

Sadly cupcakes are routinely distinguished from muffins by the stylish crown of sugary frosting on top. Thus, a cupcake is more or less an unfrosted cupcake, right?

But, before you rule out muffins for an eternity. Permit me an opportunity to revamp that rotten recipe. Bake up some delicious high protein gluten free pumpkin muffins and avoid the guilty tummy ache. By replacing standard nutrient-devoid glutinous white flour with protein-rich beans, reducing overall fat via a lesser amount of monounsaturated fatty acid-rich coconut oil and replacing all refined sugar with calorie-free stevia, rich flavorful molasses and a few dates for chewy sweetness.

*As always, please choose organic ingredients for YOUR health!
3 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
2 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt
2 tsp 100% pure stevia extract (no fillers!)
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour
1/4 cup pea protein powder
2″ piece ginger, peeled + chopped
2 cups pumpkin puree (can also use butternut squash or sweet potatoes)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line or spritz muffin tin with coconut oil. Sift together dry ingredients into large bowl: gf flour, protein powder, spices, baking soda, salt and stevia and set aside.  Place ginger, pumpkin, coconut oil, honey and vanilla in blender and puree until no lumps remain (about 2 minutes). Add egg yolks and pulse in. Scrape sides of blender as needed. In separate bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Pour pumpkin mixture over flour mixture and stir with wooden spoon until moistened. Gently stir in egg whites.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes for 12 large muffins. For mini-muffins, bake 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat when wooden toothpick inserted in muffin center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove then cool completely on wire racks. Store in airtight container. Good for 1 week.

Add variety to your healthy pumpkin muffins using about 1/3 cup total of the following individually or in combination. Choose to mix into batter before placing into muffin cups, or sprinkle on top after placing batter into cups.
1. Pistachios, unsalted. (Recently discovered delicious Yurosek Farms Pistachios grown here in California on a family farm. They’re remarkably fresh & flavorful!)
2. Walnuts, unsalted (Pumpkin Walnut Raisin is a classically celebrated combo for late Fall).
3. Raisins (Try dark or golden raisins, or dried unsweetened cherries or cranberries). Dice them into smaller pieces + a lil can go a longer way!
4. Cocoa Nibs, crushed into tiny pieces (These rich bitter bits amplify the sweetness of pumpkin batter).
5. 85% Cocoa Dark Chocolate, chopped into tiny chunks (As with the nibs, recommend dark chocolate for the bitter contrast, as well as to maintain low sugar content of recipe).
6. Pumpkin Seeds, unsalted (Crush seeds with 1/4 tsp cayenne, dash salt & dash stevia. Sprinkle on top for spicy, salty, crunchy topped muffins).