Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

A million years ago (approximately), when I worked at UC Berkeley, the department I worked for was full of people who appreciated food. We had food parties a few times a year where everyone brought a passage from a book, or a scene from a movie that involved food, and a dish inspired by that. It was always fun and always delicious. One of those foodie co-workers brought a loaf of the most delicious pumpkin bread to work one morning and the recipe to share. I made it once, way back then, and haven't made it since. But I've always remembered how delicious it was and have always meant to revisit the recipe. Well, now I've revisited AND revamped it.

The most obvious revamping is that I made it into muffins. So much easier to manage, store, take, and eat than a loaf, or even a slice of a loaf. I also replaced half the oil with applesauce to make it a tiny bit healthier. I have tried replacing all oil with applesauce in other recipes and I feel like it makes sweet breads a little too tough. I'm willing to eat a little oil if it means that the muffin is tender. There is still a good bit of sugar in the recipe, but I'm not sure what can be done about that. At least it's not HFCS. :)

You can use an electric mixer if you feel you must, but it's not necessary at all. And I don't know about you, but I like, sometimes, just for a change of pace, to make a recipe that can be done with a bowl and a spoon. So simple.

Pumpkin Muffins *click here for printable version*

adapted from “Joan’s Pumpkin Loaf” from an unknown source
yield: approximately 18 muffins, or ?? mini muffins, or 1 large loaf (10x5x3), or 4 mini loaves

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar or brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 pound (2 cups) canned pumpkin--NOT pumpkin pie filling
8 ounces (1 cup) pitted dates, cut into pieces
4 ounces (generous 1 cup) walnuts, chopped or broken into medium-size pieces

Adjust an oven rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a muffin tin, or use cupcake papers (if using a loaf pan, use 10-cup capacity, butter, then dust the pan with fine, dry bread crumbs, then shake or tap out excess crumbs).

Sift together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs just to mix. Add the sugar, oil, and applesauce and beat lightly just to mix. Mix in the pumpkin and then the dates.

Now add the sifted dry ingredients and stir, mix, or beat only until they are smoothly incorporated. Stir in the nuts.

Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one muffin comes out clean (for large loaf pan, bake 1-1/2 hours).

Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

When these are warm, they're obviously delicious with butter that gets nice and melty. And when they're cold, I like them with a little whipped cream cheese spread over them. Yummy. Cheesy. Spicy. Creamy.

TGIP Rating--Pumpkin Muffins--KEEPER. Still good after all these eons. Even better as a muffin.

Next up: Prima's 11th birthday is soon. She wants a cake. Of course. But with pink fondant. Yikes. I'll aim to deliver.


mindo said...

Um...holy CRAP these turned out so freaking delicious!! New fall recipe staple for me. And the wicked cream cheese frosting i made is superb with them!

April Fossen said...

Uhm, Min, recipe!