Happy Halloween, Pumpkin Muffin
Pumpkin bread is one of my favorite things in the world. It's one of the few reasons I tolerate autumn (the other being the almighty apple). In my book, things get even better when raisins are thrown into the mix, but I know not everyone shares my love for the teeny dried fruit. (Those mini boxes of Sun-Maid raisins have been a thread in my life since grade school.)
I like how pumpkin bread settles in with a cup of coffee, be it breakfast or late-afternoon snack time. I take comfort in its golden harvest color, its spicy perfume and its earthy crumb.
With Halloween just a few days away and the doorstep jack-o-lantern de rigeur (at least for this weekend), a pumpkin-y treat is undoubtedly in order. In keeping with a festive theme, I upped the pumpkin ante and made muffins, which would work equally well at a kid's Halloween party, a workplace breakfast meeting or potluck thingamajig.
Using a recipe for mashed sweet potato muffins (which also sound tasty), I tweaked things with pumpkin in mind and I am pleased to report they are lovely little morsels. Next time, I'll add a pinch of ground cloves and maybe even a wee bit of ground cardamom for even more spice depth. I particularly liked topping the muffins with pumpkin seeds, which add a rich nutty crunch and a little extra fiber. This trick is one I'll keep on hand for future batches.
What's your favorite pumpkin treat? Are you a raisins or nuts person? Share in the comments area below.
Based on a recipe for sweet potato muffins from "Best Foods Cookbook" by Dana Jacobi
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup light olive oil or canola oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used non-fat, but I think low or full fat is fine, too)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease the cups of a 6-cup muffin tin with butter or oil spray and place paper liners in cups.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In another bowl, whisk together oil, sugar and egg. Mix in yogurt and vanilla. Stir in pumpkin puree until mixture is smooth. Fold in raisins.
Incorporate wet ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients, and mix just until blended. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them to the top. Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds over the top of each muffin.
Bake about 25 minutes, until muffins are lightly colored and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then unmold from pan and allow to cool completely.
Recipe may be doubled.
Note: If you're keen to try this muffin with sweet potatoes, you'll need ½ cup of roasted, mashed sweet potato and ¾ cup shredded carrots. Omit the pumpkin puree.
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