There was a chill in the morning last weekend and it made me so happy fall is finally here. I love all things fall – the small and feel of the crisp air, sights of the changing landscape, autumn scents, apple cider and pumpkin overload.
Let’s face reality – pumpkin is clearly one of the best things about fall. So last Saturday I decided it was time to tweak my Grandmothers Pumpkin Loaf recipe to make muffins. Although they tasted yummy they were an epic failure in the “muffin” category and more closely resembled creamy little pumpkin pies. Oops:
I have been battling with pumpkin for years and it all started when I was 13 years old. I begged my mom to let me make the pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving that year because it was “my most favorite pie in the whole world”. When it was time to mix in the milk I dropped the entire new gallon on the floor and it exploded all over the kitchen and living room, resembling a geyser. We found little splashes of dried milk in random places (on windows and on furniture legs) for months after that.
After getting the milk situation under control I poured my pumpkin concoction mix into pre-made crust tins. I finally was able to get my pies in the oven, despite the milk incident, and I was so proud of myself for overcoming the obstacles I encountered. After all, I was only 13 and Thanksgiving pies were a big deal.
Once I heard the kitchen timer I excitedly ran into the kitchen, donned the thickest oven mitts I could find and carefully grabbed the sides of the pie tin. I slowly slid it out of the oven only to have it fold in half and have the insides pour all over the inside of the oven and my mitts. I immediately started crying and my mom and siblings came running in. Once they realized I did not burn myself they promptly started laughing hysterically, scarring me and my pumpkin endeavors for the rest of my life.
Okay, I will admit I was not scarred for life and crack up every time this story it brought up. It is definitely brought up at least once a year at Thanksgiving or basically any time the word “pumpkin” is used.
What does all this have to do with pumpkin muffins? Well, the battle of pumpkin still remains strong for me and after several attempts I finally got these muffins just how I wanted them. Milk not included.
Maple Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 standard size muffins
1½ cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cardamom
2 cups pumpkin puree (15 oz)
5 Tbsp butter, melted
¼ cup real maple syrup
(Optional) for pumpkin seed topping:
¼ cup salted pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp brown sugar
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Spray or line muffin pan and set aside
-If making pumpkin seed topping: place seeds in bowl and spray lightly with cooking spray. Mix with brown sugar and set aside
-In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices until combined and set aside
-In a separate smaller bowl whisk pumpkin, melted butter, maple syrup and eggs until combined
-Gently fold wet ingredients into flour mixture, mixing just until combined
-Distribute batter evenly among muffin pan
-Add pumpkin seed topping if desired
-Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
-Let rest in pan 5 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack
-Store at room temperature in an airtight container