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Kids will gobble up these super-healthy pumpkin muffins

Diana Johnson is a professional recipe developer, food photographer, freelance writer and cooking instructor. She's also a mother who believes that kids can love healthy food, and that no child should have to experience food insecurity. ...

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

These whole-wheat pumpkin muffins, disguised as Thanksgiving turkeys, are a really kid-friendly healthy option for a Thanksgiving breakfast, snack or even dessert. They're packed with fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and are too cute to resist.

The muffins are also good on their own and keep well in the fridge or freezer, so you may want to make a double batch for easy breakfasts or snacks on the go during the busy holiday season.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

To create the adorable turkeys, bake the muffins according to the recipe below, and allow them to cool completely.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Once cool, insert half a toothpick into the front end of each muffin. This is where the turkey's head will be.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Poke 2 cloves into each grape for the eyes.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Slice off a small piece of dried apricot.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Use your knife to poke a hole into the tip of the grape, below the cloves, and insert the piece of apricot for a beak.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Poke the grape onto the toothpick that's in the muffin, and repeat with additional grapes, cloves and apricots. Now use your knife to cut a slit into the back end of each muffin. This is where your tail feathers will go.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Slice wedges off your apples and pears. You can also sub a Granny Smith apple for the pear, or a red pear for the red apple.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Cut the wedges into 1/2-inch-wide spears, making sure the peels are visible. You will need 5 spears for each turkey.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Place 5 fruit spears into the slit of each muffin, alternating colors.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Slice 12 dried apricots in half.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Use your knife to poke 2 holes into each muffin, slightly back from and on either side of the head. Insert an apricot half into each hole for the wings.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Repeat with the remaining muffins, and serve within 2 to 3 hours to prevent the fruit from wilting.

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys are a healthy treat for the whole family

Whole-wheat pumpkin muffin turkeys recipe

For older children who can safely find and remove toothpicks, you can use additional toothpick halves to attach all the fruit pieces to the muffin, which will keep the muffin more intact. If you don't plan to serve all 12 muffins right away, then just use the amount of fruit needed to decorate the turkeys you'll be eating, and store the rest of the muffins for later.

Serves 12 

Prep time: 40 minutes | Bake time: 20 minutes | Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the muffins

  • 1-1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (or coconut oil) 
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

For the turkey decoration

  • 2 red apples
  • 2 green pears
  • 6 toothpicks
  • 12 red grapes
  • 14 dried apricots
  • 24 whole cloves

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a muffin pan with wrappers.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin spice.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs with the melted butter (or coconut oil) and honey.
  4. Pour the contents of your smaller bowl into the dry ingredients, and mix well.
  5. Gently fold in the pumpkin puree until just combined.
  6. Spoon the batter into the paper-lined muffin pan.
  7. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove the muffins from the pan, and place them on a wire rack to cool.
  9. Once your muffins are completely cooled, prep your fruit by slicing the apples and pears into 1/2-inch-wide spears with visible peels.
  10. Use a knife to slice a slit in the back end of the muffin top, and then insert 5 of these spears into the slit, alternating colors and making sure the peels face the front.
  11. Break a toothpick in half, and poke it into the front end of the muffin top.
  12. Use your knife to poke a hole into the tip of a grape, and then slice a small strip from a dried apricot, and insert it into the hole.
  13. Poke 2 cloves into the grape, centered above the apricot beak, and then poke the grape onto the toothpick half that's in the muffin.
  14. Slice an apricot in half for wings, and use a knife to poke holes on either side of the grape head and slightly back. Insert the apricot halves.
  15. Repeat steps 10 to 14 with as many muffins as you wish to turn into turkeys.

More creative fruit recipes for Thanksgiving

Fruit-filled edible cornucopia name markers
Fruit turkey
Thanksgiving apple turkey

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