Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Still Here ...! Makin' Muffins

It's been a busy few weeks, and I realize I didn't post at all in October.

I could blame our honeymoon in Argentina (expect a post on that trip soon!), but mostly, I just haven't been the mood to cook, grill, bake.

I have, however, been in the mood to eat.

When we got back from 10 days in the southern hemisphere, it took a few days to get over our colds and get my groove back ... and even longer to get to the store for some groceries. (Though the day we arrived, my sister picked us up at the aiport, deposited us at home, and promptly went to the nearest grocery store. She purchased the ingredients for -- and then cooked us -- a lentil-spinach soup, and filled our fruit bowl with fresh fruits after hearing our cries, that went something like this: "No more meat! No more pasta! Detox! Detox!")

I've finally been to the store, I've cooked a few meals (nothing noteworthy) and I've caught up on emails, caught up with friends, caught up at work, and caught up on the shows I missed while we were away (namely, the premiere of The Walking Dead, Season 2, which I've been eagerly anticipating for about 11 months).

Two days ago, when the calendar struck November, it occurred to me that fall had arrived -- hey, I'm in Texas; fall takes its time -- and I was ready to smell the smells of the season. In my own kitchen, not via the interwebs.

I'd stumbled across this recipe, and immediately bookmarked it. For the rest of the day, no matter how many other seasonal recipes I came across, it was this one that I kept going back to. It looked so easy.

And it was.

I've got very little to add ... though I'll note that I made regular-sized muffins and not minis, and my cook time was about 16-17 minutes at 350 degrees.

Next time, I want to try a cream cheese icing, or perhaps a glaze with orange zest and juice (and zest in the muffin mix, too).

For my first attempt, I followed the recipe closely but tried to up the health factor just a little. I swapped some white sugar for brown, some AP flour for whole wheat ... and I didn't have pumpkin spice, so I threw in a couple of pinches of allspice and nutmeg along with the cinnamon).

Overall, I was very pleased with the dense, moist muffin it yielded in return.

1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar (I used 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated white)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I didn't have, so I added two pinches of nutmeg and two pinches of allspice)
1/4 tsp ground ginger (I skipped this)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (I did this)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup AP and 1/2 cup whole wheat)
About 1 tbsp turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top (I did this)
About 1/2 tsp extra cinnamon for sprinkling on top (I skipped this)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and generously grease up your muffin pan.

In a large bowl, whisk everything but the flour. Then slowly incorporate the flour.

Sprinkle tops of batter with a bit of turbinado sugar (and/or cinnamon, or add a glaze later) and bake in a preheated oven for about 14-18 minutes, or until a fork or toothpick comes out clean.

(Did I mention my favorite thing about this recipe? ONE BOWL, BABY.)

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