{Healthier, Vegan} Pumpkin Muffies

I love Panera. “Meet me at Panera Bread” is one of my favorite phrases to hear. Perhaps it’s a nostoglia thing (I ate a lot of Panera growing up) but p-bread forever has a soft spot in my heart. Those sourdough rolls. The baguettes. Their Strawberry Poppyseed Salad. Dat soup. The bread bowls. The bagels. The Med Veg sandwich with the cilantro-jalepeño hummus. The fact that my bestie Sarah Cath worked there. The unlimited in-house coffee refills. I could go on forever.

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When it comes to the baked goods Panera has to offer, Pumpkin Muffies also have a special place in my heart. To me, pumpkin muffies represent surprises my dad would bring me if he had grabbed lunch there during work, a (welcomed) treat on rare school mornings, or special weekend breakfast noms. I remember the excitement I’d feel every time I’d get that signature brown paper bag with that Panera criss-cross pattern and could see the bottom had a slight greasy oil circle at the bottom. At that moment, I knew: it was a Pumpkin Muffie, just waiting to give me a powder sugar mustache.

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Fluffy, sweet, pumpkin-y, and with those strange powder sugar balls, these babies are incredible and I love them unconditionally. I don’t quite know why I’ve never tried to make them at home before, but yesterday morning for whatever reason I just needed to do so. And that’s just what I did.

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I made mine with oat flour because it results in super soft baked goods, which is exactly what I was aiming for, and they’re whole grain, so they feel less junk-y than the original ones. The muffins themselves are super fluffy, almost bouncy, cinnamon-y, and are a bit less sweet than the Panera version.

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I used chia seeds + water as an egg substitute/nutritional booster, but you can also use flax, applesauce, or an egg if that’s more your style. The topping? That’s still pure sugary goodness. And that is totally fine.

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How do you make them muffies you ask? I placed a biscuit cutter on my baking sheet, put two generous spoonfuls of batter into it, allowed to batter to kind of adhere to its shape for a hot second, then lifted the biscuit cutter and repeated this 12 times until I had 12 muffies. You could also use a circular cookie cutter, pipe in a circle using a wide-tipped pastry bag or plastic bag with a large corner end snipped off, or do your best and try to spoon the batter into circular shapes. It’s up to you. Even if you bake them in a muffin tin as regular muffins, they will still taste delicious, don’t you worry. 😉

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Level: Easy

Ingredients – Muffies:

  • 2 1/4 cups oat flour (all purpose would also work)
  • 1/2 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seed + 2 tablespoons water (can also use 3 tablespoons apple sauce)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of salt

Ingredients – Topping:

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small bowl, combine almond or soy milk and vinegar. Set aside and allow to curdle for at least 10 minutes. In another small bowl, combine chia seeds + flax seeds and water and set that aside too.

3. In a large bowl, combine oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk until well combined.

4. Add canned pumpkin, sugar, almond milk + vinegar mixture, and chia seeds + water into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Use a spatula or spoon to fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

5. Place a silicone baking pad or sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place a biscuit cutter or circular cookie cutter down on the sheet. Place two generous spoonfuls of batter into the biscuit cutter. Allow the batter to form to the shape of the circle. Lift the biscuit cutter, and repeat 12 times until you’ve made 12 circular muffies.

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6. Place muffies in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until puffy, fragrant, bouncy upon touch, and a toothpick placed in the center of the muffies comes out clean.

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7. Place muffies on a cooling rack and allow to cool. Meanwhile, combine powder sugar and brown sugar in a small bowl and mix together.

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8. Once muffies have cooled, sprinkle topping all over them. I recommend doing this right once muffies are COMPLETELY cool, and/or preferably right before eating, otherwise the powder sugar may absorb into the muffies and they’ll look shiny and weird. Store in plastic baggies or an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. These also freeze and reheat well. Especially in the toaster. Yummies = when you have toaster muffies. Hooray! Muffies all week long. Happy Monday everyone :)!

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Pumpkin-Apple Spice Fruit Roll-Ups !

Another beautiful fall day = another reason to put fall flavors in EVERYTHING. Fall is my favorite flavor season. I practically live for squashes and sweet potatoes and root vegetables of all sorts so when they are at their peak of bounty and freshness I am basically a full-grown kid in a vegetable-candy store. Do you know what else I love almost as much as fall veggies? Apples. Which also happen to gracefully be at their freshness peak in fall. C’mon now – one bite of any fresh fall apple and you know exactly what I’m talking about. Fall apples just taste different. Aka fresher. More like the orchard. Juicier. Tangier. Sweeter. More magical. Fresher. All at once. They are perfect.

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So let’s hear it for fall produce. #gofiber. But you know what else is wonderful about fall? PIE SEASON. To quote my sister, “pie fixes everything,” and in our family we believe that all life moments are pie-appropriate. However, in the fall, they seem to pop up more on menus and in homes, particularly those that follow the fall-flavor theme. Pumpkin and apple are regular Thanksgiving favs, and all-year-round favorites for me.

