Halloween Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

We love Halloween in our house, and we go all out every year with the decorations and the food. We dress up and take our son out to trick-or-treat in the early evening and we have party food waiting for us at home, even if we’re not having anyone around. For me, of course, the food is very important, and it shouldn’t just be for the kids. I’ve created some more grown-up muffins that aren’t as sweet as others and that are topped with vegan cream cheese (I got mine from Sainsbury’s Free From range). With their delicate hints of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg they are certainly aimed more at the adult pallet, but that doesn’t mean the little ones can’t enjoy them as well. They also use the buckwheat flour to keep them gluten-free. Give them a try this year, or at any time over the autumn, just remember to keep them refrigerated.


Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 35 minutes.
Makes 12-14 muffins.

Gluten Free.

Ingredients:
350-400g diced pumpkin flesh (half a small pumpkin)
1 tbsp flaxseeds (I used ground)
4 tbsp cold water


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Dry Ingredients:
300g buckwheat flour
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
250g unrefined light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground nutmeg

Wet Ingredients:
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g vegan margarine, softened
300ml almond milk
2 tbsp golden syrup

30g pumpkin seeds, plus extra to decorate
1 tub vegan cream cheese.
You will also need a 12-hole muffin tin and spooky Halloween muffin cases.


Method:

Preheat the oven to gas 6/200C/400F
Cook the pumpkin flesh by either steaming it or putting it in the microwave with a little water and a loose lid. Microwave on 80% power for 6 minutes. Steam for 8-10 minutes until the flesh is soft. Drain and set aside to cool.
Mix the flaxseeds with the water and leave for 10 minutes to form a gloopy mixture. Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and combine, then add the wet ingredients, including the flaxseed mixture and the drained pumpkin and blend together with a whisk until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the pumpkin seeds at the end.
Line your muffin tin with the cases and spoon the mixture into each one until about half a centimetre below the top.
Cook at the bottom of the oven for 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Allow to cool and then either pipe or spoon the cream cheese on top. Decorate with some more pumpkin seeds.


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