Pumpkin in January? Yes, please. Who said you could only eat pumpkin in the fall? I had a little pumpkin left over from Christmas and Steve suggested that I make muffins. I was surprised that he had such a definite answer for me. Usually when I ask, “I have a little [insert ingredient] left, what should I do with it,” I get a shrug in return.
I’m glad he decided to be decisive because these were the best pumpkin muffins I’ve ever had. They’re lighter than I thought they’d be, and they’re not laden with too much spice. And although the original recipe calls for raisins and nuts, I left them out. (Feel free to add them if you like.) I’m sort of a purist when it comes to pumpkin muffins or bread. A few chocolate chips are OK sometimes, but I like the pumpkin to shine. However, I did put the suggested sprinkle of sunflower seeds on top out of sheer curiosity. They added an interesting crunch and flavor, but Steve and I agreed it was more strange than interesting. They look cute, though. And sometimes beauty isn’t always functional. (Like most of my favorite shoes.)
On another note, this recipe came from one of my newly found (and loved) cookbooks. I found this one while digging through the cookbooks at Ross. (I have little patience for digging for clothing.) Originally $40, I scored it for $10. It’s called Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I’d heard food bloggers rave about this one, and I was surprised to find it so cheap, considering its hefty, hardback size. Dorie Greenspan contributes regularly to Bon Appetit magazine and has published many cookbooks on her own, including a collaborative one with Julia Child. She knows her stuff. More to come from this one, I’m sure.
From Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground allspice
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 c buttermilk
1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts
About 1/3 c unsalted sunflower seeds, for topping
Preheat oven to 400. Prepare muffin pan by lining with paper cups or greasing 12 molds.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the butter at medium speed until soft. Add both sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth. Add eggs, mixing after each addition, then beating for a minute after the eggs are incorporated. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk, then add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear. To avoid overmixing, stop the mixer early and stir any remaining dry ingredients in by hand. Stir in the raisins and nuts.
Divide the batter evenly among a dozen muffin cups and sprinkle a few sunflower seeds over the top of each. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to a cooling rack.
Makes a dozen.
1. If you use regular, salted butter, reduce salt to a pinch.