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Flour Girl: 'Firehooked' on Those Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin muffins, my way. (Bill Webster -- The Washington Post)

A patient and persistent Free Range chatter had been asking us to track down the recipe for Firehook Bakery and Coffee House's pumpkin muffins.

I looked forward to the challenge, figuring they must be exceptional to inspire such devotion.

Recipe Included

We grabbed a couple in the morning (the ones at the McPherson Square location were long gone by mid-afternoon), and truth be told, we found them to be pretty straightforward -- not that there's anything wrong with that. Certain basic muffins, done well, are harder to come by than their flashier counterparts, dripping in heirloom honey and herbs. Firehook's muffins are lightly spiced and hover between moist and caky.

Firehook recipes are proprietary, meaning the bakery won't share them with rabid fans. Because I couldn't detect any secret ingredients, I started (and ended) my efforts with a recipe I've had in my collection for ages -- so long, in fact, I have no idea where I originally got it. I was glad to be reminded of it, though, even though it's not quite the season. I have spent so much time experimenting with new recipes recently that I seldom revisit my old favorites.

Although you can make the muffins in standard-size tins and shorten the baking time by 5 minutes, Firehook makes them B-I-G. I like oversize baked goods. In fact, I find it hard to make anything small. If you make them human-size you will probably get a third more out of the batch.

-- Leigh Lambert

Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 9 large muffins

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup water
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 or 4 tablespoons sugar, preferably turbinado, for garnish
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the wells of a large-muffin pan with paper liners or coat them with nonstick bakers' spray (flour and oil).

Whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin puree and water in a large mixing bowl.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a separate bowl, then add to the pumpkin mixture; stir just to combine.

Combine the sugar (to taste) and the nuts in a small bowl.

Use an ice cream scoop to fill each prepared muffin well to the top. Sprinkle the muffin tops evenly with the sugar-nut mixture. Bake for 25 minutes, or until they are domed and spring back slightly to the touch.

Let the muffins cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before serving or storing.

NUTRITION | Per muffin: 507 calories, 7 g protein, 85 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 71 mg cholesterol, 485 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 50 g sugar

By Leigh Lambert  |  July 30, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl , Recipes  | Tags: Leigh Lambert, baking, pumpkin  
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I like to add just a bit of ground ginger--1/4 tsp--to the cinnamon/cloves/nutmeg trio of spices for items like pumpkin muffins, carrot cake and banana bread. Also, one could substitute golden or regular raisins for the walnuts if faced with kids who, like mine, don't like nuts. Can't say if this makes the recipe more like Firehook's as I've never tasted theirs.

Posted by: NoMad3 | July 30, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

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