Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

A Taste of Fall

As the daylight shortens, the air chills and the leaves turn, I crave a taste of fall.

The combination of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg with a touch of chocolate in these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins hits the spot.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | www.jenniferdyck.com

More Pumpkin Please

It was my goal to pack in 2 cups of pumpkin puree into one batch of 24 muffins. One pie pumpkin can yield upwards of 4-6 or more cups of puree. Most recipes I was testing only used 1/2 cup to 1 cup of pumpkin and so began my journey.

These are not large muffins and they are also not too sweet. If you have a sweet tooth you’ll want to increase the chocolate chips or add an extra 1/4 cup of sugar.

I add 2-3 chocolate chips to the top of each muffin before baking (as indicated in the recipe below).  This trick catches the eyes of my children and has them gobbling down a batch in no time.

I’ve been making and tweaking this muffin recipe for a few seasons and I hope you enjoy them as much as my family.

Pumpkin Puree

It starts with the right pumpkin or the right can.

Canned: an economical and convenient option. Be sure to buy 100% pure pumpkin. Do not buy pumpkin pie filling, buy only 100% pure pumpkin. Canned pumpkin pie filling already has seasoning added and sometimes added sugar. Purchase 100% pure pumpkin so you can control the flavour and sweetness.

Make your own: my personal favourite. Making your own puree starts with acquiring the right variety of pumpkin. Sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins are the two names I seek out. They are typically small and round, the flesh is thicker, has more flavour and they are not as watery. You can eat the large pumpkins sold mainly for decorations and carving but your end result will not be as delicious. Fellow Professional Home Economist (PHEc) Getty Stewart has an excellent “How to Make and Freeze Pumpkin Puree” instructional post. Go check it out!

Now, go to the kitchen and bake something delicious!

Always…Jenn

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins | www.jenniferdyck.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips, plus a few extra

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare pan(s) with parchment muffin liners.
  2. In medium size bowl, whisk together flours, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and nutmeg.
  3. In a second bowl, beat together pumpkin, sugar, canola oil, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir just to combine ingredients.
  5. Add 2/3 cup chocolate chips and stir just to combine ingredients.
  6. Add batter to prepared muffin pans using leveled 1/4 cup measure. Drop 2-3 chocolate chips to the top of each muffin.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack.

Notes:

Regular muffins – makes 24 if you are precise with the 1/4 cup measure.  If not, you might get a couple less.

Mini muffins – makes 48 if you are precise with a 2 tsp scoop.  Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes.

Storage:

Keep in a resealable container on the counter for 1-2 days or in the freezer for up to a month.

A Little Blue Bin of Veggies

A Little Blue Bin

Important conversations have started to take place in our home and they all began with a little blue bin of veggies and a farmer with a passion to feed people.

CSA Blue Bin | www.jenniferdyck.com

A passion to feed people

“I just love to Feed people” said Will Bergmann to a group of food enthusiasts this summer. And that he does. This growing season my family had the opportunity to join our first ever CSA garden with Bergmann CSA.

The end of a season

Today, Will handed over our last bin for the season. It was a bitter sweet moment. I’m sad that our weekly mystery box of locally grown, seasonal veggies will not enter our home again until spring but I’m also truly thankful to have been a part of this magical vegetable journey.

CSA last bin 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

Lessons from our CSA bin:

1. You will #EatMoreVeggies
When you know a fresh bin of veggies is arriving each and every week you will eat more veggies. Veggies become the focus of every meal and you literally stuff yourself with them every chance you get.
CSA bin 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

2. Your heart will grow
Your heart will grow three sizes as you watch your kids literally vibrate with excitement over veggies. They couldn’t wait to unpack and pick out their first bite from the bin each and every week.

Veggie Excited | www.jenniferdyck.com

3. #FarmToFood conversations will take place
Something magical will happen when you get to know a farmer. The personal connection that my kids made with our farm family paved the way for many conversations at our dinner table.

