Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Little Goes a Long Way

Thanksgiving is over and done with (at least in Canada), and I’m sure many of my fellow Canadians were dealing with the Thanksgiving aftermath this week: leftovers. We’ve got your classic turkey sandwiches—cold with some Swiss cheese and cranberry sauce, or hot and slathered in gravy—your turkey pot pies, the seemingly endless pumpkin pie…

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A little sure does go a long way with one can of pumpkin puree. I was able to squeeze out three different treats from the little can that could: last week’s pumpkin flan, pumpkin pancakes (a favourite of mine), and pumpkin muffins.

With a meeting first thing Thursday morning, I thought everyone could use a little sugar-boost at breakfast. Not to mention that muffins are one of the easiest things to transport around for someone who takes the public transit. This recipe is slightly tweaked from the pumpkin cupcakes I made last year and yields incredibly moist muffins (reminiscent of my carrot muffin recipe), but for some reason they didn’t taste quite the same as I remembered. That’s not saying much, since I do have pretty bad short-term memory, opted for vegetable oil instead of the flavour-boosting butter, and the lack of cream cheese frosting. I’d love the spices and the pumpkin flavour to stand out even more—either that, or it’s just my taste buds slowly going dull (I desperately hope it’s the former). This recipe is a great starting point though, and you can add raisins or dried cranberries to the batter, or sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top to give it some more substance. I think the next time I’ll play around with some wheat bran as well, to make them even heartier, healthier and more flavourful.

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Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 12

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
8 ounces pumpkin puree
½ cup raisins or dried cranberries, soaked in boiling water for ½ hour and drained (optional)
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with paper liners and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aisde.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, pumpkin puree and brown sugar. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the raisins and pecans, if using.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.


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