Friday, February 1, 2013

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins with Cardamom Crumb Topping

My husband and I love Indian food. We recently got a bunch of exotic spices from the natural foods store and I felt like whipping up something sweet with the fresh cardamom pods we had sitting in our spice drawer.

These muffins are great because they aren't too sweet and are super moist. If you aren't familiar with cardamom, the best way to describe it is to say it's like a cross between star anise and clove. The aroma reminds me of a hot cup of chai tea. It smells divine, especially when freshly ground, which is what I did for this recipe. If you do buy the whole pods, just smash the shells in a bowl to release the inside seeds and discard the shells. Then grind the seeds in a spice or coffee grinder. About a tablespoon of pods should make about 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom.

Another great thing about this recipe is it doesn't require eggs or an egg substitute; the pumpkin and oil are enough to bind and create a superbly moist muffin. The crumb topping adds another dimension that elevates these muffins to superstardom ;-)

For Topping:
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

For Muffins:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vanilla soy or almond milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Place paper muffin cups in a 12-muffin pan.

2) Make topping in a small bowl by mixing all ingredients together well. Set aside.

3) In medium bowl, stir together the pumpkin, oil, milk, and brown sugar. Make sure to smash any big sugar lumps. Place a sifter over the bowl and sift the dry ingredients over the wet mixture. Stir just until mixed well.

4) Use a small ice cream scooper to get a uniform amount of batter into each muffin cup, then drizzle with crumb topping. Bake 20 minutes, or until tops just start to crack and look browned.

Makes 12-16 muffins.