As strange as this combination may sound, pumpkin sauerkraut muffins are a famous Eastern European bread concoction. Using sauerkraut keeps the muffins moist and in combination with the other ingredients, you don't taste sauerkraut at all. This is a great way to combine a breakfast treat with a daily dose of vegetables!
This recipe was adapted from a recipe I found on about.com. One option for this muffin recipe is to add one cup of chocolate chips, resulting in chocolate chip pumpkin sauerkraut muffins!
Recipe for Pumpkin Sauerkraut Muffins
Yield: Makes 8 jumbo or 12 regular muffins, though I actually had 18 regular muffins from this recipe
- 2 large eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
- 3/4 cup milk (I used nonfat)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (I used fresh)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 (14-ounce) can sauerkraut (rinsed, drained, squeezed dry)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 1/2 cups flour (I used unbleached)
- 1 cup raisins (I used golden)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips if desired (option; I left out)
- Coarse sugar (optional; I left it out)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray muffin pans with vegetable or olive oil spray and set aside.
- Combine eggs, milk, oil, pumpkin, sugar, sauerkraut, spices, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add raisins, pecans, and optional chocolate chips to the wet ingredients.
- Stir in the flour mixture but only stir to combine. Don't over-stir.
- Drop by spoonfuls into muffin tins.
- *** I did not do this step: Bake for 10 minutes for jumbo muffins or 8 minutes for regular muffins. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake an additional 10 minutes for jumbo and 8 minutes for regular.
- In all, bake jumbo muffins for about 20 minutes total and regular for about 16 minutes total though check with a toothpick to make sure the centers are done before removing them from the oven. I actually had to bake mine for 5 extra minutes for regular-sized muffins.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Halloween and Holiday Tips for Pumpkin Sauerkraut Muffins
- Use orange coarse sugar as a topping to sprinkle on muffins halfway through baking time
- Use white coarse sugar for an elegant look
- Try another color of coarse sugar for other occasions
How to Use Fresh Pumpkin vs. Canned Pumpkin in Recipes
When I use fresh pumpkin instead of canned pumpkin, I buy the smaller pie pumpkins. You can find these at most grocery stores and are identifiable by their deeper orange color. They weigh roughly between 2 and 4 pounds usually.
There are several ways to cook pumpkin but the most common are baking and boiling or stewing. Keep in mind that usually fresh cooked pumpkin does not have the same deep color as canned pumpkin but it is just as good.
Use fresh pumpkin in pies instead of canned or in cookies, cakes, and muffins. It also makes a natural thickener when added to soups.
How to Bake a Pumpkin
- Preheat oven to 325 or 350°F.
- Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the membranes and seeds. The seeds can be washed and dried, salted, and roasted in the oven for delicious pumpkin seeds.
- Spray a cookie sheet or shallow baking dish with vegetable spray and place pumpkin halves cut sides down on the dish or sheet.
- Or line a cookie sheet or baking pan with foil, spray with vegetable spray, and place halves cut side down.
- Or, wrap each half of the pumpkin in foil and place both on a cookie sheet or inside the baking dish (to prevent the pumpkin from leaking onto the oven).
- Bake until soft when touched.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool and then scoop out the pumpkin.
- Smash to desired consistency or blend in a food processor or blender.
- Use the same amounts called for in recipes requiring canned pumpkin.
How to Cook a Pumpkin on the Stovetop
- Cut the pumpkin in half and then remove the membranes and seeds. Again, you can wash, dry, and bake the pumpkin seeds for a great snack or addition to other recipes.
- Slice the pumpkin into narrow slices much like watermelon or cantaloupe and peel the outer rind off the pumpkin.
- Cut the peeled pumpkin slices into small chunks.
- Cover just barely with water (some people also add a bit of apple juice) and cook at a low simmer on the stovetop. Cook time will vary depending on how much pumpkin you have, how big the pan is and how fast the cooking time is. Don't overcook and test every so often for softness.
- When the pumpkin is soft but not mushy, remove it from the stove and pour it through a sieve. Save the juice/water from the cooked pumpkin and add that to the soup as a stock or freeze it for later use.
- Allow the pumpkin to drain thoroughly and cool completely.
- Use a potato masher to mash the pumpkin to the desired consistency and use cup for cup in recipes calling for canned pumpkin.
- Or blend in a food processor or blender to desired consistency.
Tips and Suggestions for Pumpkin Sauerkraut Muffin Recipe
- Use buttermilk instead of regular milk but adjust the baking powder and add an appropriate amount of baking soda.
- Use walnuts instead of pecans.
- Substitute hazelnuts for pecans.
- Use white chocolate instead of regular chocolate chips.
- Substitute dried cranberries for the raisins.
- Use brown sugar instead of white sugar.
- Substitute applesauce for all or part of the oil.
- Use fresh sauerkraut from the deli case (I used fresh instead of canned).
- These keep well for several days covered or in a storage bag.
- These muffins freeze wonderfully.
Culinary Tips From Griffin (The Malamute)
It seems my 'little' malamute Griffin has a strong yen for my pumpkin sauerkraut muffins.
Last night, while I was draining the pumpkin in a strainer, he managed to get up on the counter and eat roughly at least half of my freshly cooked pumpkin. I had to start over and had just enough to make my muffins today!
If that were not enough, fresh out of the oven and cooling on the rack, my 'little pumpkin' Griffin just ate 11 muffins. All I can say is thank goodness I did not add the chocolate chips to this recipe or I would have been on an emergency run to the vet! Bob is on probation in the dog-watching department! (just kidding)
If there is a problem with this latest development, I will be back to write a note on what can happen if your dog eats 11 pumpkin sauerkraut muffins. I am only glad that I had 6 other muffins cooling on a different rack before he discovered those.
I could swear he was licking his chops, though!