I'm not big on free time these days. Or sleep. But somehow, when I managed to have a few hours on a Sunday free of all obligations, I decided to buy a pumpkin. Some people buy pumpkins to carve into scary faces and put on their porches. I bought a pumpkin to eat. And about six hours later...my pumpkin became muffins.
Now, I know the "experts" recommend you buy a mini pumpkin if you plan on actually eating it (they're generally known as "pie pumpkins," because, you know..). But I've never really listened to such "experts." And it was way more fun to pick up a hunka hunka pumpkin. So I did.
Then, because I couldn't really resist, I drew a face on it. Not a particularly inventive face.
And then I made the mistake of letting my brother draw a face on the other side. Guess who it's supposed to be?But fun and games aside, I had a pumpkin to cook! I needed one heck of a knife (read: serrated bread knife with a 10" blade). After I had scooped out all the seeds and innards (which I saved and roasted for a tasty snack) I hacked it into several enormous pieces. And steamed it in the microwave until the flesh was soft. Then I sliced it off the skin and pureed it all up. If you're tempted to use the food processor for this, I would advise against it. I'm not sure why, but I had a great deal more success with an immersion blender.
Once I had my pumpkin puree all set it was simple to whip up these light, flavorful muffins. I adapted these from the original recipe to make them slightly healthier - with 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 apple butter instead of oil. I'm not sure what came over me. I'm sure I'll be back to butter and sugar by the next post.
Of course, if you think I'm completely insane, but still want some awesome muffins, just crack open a can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling). It will take approximately 4 hours less. So...now I have a quart of pumpkin puree sitting in my freezer. Any suggestions?
Recipe: (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup apple butter or applesauce
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar
Whisk together the pumpkin, oil, apple butter or apple sauce, eggs, cinnamon, 2 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth.
Whisk in the flour and baking powder until just combined – don’t overbeat.
Stir together the cinnamon and remaining tablespoon of sugar in another bowl.
Divide batter among 24 paper-lined muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle the tops with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake at 350 F until about 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool in the pan for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.