Thursday, October 25, 2012

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

This fall I've really fallen in love with pumpkin when it comes to baking.  Up until recently, the only time I've eaten pumpkin was in the form of pumpkin pie, which I've never really been a fan of because store bought pumpkin pie can't really compete against apple pie (especially homemade apple pie) and those two pies are traditionally enjoyed around Thanksgiving.  I've really enjoyed getting back into baking - it's so satisfying to create something from scratch and have it turn out so delicious and it's fun to share the end result with friends and family.  Since so many others were raving about pumpkin recipes, I decided I should add it to my repertoire too.

So, this time I decided to make pumpkin muffins and just as I've done with other recipes, I changed a few things around to make it a bit more healthy.  The original recipe I started with was Libby's Pumpkin Muffins and I chose this one for a few different reasons.  First of all, I had all the ingredients on hand already, with the exception of the pumpkin pie spice but I was able to improvise there.  Secondly, it used the whole can of the pumpkin puree (I really didn't want any of it to go to waste).  And lastly, it was easy to change a few things up to reduce the fat and calories without having to worry about sacrificing any of the flavor.  Here is my version of the pumpkin muffins:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Splenda Blend Brown Sugar
1 can pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt.  Stir with a whisk until well combined.

In another large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, pumpkin puree, eggs, canola oil, apple sauce, and water and stir until well blended. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until everything is well incorporated. 

This recipe yields 30 muffins but I decided to only make 16 since I had two muffin tins (8 muffins per tin) and I really didn't need more than that.  I lined the muffin tins with paper baking cups and filled each cup 3/4 full and baked them for about 30 minutes (I recommend checking them after 25 minutes).  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Put the muffin tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove the muffins from the tins and put them directly onto the wire rack to cool completely. 

The muffins turned out very flavorful and quite moist.  They make a great breakfast on the go or a relatively guilt-free snack later in the day.

So, what happened to the rest of the batter since I only made 16 of the 30 muffins?  I refrigerated it and ended up baking some pumpkin bread the next day.  I greased a 9"x5" loaf pan and poured the remainder of the batter in.  It ended up being a little less than what you would normally have if you were making a 9"x5" loaf, so I just adjusted the baking time.  Other recipes have called for baking a quick bread for 50-55 minutes in a 350 degree oven but after close monitoring, I determined mine was done after 40 minutes. 

If you wanted to freeze the loaf while finishing up the muffins, you could always tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and then in heavy duty foil before popping it in the freezer and it should easily keep for a couple of months (but who can wait that long?). 

Hope you'll give this one a try.  If you know of any other great pumpkin recipes, I'd love to hear about them or any of your adventures in baking for that matter.


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