I developed this recipe after receiving a request from a friend with help finding a dairy-free pumpkin muffin recipe. More specifically, a dairy-free pumpkin recipe using something called powdered pumpkin. I had never heard of such of thing so naturally, I was fascinated. Yes, I know I’m a dork when it comes to cooking… You don’t have to rub it in, it’s not nice!
Unfortunately, there isn’t much online about powdered pumpkin, let alone how to use it in baked goods. I’m not talking about that powdered pumpkin seed stuff that you can buy as a supplement. Because that’s what the lady at my local health food store assumed I was talking about. She was like, “Oh you want that stuff that was on Dr. Oz!”. As a person who never watches Dr. Oz, I said, “Maybe I really don’t know”. When she handed me a small bottle of pills for $24.99 I knew something was wrong. Nope, I wasn’t able to find powdered pumpkin anywhere locally. I ended up ordering a 4 oz. pouch of it on Amazon. I should’ve just ordered it from there to begin with instead of searching high and low at local shops. It’s not terribly expensive but if you need to use much of it it could be. Four ounces cost me just under $8.
My understanding is that powdered pumpkin is essentially dehydrated, pulverized pumpkin flesh. It can be reconstituted as a replacement for canned pumpkin (although to me this would be a very cost-INefficient way to go about things unless you dehydrated your own pumpkin), or added to protein shakes, baked goods, etc. It actually has a good amount of protein in it and a very nice flavor so I am already day-dreaming of a million things to add it to.
I wasn’t too sure how potent this ingredient would be and first assumed it must be something like a spice or seasoning. I guess my mind went there because it associated pumpkin with pumpkin pie spice but let me assure you, it is a whole different thing. I ended up needing much more of this product that I initially though. What little I did read about it suggested that, in baked goods, powdered pumpkin would replace part of the volume of flour used in the recipe. I ended up using the pumpkin powdered along with unbleached, all-purpose flour (my go-to). This worked out very well. I started out using part whole wheat flour but I found that I wasn’t getting a good rise on the muffins (none at all actually- they were sinking right in the middles). I played around with my leavening to try and remedy this problem. I started out using only baking soda and they sunk. Then I added some baking powder to supplement the baking soda and they sunk. So I went back to baking soda only and replaced the whole wheat flour with all purpose and they ended up with cute little domed tops, hallelujah! I was out of pumpkin powder by that point so I sure was happy that “the third time was the charm”. I am almost sure that the pumpkin powder had something to do with the rising issue because it is not actually flour and therefore doesn’t form gluten. So the structure must come entirely from the flour and be strong enough to compensate for the pumpkin powder. Lazy pumpkin powder. I wonder if using bread flour in these would help. Hmmmm… Food for thought indeed. I think if I had more time and more pumpkin powder, I could have played with the leavening and flour more to make the whole wheat flour work out in the batter because I do so love the flavor that it lends to quick breads. So if you want to, go for it! And do let me know what you figure out! 😉
Ok, so I had the dry ingredients figured out now onto this no-dairy business. Luckily Sara (my friend from whom all of this stemmed!), can eat eggs so that made my life a bit easier. I had to find a replacement for milk and for butter. Almond milk and coconut milk fit the bill. I chose to “sour” the almond milk, making it what you could consider a buttermilk substitute. I used vanilla almond milk simply because I like it and thought, why not? But you could certainly use plain. If you use plain, add an extra 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract to the wet ingredients. If you chose to use unsweetened almond milk, your muffins will be a bit less sweet. You could then consider adding a bit of extra brown sugar but then that might defeat the purpose of your using unsweetened almond milk to begin with, lol.
I had never baked with coconut oil before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. From what I’ve read you’re supposed to be able to substitute it for butter. I LOVE the taste of it in these muffins. You don’t necessarily know that there’s a coconut in them but it adds a nice exotic something-something. Almost like you’re eating some sort of Indian dessert due to the earthiness of the pumpkin and spiciness of the ginger, allspice and cinnamon. Yum. I filled my muffin cups (IS that the right term? I feel weird calling them muffin holes…) just about full the first time and the batter spread a bit more than I would have liked as it baked. I found that (besides the whole leavening issue I talked about before) the muffins looked best and oh-so-cute when I filled the cups only 3/4 of the way full.
I couldn’t resist adding something NOT dairy-free to half of my muffins just for fun- chunks of cream cheese. Into six of my unbaked muffins, I pressed a small cube of cream cheese which is a tasty surprise as you bite in. It was yummy but I honestly feel that these are just as good without it. So don’t feel bad that you can’t indulge in that Sara. I hope that you try these and enjoy them! Sorry they use more pumpkin powder that either of us initially thought but I think it is necessary for the pumpkin flavor to come through.
By the way, I think these muffins would be wonderful without the pumpkin powder at all if you can’t come by any. Just use extra all-purpose flour in it’s place.
Pumpkin-Ginger Muffins with Streusel Topping (Dairy-Free)
Makes 16-18 Muffins (depending on how full you fill your pans)
Ingredients for the Muffins:
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
- 1 cup, -1 tbsp. vanilla almond milk
- 1 ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup pumpkin powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. fine kosher or sea salt
- ½ tbsp. ground ginger
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground allspice
- 4 ounces coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups packed dark brown sugar
- ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Ingredients for the Topping:
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. (1/2 ounce) coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of fine kosher or sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in the center position.
- Spray two standard muffin tins with either baking spray or cooking spray.
- In a 1-cup measuring cup, place the vinegar and fill to the 1 cup mark with the almond milk (to make one total cup in volume). (NOTE: Do NOT leave out vinegar- it is needed to neutralize the baking soda in this recipe). Stir briefly and allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes. It may be slightly clumpy after this time. That is OK, you are “souring” the milk.
- In a small bowl, mix together all of the topping ingredients with your fingers until it resembles coarse sand.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, pumpkin powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and allspice.
- In another large bowl whisk together the eggs, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract and almond milk mixture until combined.
- Whisk the melted and slightly cooled coconut oil into the wet ingredients until thick and thoroughly combined.
- Whisk half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients
- Mix in the second half of the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula (mix not fold as you want to form SOME gluten but there is a fine line: you want it to be just combined and still slightly lumpy. Over-mixing will lead to a tough final product).
- Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, fill each muffin cup ¾ of the way full.
- Fill any empty muffin cups halfway with tap water to ensure even cooking throughout each pan
- Sprinkle the prepared streusel evenly over the muffins.
- Bake until golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it, 10-14 minutes.
- Cool muffins in tin for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
If you want to go with dairy ingredients that’s an easy substitution: use buttermilk instead of the almond milk and vinegar and butter in place of the coconut oil. That being said, the diary free ingredients I used in this made for a super flavorful and super moist muffin!
I’m really not sure how you would go about subbing in canned pumpkin for the pumpkin powder in this recipe. I think you could just up the amount the flour to replace the pumpkin powder and you may also need to adjust the leavening (lol), to 1 tsp. baking soda. That would be where I would start. Powdered pumpkin is yummy though! I look forward to adding it to other things. In the fall I’m thinking maybe adding a bit to some softened cream cheese to make an awesome bagel topping! Or maybe I can incorporate the powdered pumpkin into ICE CREAM! (It’s almost time for me to go on another ice cream making extravaganza- excitement is in the air!)