Recipe: Happy Halloween with Pumpkin Muffins (High-Protein, Low Sugar)



It’s that pumpkin muffin time of year again! Since I’ve been experimenting with using protein powder in baking, I thought I’d try that with my pumpkin muffins.

I loved how they turned out. One might expect the protein powder to give them a medicinal taste, but it doesn’t. They just taste like, well, lightly sweetened pumpkin muffins.

Below I have the recipe just as I made it, but I probably shouldn’t have baked them at 400°F because whey browns faster than flour. (As you can see, my muffin has a bit of a toasted look. It tastes fine, but all those shows on the Food Network keep telling me presentation is just as important as taste, so there’s that.) If you’re making these for yourself, I’d recommend baking at 350°F for slightly longer.

Also, you may notice there is no added sweetener in this recipe. That’s intentional. Flavored whey powder is already sweetened (either with sugar or non-caloric sweetener), so there was no need.


  • measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • mixing spoon or electric mixer
  • blender or food processor
  • muffin tin with 12 2½-inch cups
  • cooling rack


  • 1 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup millet flour (or any other flour)
  • ½ cup vanilla whey protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1½ cups cooked pie pumpkin or other winter squash
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce or pear sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet baking chocolate (because I’m addicted to chocolate, but if you want something more harvesty, try dried fruit or nuts)


To cook pumpkin:

  1. Split in half and place open-side down on baking sheet.  Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes. Alternatively, steam halves until soft. Scoop out insides and use 1½ cups for recipe.

To make muffins

  1. Mix  squash, applesauce, oil, and flax in blender until fairly smooth.
  2. Mix together flour, protein powder, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Mix in an optional ½ teaspoon salt, then gradually stir in the wet ingredients. Batter should be somewhat lumpy.
  3. Stir in chocolate pieces.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin tin.
  5. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes, or until tops are firm and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool completely. The centers continue cooking as the muffins cool. If you eat them while warm, you will get a yucky raw dough texture.

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