Pumpkin Muffins: A Tasty Fall Treat
Having a mini muffin pan has changed my life. No really, it has—not in a big way, but it's inspired us to experiment with different muffin recipes. A healthy muffin makes a great breakfast treat, lunch box snack, playgroup munchie, or Halloween party goodie. One of our favorite muffins to make in the fall (and year-round, even), are pumpkin muffins. They're delicious, healthy (pumpkins have lots of fiber, beta carotene, and protein), and easy to make. Sometimes we just grab a box of Trader Joe's pumpkin bread mix, but more often than not, we make them from scratch. They make the house smell great when they're baking, too.
The kids also like to help make the muffins, and have a lot of fun stirring, mixing, and cracking eggs. Portioning the batter out into muffin cups and working with the oven are best left to the grownups, however. Feel free to add raisins, chopped nuts, or even pumpkin seeds if you like (1/4 cup). This recipe makes about a dozen muffins or 24 mini muffins, and can be easily doubled if you're feeding a crowd.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup dark molasses
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (or pureed cooked pumpkin)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- More brown sugar, for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 400º. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and molasses with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg and pumpkin and stir until well blended.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda. (If don't have pumpkin pie spice, use 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.)
Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and fold in until just combined; be careful not to overmix. (If you're using raisins or nuts, you can fold them in now.)
Pour the batter into a muffin tin lined with paper muffin cups. Fill cups about 2/3 full. If you like, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little brown sugar.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes for regular muffins, or 8 to 10 minutes for mini muffins. They're done when muffin tops are firm and spring back to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. They're great warm or cold, but eating one hot from the oven is a special treat.
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