For those of us who literally wait all year to start feasting on all things pumpkin, the obsession is definitely real. But this is one addiction that actually comes with some mighty benefits to your health, as long as you're indulging in real pumpkin fruit that is. It turns out that everyone's favorite seasonal squash is jam packed with several really important nutrients for our bodies. For instance, in just 1 cup of pumpkin you get 200% of your RDA of Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene: a potent anti-aging antioxidant compound that helps protect the skin and the eyes in particular. And if you're still eating a banana after your workout to boost those potassium levels, you might want to switch over to pumpkin - it actually contains more of this critical electrolyte. Pumpkin is also high in dietary fiber, helping to keep digestion running smooth, and its high Vitamin C content will surely boost that immune system when it's up against the myriad of bugs making their rounds this time of year. But when it really comes down to it, pumpkin doesn't need much nutritional PR work done for it - it's delicious flavor, especially when combined with all those yummy spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, is more than enough to induce those cravings.
In honor of October we're sharing a pumpkin recipe that will truly get you in the mood for fall. These muffins are nice and moist, flavorful, and really do taste like pumpkin pie (hence the name). Oh, and did we mention they're vegan, gluten-free, and naturally sweetened with low glycemic coconut sap sugar? Yep! While the frosting is optional, we highly recommend you do not skip this part, as it really takes the recipe to the next level (who doesn't love gooey, drippy frosting?). The muffins are not sickeningly sweet, you'll notice they don't contain an abundance of sweetener. You can give the frosting a taste after blending and adjust the sweetener a bit there as you see fit. These are healthy enough to sneak one in for breakfast, or as an afternoon snack!
Happy October, and let the season of all things pumpkin fully commence!
Pumpkin Pie Muffins with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 8 medium muffins
Ingredients for the muffins
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp Himalayan crystal salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree (we used Farmer's Market brand organic canned pumpkin with BPA-free lining)
1/3 cup Dastony Stone Ground Coconut Butter, gently melted
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs unsweetened plant based milk - we used homeade raw almond milk
2 Tbs grade B maple syrup
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients for the frosting
1 cup young Thai coconut meat
1/2 cup cashews
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1.5 Tbs raw honey, or a vegan sweetener of choice - adjust to your own taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs cold pressed coconut oil, gently melted
1/3 cup young Thai coconut water to blend - the consistency should be thick but a bit saucy*
Instrutions for muffins
1. Prep your oven by pre-heating it at 350 F. Line your muffin tin with bleach - free muffin liners
2. Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then combine the two together.
3. Place muffin batter in muffin tin, filling the liners up about 3/4 of the way to the top
4. Bake at 350 F for 28-32 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean.
Let cool thoroughly before frosting and eating - the muffins will continue to cook a bit outside of the oven.
Instrutions for frosting
1. Blend all ingredients except for the melted coconut oil. Once smooth, pour in melted coconut oil and blend briefly again to incorporate. Can be chilled to stiffen it up before frosting muffins.
*Placing your frosting in the fridge prior to frosting your muffins will firm it up a bit if you prefer a denser texture.