TGIF, Friends! You know, a co-worker and I were talking this week about how much we look forward to Fridays. Lately, you know we’ve had a lot of planned events on the weekends, which always gives you something to look forward to. This week, I was REALLY anticipating Friday’s arrival. I have something VERY special planned and some big surprises! Be sure to check back to find out:
- where I am
- what the big event is
- what kind of surprises are in store!
But for now, I would like to talk about a little something called pumpkin. I look forward to fall every year. I love summer, but as soon as the weather starts changing, I get so excited. Fall has the best colors, scents, and foods! As soon as the air starts to cool down, I start thinking about pumpkin… pumpkin lattes… pumpkin pie… pumpkin oatmeal… and pumpkin muffins!
Last fall, I created this recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I made them every single week, as did a number of my girlfriends. They were so good—and since I used no oil, less sugar than normal muffins, and whole wheat flour, I would even consider them semi-healthy? Usually, I wouldn’t mess with a good thing, but I really wanted to play with my muffin recipe and see if I could make it even better. I’ve been seeing other bakers using different types of flours in their baking, and I have been curious about Spelt Flour.
I started investigating and found this site, which goes into a lot of detail about spelt and spelt flour.
From The World’s healthiest Foods web site (www.WHFoods.org)
Spelt is an ancient grain that traces its heritage back long before many wheat hybrids. Many of its benefits come from this fact: it offers a broader spectrum of nutrients compared to many of its more inbred cousins in the Triticum (wheat) family. Spelt features a host of different nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin B2, a very good source of manganse, and a good source of niacin, thiamin, and copper. This particular combination of nutrients provided by spelt may make it a particularly helpful food for persons with migraine headache, atherosclerosis, or diabetes.
I also was curious about trying Spelt in my pumpkin muffins because I had heard it was a little lighter than whole-wheat flour.
And then, I thought, “If I am going to try and make these healthier… why not switch to dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet?” After all I love dark chocolate. Plus, it’s a mono-unsaturated fatty acid—the good kind of fat. And it has antioxidants. (Seriously, it does. I am not just using that line to justify eating the chips while I bake with them.)
The changes I made added up to some fabulous muffins. I didn’t think it was possible to make these better, but I think this might have been the best batch of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins I have made! Success!
I think the spelt did give them a bit of a lighter texture, although these muffins are more dense than a cake-type muffin. I loved the switch to dark chocolate, too.
I wish you could come over and enjoy coffee and a muffin with me right now! But… I will share the new revised recipe so you can go make them yourself! :)
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- 1 1/2 Cups of Spelt Flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (I use Libby’s)
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, applesauce, vanilla, water, and brown sugar. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until fully incorporated, but don’t overmix. Add in the chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Spoon into muffin tins sprayed with nonstick spray. (I don’t like to use muffin cups unless they are the foil nonstick kind. I find that with these muffins, too much muffin gets stuck to the paper cups.) Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
These muffins make great breakfasts, snacks, and desserts! Enjoy!
Now… be sure to check back and find out where I am later, and what surprises are in store! And if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook… you might just get a little preview… ;)