Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

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One of our favorite holiday combinations is pumpkin and cranberries.  Mildly sweet and mellow pumpkin flavor contrasted with bursts of bright and tangy cranberries.  Today I am sharing with you my recipe for sourdough pumpkin cranberry muffins.  These go FAST in our house!  I baked them yesterday evening and by mid-morning (now as I write) one and a half dozen are in our bellies.  These muffins make a hearty breakfast, and are especially yummy warm with a little butter and honey spread over top.  My kids love to grab a muffin for a quick afternoon snack or after-dinner treat.

Don't let the sourdough business scare you--they are neither sour, nor are they tricky.  I like to use sourdough starter as much as possible when I bake because there is a fair amount of research backing up the multiple health benefits of sourdough.*  For this recipe you will need a sourdough starter.  If you know a friend who bakes sourdough bread, ask for a tablespoon of starter.  That's all you need to start keeping your own starter on hand.  You can also order starter from here, or you can try your hand at creating your own.

However, if you do not have a sourdough starter, guess what?  You can still make these muffins! They won't have the added benefit of being sourdough, but they will still be good.  I have noted that option at the bottom of this post. 

Sourdough Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Makes 24 muffins, plus a 9x9 cake.

3 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
2 cups pumpkin puree
1.5 cups buttermilk, raw milk, yogurt or 1.25 cups water

1 cup olive oil
1 T sourdough starter **

Mix these ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended.  Cover and let sit overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Prepare 2 muffin tins.  Pour the ingredients in the bowl into a stand mixer.  Add:

1  cup sucanat (this makes a not very sweet muffin--add up to 2 cups for desired sweetness)
4 eggs
1.5 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp cloves

.5 tsp nutmeg

Mix until combined.  While the mixer is turning, sprinkle on 3 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp at a time.  Then add a 12oz bag of fresh cranberries and stir just until combined. 

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling nearly to the top as these muffins do not rise much.  I normally have enough batter leftover to also filled a (greased) 9x9 square pyrex dish.  If you do not want to mess with muffins at all, you can also pour all the batter into a 9x13 pyrex dish and bake it as a cake. Place your muffins/cake in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Yes, that is a longer bake time than normal, but with the added moisture from the pumpkin, they need it.

* For more info on the benefits of sourdough, read here, here (though why they didn't study whole wheat sourdough is beyond me!) and here.

** You can leave out the sourdough starter and prepare the muffins one of two ways:
1. Mix all ingredients together at the same time and bake muffins immediately. If you use milk, you will need to substitute 3T baking powder for the 3 tsp baking soda.
2. Mix the first 4 ingredients together as stated in the recipe, adding 3 T raw cider vinegar (or whey) and let sit overnight, and follow the rest of the recipe accordingly.

Linked to Real Food Holiday Link-Up
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Linked to Simple Lives Thursday.


  1. Num, num! Can't wait to try these; thanks for sharing!

    Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas celebration,

    ~Lisa @ happyindolevalley

  2. I hope you enjoy them! Merry Christmas to you and your family, too!