pumpkin

Happy Thanksgiving

Pumpkin pie  | Hello Victoria

To my fellow Canadians out there (especially those who live elsewhere, like me) – happy Thanksgiving!

We had a little friendsgiving last night, with a couple and their sweet little baby girl. I made a couple of family favourite recipes, giving them a taste of our Canadian traditions.

They’d never tried pumpkin pie before, so it’s a good thing that this recipe from Once Upon a Chef delivered! No cracks to be found, whatsoever. I upped the cinnamon a little, added a bit of mace and cardamon, then used my own pie crust recipe (making sure I had enough to make all the little leaves). Top it off with some rum whipped cream (recipe from Ina Garten, I used icing sugar and reduced the amount a bit) because why make plain stuff when you can add spiced rum? Oh, and I probably made enough leaves to cover the whole pie and then some – apparently I can’t estimate…

Since I make pumpkin pie maybe once every three years, I never remember which recipe I used before – it’s always an adventure!

How did you guys celebrate?

‘Pumpkin’ S’More Cupcakes – Made With Sweet Potato!

Sweet potato s'more cupcakes | Hello Victoria

One of the many things that is hard to find in the UK is pumpkin purée. Unlike in North America, where “pumpkin spice” is in practically everything come autumn (seriously – it’s insane), the UK doesn’t really do pumpkin desserts. Suuure, you can get a pumpkin spice latte now at Starbucks, but pumpkin desserts are a quintessentially North American thing. Which makes sense – no thanksgiving, no pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin s'more cupcakes | Hello Victoria

So in the past, when I have come across canned pumpkin purée, I would buy a couple just for the future. You never know when you might need it! Update – my local little Waitrose has it in stock right now… whaaaatt?!

And of course, when I got the inclination to try these cupcakes, I was out of pumpkin and with no where to find it. So I thought about it, and realized that spiced sweet potatoes (yams in Canada) taste a whole lot like pumpkin pie. So I figured I could simply use some pureed sweet potato instead of pumpkin! And you know what? I couldn’t tell the difference!

Pumpkin s'more cupcakes | Hello Victoria

The original recipe for these cupcakes called for a graham cracker crust. Again, not something you can find here in the UK. However, my mom had sent me a box a while back, and I had juuuust enough left to crush up. You could substitute with digestive biscuits, but I don’t think it’s worth it. The graham crust is more flavour than texture, and without the honey graham taste, I don’t think it’s necessary. You could just omit that part.

Of course, then they wouldn’t be very “s’more” but hey, you do what you can! After all, s’mores are a very North American thing, just like pumpkin pie. Which makes finding graham crackers nigh impossible. Why do I suddenly get these inclinations to bake things with hard to find ingredients?! (more…)

Vegan Veggie Muffins

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

Is this a healthy muffin? Is there such a thing as a healthy muffin if it contains sugar?

I mean sure, you can make all sorts of paleo “blah-blah-naturally-sweetened-with-bananas” type things… but those aren’t reeaaallly muffins. Muffins are fluffy, slightly sweet, with a delicious crusty top. They’re basically cupcakes without the frosting, if we’re being honest with ourselves. They’re cupcakes we can feel better about eating.

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

Buuut, if there was such a thing as a healthy muffin – this would be it! It does contain sugar, but also has pumpkin purée, apple, carrot, and zucchini (courgette) inside. Not to mention pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

It might not seem like the kind of recipe for the beautiful sunny weather we’ve been having, but I think it works. The flavours may feel like fall (with the pumpkin, cinnamon, and cloves) but the fact that it’s healthy makes it feel like summer to me! I can’t be the only one who craves salad and other healthy foods once the weather heats up? Goodbye hearty and rich stews – hello BBQ!

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

In my humble opinion, if carrot cake is acceptable all year round, why not these?

So if you’d like a morning treat, or something to bring the office, and are looking for healthier options – why not try these? I can guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed.

Vegan Veggie Muffins | Hello VIctoria

Vegan Veggie Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 24 regular size muffins (20 large tulip case ones)

Ingredients

  • 450g all-purpose flour
  • 300g whole-wheat flour
  • 14g baking soda (bicarbonate)
  • 26g baking powder
  • 10g ground cinnamon (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 6g ground ginger
  • 6g salt
  • large pinch all-spice
  • large pinch ground cloves
  • pinch ground cardamon (optional)
  • 74g sunflower seeds
  • 74g pumpkin seeds (plus extra for topping)
  • 450g sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • 284g pumpkin purée
  • 224ml neutral oil (sunflower)
  • 116ml apple juice
  • 6ml vanilla extract
  • 134g grated zucchini (courgette)
  • 100g grated carrot
  • 92g grated apple

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C convection (340°F). Line 2 muffins trays with paper cases (24 total).
  2. In a large bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients except for the sugar, and seeds. Mix in the seeds, and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, along with all the wet ingredients. Stir in the grated veggies and fruit.
  4. Mix the wet into the dry, until no flour remains. (The mixture will be thick)
  5. Mix together a tablespoon of extra sugar with a sprinkling of cinnamon to dust the muffins with.
  6. Spoon the mixture evenly into 24 muffin cases, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and top with a few extra pumpkin seeds.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30+ minutes, turning partway through. Check with a toothpick to see if done.
  8. Cool on baking racks, then store in an airtight container.

Notes

If you are using the larger tulip paper cases, then you'll only get about 18-20 muffins, and may have to bake longer.

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