By admin | October 31, 2011

BY AINE CARLIN

Halloween has always been one of my favorite times of year. It’s not that I particularly love to dress up – although in the right circumstances that can be fun – but more to do with the eerie ambience that seems to permeate the whole of October.

Okay, so that might be just my imagination running wild and seeing as we had a bit of an Indian summer here, that eeriness has been somewhat delayed. Thankfully now the weather is disgustingly fall-like with a dampness one can only associate a very wet autumn, i.e. miserable – just the way I like it. Granted, this kind of weather is not so great for ‘trick or treating’ but is rather fabulous for cozying up and watching scary movies.

Food is also so evocative when creating this particular spooky mood and while these muffins don’t look terrifying (plastic spiders aside), they exude a comfortingly spiced aroma and flavor that matches the ‘baton down the hatches’ mentality I have deliberately adopted this year.

There’ll be no fancy costume parties for us this All Hallows Eve. Instead you’ll find us carving pumpkins, drinking spiced cider, eating chili and, of course, oodles of these magnificently moist and warming pumpkin muffins. Throw in a scary movie (preferably a John Carpenter one) and I’m one very happy Halloween girl. Happy Halloween!

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins Recipe

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups white spelt flour
1/2 cup organic unrefined sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
1 cup pumpkin puree (see below)
1 tbsp plain soy yogurt
1/4 cup rice milk
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup date syrup
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/400 fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients, i.e. flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  3. In a small cup combine the milks and vinegar and allow to curdle.
  4. In a smaller bowl combine the puree, date syrup, molasses, yoghurt and oil. Then pour in the milk and carefully stir until it is all combined.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring it in using a folding action. Also at this stage add the poppy seeds. Be sure not to overwork the batter or your muffins will lose their lightness.
  6. Divide into muffin cases, about two thirds full – I used a combination of silicon and foil, as I was giving some away. If I was making them just for me and Hubbie I would use silicon to save on paper waste. In total I got six large muffins and six small.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Every oven is different and mine were ready at 25 mins so be sure to keep an eye on them, checking at 20 mins. Insert a toothpick into the centre and if it comes out clean they are ready!
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Although nice eaten warm the flavors will intensify when cooled. Keep in a container or even loosely covered for a few days. They will not dry out I assure you. This is day three for us and they were still perfect.

Pumpkin Puree Recipe

Ingredients:
1 small/medium pumpkin
1 cup water

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 fahrenheit.
  2. Halve the pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds, reserving them for later.
  3. Place the pumpkin flesh side down in a baking dish or roasting tin. Pour in the water. Roast in oven for an hour or until flesh is very soft.
  4. Carefully remove from dish and allow to cool.
  5. Scoop out all the soft flesh, transfer to a blender and blend until you get a puree like consistency.
  6. You should yield 2 cups/800 ml from a small pumpkin. Keep in fridge or freeze.

Photos: Aine Carlin

Aine Carlin is a vegan blogger who specializes in vegan recipes. She also has a keen interest in vegan fashion and is currently training to be a stylist where she hopes to promote cruelty free clothing and beauty. You can find more of her vegan recipes and vegan friendly fashion over at www.peasoupeats.com

For more great recipes from Aine, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

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