Molasses Pumpkin Muffins

I know it’s not fall anymore but pumpkin is good especially in muffin form anytime of the year!  After scanning through this recipe, I found myself searching the internet to answer a few questions that came up regarding the ingredients I would need:

1) What is the difference between sulphured and unsulphured molasses and are their any health benefits/risks between the two?

2) Are pumpkin seeds and pepitas the same thing?

After some googling (seriously what would I do without the internet), here are the answers, in case you have also been wondering the same thing!

Sulfured Molasses Vs. Unsulfured Molasses

The best answer I found was from The World’s Healthiest Foods.  To summarize…

– Sulfur dioxide is usually used to lighten the color of molasses and help extend shelf life.  It is also used to process the sugar cane when it has been harvested at an early stage.
– While there are no studies that show direct benefits or risks in connection with the sulfuring of molasses, we can gather that sugar cane allowed to sun-ripen and develop would make for a more natural food product than a sugar cane that is harvested too early.
– Sulfur dioxide has been identified as a key problematic substance involved with allergic reaction to sulfite in foods.
– On the environmental side, sulfur dioxide is a primary component in the production of acid rain and is a pollutant that raises much concern to environmental scientists.  The idea that a sugar can processing facility releasing more sulfer dioxide into the air does not sound like a plus for our environment (and there are already so many environmental issues- let’s not add to the problems!)

Natural whole foods that do not need to be additionally processed are always the best way to go in my opinion so using unsulfured molasses seems to be the better option for us as well as for the environment.

Pumpkin Seeds Vs. Pepitas

When I searched for “Pepita” and “Pumpkin Seed”, the same wikipedia result turned up:
“Pepita (from Mexican Spanishpepita de calabaza, “little seed of squash”) is a Spanish culinary term for the pumpkin seed, the edible seed of a pumpkin or other cultivar of squash (genus Cucurbita).”

Also from The World’s Healthiest Foods:
“Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are flat, dark green seeds”

So the final answer is, pumpkin seeds are the same as pepitas, although pepitas don’t always have to come from a pumpkin squash, they can come from other types of squash as well.  Since I can’t tell the difference/don’t mind a difference, I will be able to use the two seeds interchangeably and not wonder whether I am using the right thing or not!

With all THAT out of the way, let’s proceed to our very delicious, light and fluffy, nonsulfered, pepita sprinkled muffin recipe!

Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s recipe found on

In a medium bowl place the following ingredients:
– 1 cup AP flour
– 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (if you want more recipes to use up your whole grain pastry flour, you can try these pecan cinnamon wafers or these pecan bars)
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground ginger
– 1/4 tsp ground cloves
–  1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

In a large mixing bowl make:
– 2 egg replacers

You will also need:
– 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
– 3 TBS unsulfered molasses
– 1/4 cup canola oil
– 1 cup canned pumpkin
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 3/4 vegan buttermilk (click here for the simple recipe)
– 1/4 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin/pepitas seeds

Preheat oven to 400F.  Lin a muffin pan with cups, set aside.

Whisk all of your dry ingredients in the medium bowl together, set aside.

To the egg replacers you have in your large mixing bowl, whisk in the sugar, molasses, and oil.  Mix well, then whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla.

Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the vegan buttermilk.

Mix until just combined; do not over mix.

Fill the muffin cups up 3/4 full and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds/pepitas.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack then eat!

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