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So why not – when presented with a dehydrator theme for September for The Recipe Redux – combine all the flavors of apple and pumpkin into a yummy, portable snack that’s junk free and nutritious? And thus, Pumpkin-Apple Spice Fruit Roll Ups were born. Inspired by pie, made healthy and delicious by nature/you and your oven. These are easy as, well, pie, but a great way to give you a glucose boost in the afternoon without making you feel sluggish and icky. They’re perfect study or hiking snacks and make magnificent adorable additions to lunchboxes. What they lack in flourescent color, they make up for in flavor. You won’t regret making these, I promise.

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{A side note about The Recipe Redux – the Recipe Redux is a super cool network of bloggers who make healthier, delicious recipes and submit them into contests every month based on a theme chosen by the group. It is the only recipe contest founded by registered dietitians ! I’m inspired by many of the blogs and hope you’ll creep around the links below and find some other good stuff. I personally am excited to see the other dehydrator recipes and I’m VERY thrilled to be a part of it this month and looking forward to entering in months to come!}

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Back to the roll-ups: they’re incredibly simple to make. The hardest part is waiting for them to dehydrate in your oven while they fill your entire house with magnificent spicy-sweet-pie aromas. If you can hold out for those 3 hours though, you’ve got yourself a week’s worth of delicious goodies at your fingertips. You can do it. Just remember, pie [flavored things] fix everything.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Level: easy

Ingredients:

  • 3 large apples
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

Directions:

1. Peel apples and chop into small cubes. Place in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (about 3 tablespoons) and cook until very tender, about 20-30 minutes. You could also do this in the microwave, using a microwave safe bowl and cooking increments of 2-3 minutes, checking tenderness after each increment.

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2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Cool apples in the refrigerator, then place in a food processor or blender with the canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Blend until a smooth baby-food-like purée.

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3. Line a baking sheet with a sil-pat or parchment paper. Pour apple-pumpkin mixture over the baking sheet and using a spatula, spread mixture to make a thin, even coat covering the pan.

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4. Place in the oven for 2.5-3 hours, until the fruit-roll ups look leathery, putty-like and have darkened a bit. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

5. Use a kitchen shears or sharp paring knife to cut into strips or rolls. If you want to make roll-ups with the traditional peel-off wrapper component and everything, place first transfer the whole fruit leather from the sil-pat onto a clean sheet of wax paper, then cut into one-inch strips with a kitchen sheers. Roll up and place in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy~!

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Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding

Now that it’s mid-September, it’s officially time to put pumpkin and pumpkin spice in everything you eat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – pumpkin is practically the best thing that’s every happened to the culinary world. I’m obsessed with it. I honestly will eat canned pumpkin with cinnamon and a spoon. People think this is weird. I know it’s delicious.

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But canned pumpkin – besides providing a delicious fall-like umami flavor – is also a great way to bump up the veggie content, fiber, potassium and beta-carotene of basically everything. I use it a lot for both sweet and savory dishes and can’t wait to share many of them right here on kbaked.com.

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But first – let’s talk breakfast. I love chia seed pudding. I also love pumpkin. Genius idea: put them together! Add pumpkin pie spice! Eat what tastes like pumpkin pie filling in a bowl for breakfast! Bonus: it’s healthy! Chia seeds are known power foods filled with healthy-fats, fiber and omega-3s, and make an excellent pudding if allowed to plump up in the presence of a little liquid. This works with almond or any other milk, and the pumpkin only makes it thicker, creamier, and more scrumptious. Add as much or as little sweetener as you like. Maple syrup keeps the fall flavor profile on point, but anything will do! Heck, I’d even eat it without any sweetener. I.love.pumpkin.

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Anyways, make this the night before. Prepping takes like 46 seconds, and when you wake up all you have to do is take it out of the fridge and eat it. It could not be easier. In fact, it may be the easiest recipe on kbaked.com to date. Enjoy this delicious, healthy treat as breakfast, dessert, or a snack. It will keep you full and happy for at least a few hours, as would pair nicely with a pumpkin spice beverage if you’re into excess like I am. Happy fall and happy eats! xoxo, kbakes.

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Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 0 minutes, but should be left to chill for at least 2-3 hours

Level: Could not be easier.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener of choice (I suggest maple syrup or brown sugar; sugar, agave, or honey would also work quite well)

Directions:

1. Combine chia seeds, pumpkin, almond milk, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Mix well.

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2. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight until the pudding has firmed up and become pudding-y. That’s a real word I promise.

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3. Top with sweetener and any other toppings you may desire (shredded wheat, nuts, or whipped cream if you’re feelin’ naughty ;-)) and EAT.

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