So Labor Day came, I blinked, and suddenly it was fall. Even Houston, a place where I can still wear shorts in December, was suddenly stricken by torrential rain, gray skies and flooding roads. Last night, I got caught in a rainstorm while grocery shopping and exited the store to find about a dozen fellow shoppers milling under the overhang, staring hopelessly at their cars through the heavy sheets of rain. The sky was nearly black.
What could I do but set down my bags, run to my car, and pull up next to the sidewalk and procede to get drenched in about 20 pounds of rain in the process of loading my bags into my car? My very full bags, heavy with cans, I might add. Cans that I used to make the easiest and most delicious soup ever which I will share soon. Anyway. I think my car is still soggy.
Bleh. I want summer back.
Summer meaning yes, even those hot muggy days so oppressing they practically make your eyeballs sweat. Juicy watermelon dripping down your wrists. Lazy days where you feel like you should go take advantage of the beautiful day but really you just end up roasting by the side of the pool, waiting to earn that leap into the cold pool water for an insanely refreshing temperature shock. Monstrous ice cream cones in Wisconsin and concerts in sweat-sodden T-shirts.
On the bright side, I’ve been itching to make something pumpkin, but refusing on the grounds that it’s not seasonal (even though I only ever use canned pumpkin). However! Last night when I was grocery shopping, there were totally mounds of pumpkins outside the store. Which means pumpkin is now officially seasonal and I give myself permission to buy canned pumpkin by the pound and I’m even considering buying an actual pumpkin and trying this homemade puree technique which seems a little more time-intensive than using the canned variety, butttt…I <3 PUMPKIN SEEDS. I’d do it for the seeds any day.
So here it comes, the week of pumpkin. My way of trying to force myself to accept fall.
First up are these delightful little muffins. Super tender and moist, I first fell in love with this recipe when Tiffany and I baked a huge array of cake, cake balls, cupcakes and cookies for an inauguration. (Of a kitchen. Long story.)
The original source displays photos of cake that’s such a cheerily orange hue and so tender-looking that you almost can’t help but go bake it right that second. My choice of flour made these slightly less photogenic, but no less delicious. These puff up with beautiful high domes and cool into muffins with tops so moist, they’ll almost stick to your finger if you touch them. They’re sweet and fluffy with a hint of spice that sets off that irresistable pumpkin essence.
Yes, this is actually a cake recipe that I’m calling a muffin, but what’s the difference? No really, is there a difference between cake and muffin?
Whatever this is, I’m calling it a staple in my fall rotation.
If you decide to use all purpose flour, your muffins should be a much brighter orange, like these. Even if you use half AP, half white whole wheat or whole wheat, your muffins might turn out slightly more attractive than mine. The original recipe called for ground ginger and nutmeg–since I didn’t have them and I’m not really a fan anyway, I just threw in a few extra dashes of cinnamon. I halved the butter and replaced the missing fat with half applesauce and half yogurt and it worked really well–I’m usually wary of using applesauce as a fat replacer, but here, the fruitiness is hidden by the pumpkin.
I made about 11 medium-sized muffins. Feel free to stretch the batter to 12 smaller muffins or 10 generous muffins!
Adapted from Just Putzing
Yield: 10-12 muffins
1 cup + 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk (I used Almond Breeze)
Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.
1) In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients through cinnamon and set aside.
2) In another bowl, cream together butter, applesauce, yogurt and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla.
3) Add milk and mashed pumpkin, and mix well. Don’t be alarmed if your mixture looks curdled–the dry ingredients will smooth it right out.
4) Stir in dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
5) Fill tins about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Place in preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, plus or minus 5. Muffins are done when tops spring back when pressed with your finger.
Nutrition facts: 110 cal, 2.8g fat (1.4g sat), 20g carb, 1.7g fiber, 11.4g sugar, 2.3g protein