Halloween & Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins.

Something happens around mid-October in Dubai.  Summers here are hot, almost “fry an egg on the hood of your car” hot. Rather abruptly – about two weeks before Halloween – the heat and humidity subside, and the city turns into a warm, sun- kissed seaside destination. I can finally spend my mornings at the beach without melting like Olaf from Frozen. 

As much as I love the warm weather, there’s a tiny part of me that longs for a brisk change of season (think amber coloured Autumn leaves, knee high boots and cozy cable knit sweaters).  Send me to any outdoor market filled with jack-o-lanterns and endless varieties of winter squash – I’m in total bliss!

Since I’m definitely not going to experience a North American fall anytime soon, cooking with pumpkin and belly-warming spices like cinnamon and ginger shift me into Halloween mode quicker than putting on my witch hat.

These Pumpkin Cranberry Spice Muffins fit all the criteria for a moist, light, and flavorful muffin.  They are incredibly easy to make, with very little cleanup required.  A couple of bowls, a whisk, spoons to measure and a muffin tin are all you need.

I used Kabocha Squash that I steamed and puréed.  I let it drain in a sieve lined with paper towels as it was quite watery. You can also use canned pumpkin with equally excellent results.  Feel free to swap the cranberries for golden raisins, or omit them completely if you like. Eat these warm or at room temperature, they are the perfect seasonal muffin.

Pumpkin Cranberry Spice Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon all-spice
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 to 1 cup canned or fresh pumkin puree (if canned, don’t use pumpkin pie filling since it is sweetened)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 F)

Line a 12 cup capacity muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and all the spices together.

In another bowl, whisk together sugars, oil, pumpkin, orange zest and eggs.

Gradually add the flour mixture to your wet ingredients, mixing gently until all the ingredients until combined. Fold in the dried cranberries.

Fill paper liners about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until your muffins are golden brown.

Enjoy!

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