Thanksgiving Morning Chocolate, Fruit and Nut Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins for Thanksgiving morning.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins for Thanksgiving morning.

Photo by Hannah Kaminsky

You may remember that when I was in Portland for the Portland VegFest, I got to bake with Grant Butler, who is food writer (and fellow vegan) of the Oregonian. Grant told me to gathera lot of holiday recipes for his column. We  talked about how the vegan quick breads and muffins that would be good for Thanksgiving, and I offered up my updated Chocolate-enhanced Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins as a faster alternative to a lonter baking quick breads.  Grant liked the idea, and I got to spend a few fun hours in his home kitchen making these muffins with him. Obviously I bake a lot in my small but efficient NYC apartment kitchen. Grant, on the other hand, has a fabulous kitchen with plenty of space. His spice/ condiment cabinet fascinated me. Not a drawer, folks – Grant has a cabinet. Also, as this is Portland, OR, the attractive black countertops are made from recycled materials. We not only made – and tasted the muffins that morning, we made a How To baking video while doing so.

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Pecans

Makes 12 standard size muffins

This update to the quick and easy Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins in More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally  is the result of my two granddaughters; Georgia and Cecile’s idea to add chocolate chips before baking. (All Costigans think chocolate makes everything better so I put some into the batter too!) I believe that taking 5 minutes to cook the whole cane sugar and spices into the pumpkin puree makes the best tasting muffins, and the puree can be made days ahead and even frozen. Because homemade pumpkin puree is often watery, cooking it first will evaporate extra liquid. Note that canned pumpkin puree from Farmer’s Market brand is  excellent.If you are pressed for time, use their organic pumpkin pie mix.



For the Spiced Pumpkin Puree: This makes more than you need for the recipe. Stir extra puree into oatmeal or grits or blend into smoothies.

  • 2 cups unsweetened canned pumpkin purée
  • 2/3 cup organic whole cane sugar (such as Sucanat), or maple
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

For the batter:

  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, divided
  • 2/3 cup soymilk or almond milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 heaping cup cooled Spiced Pumpkin Purée
  • 1/4 cup mild tasting extra virgin olive oil, or any neutral vegetable oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans (optional)


Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Oil a 12-cup standard muffin tin including the top.

To Make the Spiced Pumpkin Puree : Combine all the ingredients in a medium skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture comes to a low boil. Lower the heat and simmer 3 to 4 minutes, until the purée is dark and shiny, slightly thickened, and the sugar has dissolved.

Remove from the heat and spoon into a shallow dish to cool. Refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 1 month. Use at room temperature.

To make the batter: In a small bowl, mix the soy or almond milk with 2 teaspoons of the apple cider vinegar. Set aside for 10 minutes to clabber.

Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to the strainer. Stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl.   Whisk to aerate the ingredients. Stir  1/3 cup of the chocolate chips

Combine the Spice Pumpkin Purée, oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and the remaining 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in medium bowl. Add clabbered milk and whisk until well blended. Pour into dry mixture and stir with a spatula only until the batter is smooth and no traces of flour remain. Stir the cranberries into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly, filling each cup 3/4 full. An ice cream scoop makes filling the cups easy. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with the remaing chocolate chips and a few pieces of the pecans.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until muffins are golden and a tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.

Cool the tin on a rack for 5 minutes. Carefully run a thin knife between the muffins and the inside of the cups, and lift each muffin onto the rack to cool completely.

Store at room temperature in a tightly closed tin for a day or freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost uncovered.

Fran's Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Chocoalate Chips

Adapted from More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, (Book Publishing Company 2006 by Fran Costigan)

Chocolate inspiration from Georgia and Cecile Costigan and Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts (Running Press, 2013 by Fran Costigan)


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