Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's All About the Pumpkins . . . and the Pumpkin Raisin Muffins . . .

If I received a cupcake for every single time within just this past week that I've either heard, read, or spoken the word "pumpkin," I think I'd have enough inventory to open a bakery. Halloween week really seems to be all about the pumpkins. In light of this fact, how could I not jump on the big, round, bright-orange band wagon? I just had to do it. I jumped right on up there, and the view's very nice, very colorful.

I don't think I have ever made pumpkin muffins of any kind before (either that or I just blanked it out of my memory for some reason that's been lost to history), so I was really pleased with the way these turned out. On a whim, I made them in mini-bundt pans, and dog-gone if they don't look even more pumpkin-like than I'd anticipated.

You might say these muffins are kind of two-faced. Put them bundt side up and they look like, well, little bundt cakes masquerading as pumpkins. Flip them over and they look pretty much like a nicely convex traditional muffin, with that beautiful golden glow that just seems to scream "October! Falling leaves! Goblins and ghosts! Get out the rake!" (You know the glow I mean? . . . it's a pretty hue, isn't it?).

The recipe I used is one I adapted from Elizabeth Alston's little book called, appropriately, Muffins. It's one of at least two books she wrote that focus on a nice sampling of breakfast foods, especially breakfast breads (scones, biscuits, etc.). I altered the formula for her pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins. I used raisins instead of chocolate chips, and I changed the spices, leaving out her recommended pumpkin-pie spice entirely. (I don't have any of that, and what's in it anyway? One just never knows.) I used cinnamon, ginger, fresh nutmeg, and a pinch of ground cloves instead--not too much of any one spice. Her recipe also called for almonds, which I've omitted. Oh, and I doubled her recipe and rewrote her instructions.

Anyway, it's a really good recipe and I'd definitely use it again. So, without further ado, I offer my own contribution to the ever-enlarging family of pumpkin muffins. Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Raisin Muffins

(For a printable version of this recipe, click here!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use baking spray to coat two mini-bundt pans that produce 6 minis each. Or, use a couple of regular muffin pans (for approximately 16 regular size muffins). Use paper or foil muffins cups, or grease the muffin cups well. No mixer is needed for this recipe.

3 and 1/3 cups All Purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
2 cups canned plain pumpkin
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 and 1/2 cups raisins
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch of ground cloves
Scant 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, spices, and salt.

Break the eggs into another bowl and lightly stir them to break them up. Add into that the melted butter, pumpkin, and the raisins. Stir well to completely combine.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients in the large bowl. Fold together until everything is just moistened. Don't overmix.

Scoop the batter evenly into your pans.

Bake for about 20 minutes or so, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool.

Aren't they cute? See, I told you so. Okay, now take a bite of one . . . yummy, yes? Enjoy!

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