I answered questions about: where our food comes from, who grows it or raises it, different types of farms and interestingly food waste.

It also created an “ah-ha” moment for my kids. My sister and her family farm too. They operate a mixed farm with beef cattle and grain. My kids suddenly realized the importance of all farmers. That all farmers feed people. My kids started asking deeper questions about where their Uncle’s crops go and who eats his animals.

These important questions are being asked, conversations are being had and it all started with our blue bin of veggies and a farmer with a passion to feed people.

Blyth Farm 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

Thank You!

Thank you Bergmann CSA for filling our plates, for entering our hearts and for feeding our souls!

Bergmann CSA Thank you 2015 | www.jenniferdyck.com

Always…Jenn

Patty Pan Squash Soup

What do you do with a giant patty pan? Make soup of course!

Giant Patty Pan Squash | www.jenniferdyck.com

This growing season we have been introduced to the patty pan.  The start of the season brought bite size morsels to our table that we grilled, sauteed and ate raw.

Baby Patty Pan | www.jenniferdyck.com

Now that the season is well under way, these summer squash have turned into the monsters of our CSA garden bin and it’s time to switch up how we are going to eat them.

Our farmer, Will Bergmann, suggested that you can make soup.  We are a soup loving family so this quickly became our next meal.

Patty Pan Squash Soup | www.jenniferdyck.com

I hunted online for a recipe but I could not find one that suited what we had on hand for ingredients and one that maximized the produce that had arrived from the farm.

As with any soup, please add extras and change up the flavours to suit your family. Potatoes would add some heartiness, or a handful of cooked noodles.  The basil and parsley could easily become a combination that includes; dill, tarragon, thyme or oregano.

Patty Pan Squash Soup

Patty Pan Squash Soup | www.jenniferdyck.com

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups unpeeled patty pan, cubed
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Feta cheese OR sour cream

Directions:

  1. Dice the squash and set aside.
  2. Chop the garlic and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan or small stock pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.
  4. Add the flour, stir to combine and continue cooking for 1 minute.  Stir for the entire minute.
  5. Slowly whisk in the broth and continue to whisk until well blended.
  6. Add the squash, carrot, 1 tsp pepper and turmeric.  Stir to combine.  Your broth will not cover all of the squash and this is fine.  The squash will release moisture.
  7. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the carrots are tender.
  8. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Alternately you can puree in a food processor or blender but you may want to allow the soup to cool slightly.
  9. Return to heat, stir in basil and parsley.
  10. Serve garnished with Feta cheese or sour cream and the additional pepper.  The cheese is important as it gives the soup a bit of salt.

Storage:

Keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes:

If you are going to freeze the soup, for best flavour, I suggest adding the fresh herbs after you’ve thawed and reheated.

Do you have extra zucchini?  I have successfully made this soup with 4 cups of cubed patty pan and 4 cups of cubed zucchini.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | www.jenniferdyck.comIt’s zucchini time!  On the Prairies from late July until the end of August it’s zucchini season.

Did you know these summer squash can grow up to 1 meter long!?

Stop in at any farm yard or visit an urban garden enthusiast at this time of year and I’m sure you’ll leave toting a zucchini too large to fit in your fridge.

I like to make them into delicious cakes, loafs, muffins and other baked treats.  Save the small tender ones for grilling and eating raw.  You can also grate and freeze extra zucchini for winter baking or for adding into sauces and soups.

Here is our family favourite recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | www.jenniferdyck.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare pan with parchment muffin liners.
  2. In medium size bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. In a second bowl, beat together sugar, canola oil, milk, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir just to combine ingredients.
  5. Add zucchini and chocolate chips and stir just to combine ingredients.
  6. Add batter to prepared muffin pans using leveled 2 Tbsp (30 mL) measure.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack.

Notes:

Mini-muffins – makes 24.  Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes.

Storage:

Keep in a resealable container on the counter for 1-2 days or in the freezer for up to a month.