Saturday, September 16, 2006
Fall Beckons, or, I Succumb to Pumpkin
I'm starting to feel Autumn creeping up on me. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. Having moved this year from Wisconsin, where the seasons announce themselves with gusto, to Northern California, I am afraid that I will be missing the seasonal changes. It is a bit cooler here now, the days are getting shorter but I am not sure if the leaves are going to turn the warm palette of colors that they do back home. I know I will miss the musty smell of the leaves on the ground just after a cool rain hits them.
I am going to try to make up for this with other things I like this time of year. And there's nothing I like better in the Fall than pumpkin things. The colors of the pumpkin remind me of the colors of the leaves. Jack o' lanterns are great fun to carve. Pumpkin incorporated into baked items is a joy to eat. You will start to notice a few posts involving pumpkin from here on out.
I woke up Sunday with a craving for some pumpkin muffins. These are a favorite of mine year round, but I haven't made them in a few years and decided I really needed to start making them again. These are wonderful muffins. Moist with pumpkin, spicy with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger (or pumpkin pie spice if you have it on hand, I did not, so I had to make due with what I had). The best thing about them is that you can refrigerate the batter and it will last a few days. You can have fresh baked muffins everyday!
Pumpkin Muffins: Makes about 20 muffins.
15 ounces pumpkin puree (should be one small can of pumpkin, or if you prefer to use your own pumpkin puree, I think that would be grand)
2 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice ( I didn't have pumpkin pie spice on hand, so I used 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and I grated a bit of nutmeg into it)
3/4 cup oil
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
cinnamon sugar blend to sprinkle over the tops
-Preheat oven to 350f
-Mix together pumpkin puree, sugar, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
-Add eggs one at a time mixing after each addition until blended.
-Slowly add oil while mixing to incorporate.
-Sift together flour and baking powder. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix just to blend. Add nuts, and mix just to distribute.
-At this point you can keep the batter refrigerated in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
-Prepare a muffin tin by spraying with pan spray, or lining with paper muffin cups. Scoop batter into cups filling about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops of the batter with cinnamon sugar mixture.
-Bake at 350f for about 20-25 minutes or until the top of the muffin springs back when you gently push on it.
Mmmmmmmmm enjoy! Great for breakfast, great for tea, great for anytime!