Putting the Spice in Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Ahh, summer - the season of beach visits, swimming pools, and summer produce. I just love summer produce... watermelon, lots of fresh berries, pumpkin... wait, what?! To me, any sort of pumpkin food just screams out AUTUMN! Also Harry Potter, but that's another issue entirely. But when I unearthed two cans of pumpkin in the pantry, for some reason I just felt like using them. It's not that I'm eager for it to be autumn or anything; don't get me wrong, I love looong summers that seem to go on forever. But the idea of eating something flavored with spiced pumpkin just appealed to me, so I booted up ye olde laptop and hit the web for a good, simple pumpkin bread recipe.

Then I decided I wanted to try a vegan pumpkin bread, and I figured it would be a pretty easy foray into vegan baking. So I chose the Pumpkin Spice Bread recipe over at Susan's Fatfree Vegan Kitchen blog. Even though her gorgeous photos showed little loafs of pumpkin bread in adorable Christmas-themed loaf pans and wrapped with various holiday-themed paraphernalia, that didn't deter me. I followed Susan's recipe pretty closely, although I omitted the pecans/walnuts since I have a sister who's allergic to all nuts. I also chose to use the 1/4 cup of canola oil and 1/4 cup of applesauce combo instead of doing a 1/2 cup of applesauce, because I didn't mind adding a little extra fat into the recipe. Also, since I didn't have any Ener-G Egg Replacer, I used a tablespoon of cornstarch and three tablespoons of water in place of that. I then decided to make a dozen muffins instead of a full loaf of bread, mostly to cut down on baking time and to save a little electricity. The batter looked lovely - colorful and rich - in the muffin pans.

Although Susan's recipe said the muffins would probably take around 15 minutes to bake, mine took somewhere around 23ish minutes. Of course, I didn't really mind since that meant I had more opportunities to taste the batter after sticking a knife in the muffins to see if they were done! I've got to say, that batter packs a kick. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger makes for a really spicy pumpkin spice muffin! As the muffins baked and I did my clean-up, I tasted the batter (because you OBVIOUSLY are pretty much required to do that so you don't waste the scrapings in your mixing bowl!) and the flavor of the spices really surprised me. But as the muffins baked, the pumpkin flavor seemed to come through, and by the time they were finished the pumpkin and the spice flavors just complemented one another quite nicely. When they came out of the oven, they were a gorgeous color and I loved how they'd risen in nice little dome shapes.

Overall I was quite pleased with this recipe. Susan warns that if you omit the oil entirely and use all applesauce, the bread will be heavier and more "gummy" in the middle. Even though I did use the oil, my muffins have a bit of a tiny gummy center, which you can see in the first picture. I think they actually could have used a minute or two more in the oven. But they're delicious and spicy and made for a really great breakfast on this hot summer morning, and I was pleased that my egg substitution worked out just fine. When my sister saw the muffins lying on the stove, she said "Ooh, these look delicious!" and then, a second later after biting into one, followed up with "Ooh, these ARE delicious!"

Two thumbs up for this vegan pumpkin bread recipe!

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