Pumpkin muffins! When I was planning my muffin-baking marathon, I didn't want to have to go buy any ingredients, and I wanted to use up some things I had on hand. I happened to have some pumpkin puree on hand, and since it's fall (the most wonderful time of the year), I knew I needed to make pumpkin muffins. I thought about searching the Internet for a good recipe, but I thought I'd check Dorie's cookbook (Baking: From My Home to Yours) first. Lo and behold, there on page 13 was a recipe for pumpkin muffins, and I had all the ingredients right here in my little kitchen! Score! They were a breeze to put together, and they came out beautifully!
I loved these muffins. They're full of goodies...spice, pumpkin, golden raisins, and pecans. Yum! The batter was very dense, and it made for beautiful muffins. The tops didn't spread out and get flat around the edges like a lot of muffins do...these were the best-looking muffins I've ever made. I only made one tiny substitution...Dorie says that you should sprinkle raw sunflower seeds over the batter in the muffin cups, but I didn't have those. I did, however, have pepitas (a fancy word for pumpkin seeds). They worked well and gave the final product a nice look.
These muffins were the perfect compliment to a nice warm cup of coffee on a crisp fall morning. For those of you who haven't purchased Dorie's wonderful book, I'll post the recipe and hope she doesn't whip me. Enjoy!
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground allspice
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup moist, plump golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
About 1/3 cup unsalted raw sunflower seeds (or pepitas), for topping
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft. Add both sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth. One by one, add the eggs, beating for a minute after the eggs are incorporated, then beat in the vanilla. Lower the mixer speed and mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear. To avoid overmixing, you can stop the machine early and stir any remaining dry ingredients into the batter using a rubber spatula. Stir in the raisins and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle a few sunflower seeds (or pepitas) over the top of each muffin.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a thin knife insterted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove each one from its mold and finish cooling on the rack.