See, now I’m a girl who keeps my promises, eh? About everything but picking up the dry-cleaning, at least. As I expected, these pumpkin muffins were a cinch, which is good, because I expect that from my muffins. They should max out at two bowls for prep, you should be able to mix them by hand and there shouldn’t be any excessively difficult steps. It’s not rocket science.
This recipe was all of that, plus, I discovered something – you know how they always say not to over-mix muffins? A large wire whisk, when mixing by hand, really allows you to incorporate all of the drying ingredients quickly without mashing them up too much. It’s made it much harder to overdo it, despite my better efforts.
And now, the part where I am a moron, because what entry would be complete without a little self-deprecation? Evidence the first: the recipe calls for a solid-pack pumpkin puree. What did I buy? Pumpkin pie filling; you know, the stuff doctored up with sugar and spices and some crap with a lot of letters. In my first attempt at the batter, I had already mixed the sugar with the eggs and oil when I realized the pumpkin already had enough sugar. So, I dumped it (please don’t ask where, because the state of our kitchen drain is unappetizing at best). But, then it turned out that maybe the pumpkin pie filling didn’t have enough sugar, but at this point (evidence the second) I had run out. Of sugar. It baffled me too. The muffins could use some more, both sugar and spice, which was by the way the other thing that I skipped, assuming the pie filling had enough. Well, meh, not enough for my tastes.
Despite my every attempt to wreck them, they’re a good pumpkin muffin, worthy of your palate. I can’t attest to whether the actual recipe, should you follow it, contains the correct amount of sugar or spice, for already-cited reasons, but who doesn’t adjust those things to taste, anyway? The sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar on top gave it a nice crisp on top when it came out of the oven, though unsurprisingly, it was somewhat softened by the time I took the better-lit pictures this morning.
Finally, in case you thought I was joking about my unbridled fervor over the new Gourmet issue yesterday, I offer up this evidence:
And this excludes the ones I determined too much of a calorie-heft for a weekday night, but am saving for later.
Adapted from the American club, in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet Magazine
New favorite adaptation 10/28/13, Sweet Potato Muffins: Roast a medium-to-large orange-fleshed sweet potato (pricked all over with a fork, at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour) until very tender. Let cool completely. (Can do this a day in advance; store in fridge.) Either mash or run potato flesh through a potato ricer. Measure 1 1/3 cup from this and continue with recipe below as printed.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (have successfully swapped whole wheat flour for half)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice (or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg + 1/4 teaspoon ginger + pinch of ground cloves and allspice)
1 cup (original recipe) to 1 1/3 cup (what I use these days; makes it even more rich) canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can, not pumpkin pie filling, which is sweetened and spiced)
1/3 cup vegetable or another neutral cooking oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put liners in 12 standard-sized muffin cups.
Stir or whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spice in small/medium bowl.
In a larger bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and 1 1/4 cups sugar. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until just combined. Divide batter among muffin cups (each about 3/4 full).
Stir together last tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle over each muffin.
Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.
Do ahead: Most muffins don’t keep well, but these are excellent on Day 2 (after being stored in an airtight container at room temperature) and not bad at all on Day 3. If longer, I’d keep them in the freezer until needed.