Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lookin' for a tasty snack? How about Pumpkin Muffins!

I am always on the hunt for a good pumpkin muffin recipe and I have finally found “The One!” (Of course I played with the recipe it to make it extra tasty!) The ingredients list looks long, but please don't let that fool you. This recipe is very easy and quick.

The pumpkin flavor really shines in this recipe while letting the spices gently emerge. I love the addition of bright red, dried cranberries because they add a slightly chewy texture, and the pecans add a sweet, delicate crunch. Textures and colors in my food always make me happy...well, usually. Ha!

Pumpkin Muffins

• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 cup canned pumpkin
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup wheat flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries
• 1/2 cup pecans
Streusel Topping
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 Tbs flour
• 1 Tbsp butter cut into small pieces
Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Add the butter and blend together with your fingers…go ahead…get dirty!

1. Preheat the oven to 350*. Line your muffin pans with the paper liners.
2. Combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt and set aside.
3. Mix together the sugars, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla.
4. Add the pumpkin and milk to the sugar mixture and mix well; then add the flour and stir to combine.
5. Fold in the dried cranberries and pecans.
6. Scoop the batter into 12 regular size muffins.
7. Generously sprinkle the streusel topping onto each muffin.
8. Bake for around 15 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Alternatives, ideas and suggestions…
• If you have non-stick muffin pans, paper liners will do you fine. If you don’t, I recommend you spray your muffin pan with a non-stick pan spray and also use paper liners…you can’t be to careful!!
• Feel free to mix up the mix-ins...i.e. pecans & cranberries.
• If you don’t have pecans, walnuts can be added instead.
• Rather use frozen or fresh cranberries? Go for it! Just give them a rough chop.
• If you don’t want dried cranberries in your muffins, try substituting them with raisins.
• Don’t want cranberries or raisins in your muffins? You could add a 1/4 cup of pecans to the 1/2 cup that is called for in the recipe.
• Why do I choose to use pecans instead of walnuts? Pecans are a bit sweeter and crunchier, and I just love them.
• Remember, toasting the pecans first gives them a more refined flavor.
• Don’t want dried cranberries, raisins,walnuts or pecans in your muffins? How about adding 3/4 cup chocolate chips?
• Mini chocolate chips work really well because they lend a nice texture in the muffin, but I’d only use 1/2 cup…pumpkin should be the main flavor here.
• If you’re a purest, just leave out the mix-ins an go for the straight-up pumpkin.

Use your imagination and go play with your food!!