It’s rare that I cook without fat, because fat is flavour. Fan that I am of butter and olive oil, I advocate using all natural fats, avoiding GMOs when possible and consuming all things in moderation. But sometimes it’s good to have alternatives. It’s good to know how you can swap something out in a recipe without loosing out on flavour.
This recipe for Super Healthy Pumpkin Muffins is a good lesson in ingredient substitution to compensate for dietary concerns. You can replace butter with apple sauce and swap out sugar for maple syrup or honey to help cut down on fat and refined sugar. If you want to take replace eggs, try ‘flax eggs’ – 1 tablespoon of flax seed blended with 1 tablespoon of boiling water – for each egg and make it vegan. The ‘flax egg’ is an easy, plant based egg substitute that still ensures good leavening and consistency.
For the most part these measures work well for most simple baking like muffins, quick breads and bars. In particular I’ve found them to be very successful with my Classic Banana Muffin recipe.
Fat and Texture
The thing to remember is that my beloved butter (and all fat in general) lends baked goods a soft, desirable texture by shortening gluten strands. It also releases steam while baking which gives your favorite muffin that tender mouthfeel you LOVE. Without it we have healthy, but chewier, results.
So, if you’re thinking you really need your butter Bro, I get it. They’ll still be Super (but not low-fat) Healthy Pumpkin Muffins! It will be our little secret.
Butter. It’s worth it.
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Low fat, low sugar, super healthy Pumpkin Muffins. Delicious and nutritious, these babies pack a whack of nutrition, PLUS spicy pumpkin goodness!
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (substitute: Spelt Flour)
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Spice (see link above)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (substitute: flax eggs, see note)
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey (substitute: brown sugar)
1/3 cup applesauce (substitute: melted butter, vegetable oil)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup trail mix
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice (optional)
Preheat oven to 350⁰F (or 175⁰C). Prepare muffin pan; either coat with non-stick spray or line with paper muffin liners. Reserve until needed.
Combine dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice – in a largish mixing bowl.
Whisk eggs in separate bowl until broken and creamy. Add maple syrup, applesauce and pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
Add wet mix to dry, gently folding with a spatula two or three times before adding the trail mix. Mix lightly until *just* combined.
Portion evenly into paper lined or non-stick muffin pans. Combine sugar and pumpkin spice in separate small bowl and sprinkle on top prior to baking (optional).
Bake at 350⁰F (or 175⁰C) for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes away clean. Cool. Eat. Pat yourself on the back for making something healthy.
Flax Eggs: 1 tablespoon of flax seed blended with 1 tablespoon of boiling water / egg. Blend with immersion blender until thick and smooth, about 1 minute. Flax eggs makes for an easy, plant based egg substitute in most simple baking.
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Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer, recipe blogger and Food Business Consultant. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn, ten years in catering, and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.