Spiced Pumpkin and Chocolate Muffins – nostalgic foods for the body and soul

Spiced Pumpkin and Chocolate Muffins... Christchurch memories from the 80's and 90's!
Spiced Pumpkin and Chocolate Muffins… Christchurch memories from the 80’s and 90’s!

Isn’t it amazing how food and smells can trigger memories from way back when? I grew up in Christchurch during the 80’s and early 90’s and a regular pit stop was the cafe at the Art’s Centre – especially their Spiced Pumpkin and Chocolate muffins. It was a revelation to me, and perhaps was a catalyst for my future career in food and nutrition, that you could pop a veggie or “unusual” flavour into a recipe for the most delish results.

I decided to recreate the famous muffins at home recently, and biting into one took me back to my teenage years. The spices, bursts of chocolate and comforting pumpkin was like a warm hug! I’m not sure that I’ve done them complete justice though – does anyone have the original recipe??

Food isn’t just about nutrition/wellbeing/health but having a moment to slow down and enjoy the sensation. I like to focus on this with my clients, instead creating a positive relationship with food and look to what we can add to our eating rather than feel guilty and/or overeat foods because they are seen as “naughty” so we need to get them in quickly. Any food or drink can be fine to eat, we don’t need to label them but instead put our focus and energy into the foods that help us feel energised and well.

I hope you enjoy these Spiced Pumpkin and Chocolate muffins with a cuppa too. Sarah x

Spiced Pumpkin and Chocolate Muffins – makes 10

1 cup flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon mixed spice

0.5 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch salt

1 cup brown sugar (you could add less if you prefer, and especially if you’re using roasted pumpkin as there will be more sweetness in this than steamed/boiled pumpkin)

0.75 cups dark chocolate chunks (I used a mixture of melts and chopped Whittakers dark block)

75g butter, melted and cooled

1 egg

1.5 heaped cups of mashed/pureed pumpkin

0.25-0.5 cup of milk

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Sift the flour, baking powder, spices, baking soda and salt into a bowl, add in the brown sugar and stir to combine. Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until combined, then add in the pumpkin and mix well.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and tip the pumpkin mixture in along with the chocolate, carefully folding in but don’t overmix! If it is looking a bit dry and thick you can add some milk in to loosen the mixture (some pumpkin is drier than others). Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and cooked through. Yum!

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