after galivanting halfway around the world i feel like i’m a tad late on the 2011 fall celebrations.
to me, pumpkins and winter squash are the best thing about cool weather eating. they’re no small consolation for the end of summer blues. i love seeing their wacky shapes and gorgeous colors in my garden and at the markets! and i love baking with them even more.
for these I wanted a versatile muffin, equally at home served alongside a savory bean & greens dish or nestled under my favorite flavor-of-the-month fall spread.
pumpkins and winter squash always add a moistness and heft to baked goods. i’ve added full fat yogurt here to bring that quality to the next level. what i’m sayin’ is,
they melt in your mouth.
coarse local cornmeal, a tad of smokey dried pepper and home-ground cinnamon celebrate new world flavors; these are my ‘happy to be home’ muffins.
make them. now.
(and please, invite me over, ’cause this dozen is going quick!)
pumpkin corn muffins
1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup coarse cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 – 1 teaspoon aleppo pepper (or chipotle powder, or smoked spanish paprika)*
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon**
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 packed cup pumpkin or winter squash puree ***
1/2 cup maple, light brown, or raw sugar
1/2 cup yogurt
2 large eggs
yield: 12 muffins
1. preheat oven to 400 degrees. grease muffin tins.
2. in a large bowl mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pepper.
3. in a separate bowl whisk together cooled butter, pumpkin, sugar, yogurt, and eggs. add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. be mindful not to over stir, this will contribute to a tender muffin.
4. place on middle rack. bake for 20 minutes or until nothing sticks to a toothpick or cake tester when inserted in the center. gently release muffins and cool on rack.
these muffins freeze well and disappear quick, so double-batching is a good idea.
*3/4 teaspoon aleppo pepper provides a subtle smokey heat with just a tad of peppery tang. you could go to a full teaspoon if using a mild pepper type, or if you want to up the heat anti.
**i cannot stress enough the difference between grinding your own cinnamon from a cinnamon stick and the flavor-lacking pre-powdered stuff. do it! it’s worth it. plus, cinnamon sticks last so much longer in your larder.
***making your own pumpkin or winter squash puree is easy. to roast: cut the squash in half, scrape out seeds & strings, and brush a neutral oil all around the flesh. place cut side down on baking sheet in a 400 degree oven. bake for approximately 45 minutes depending on size. you’ll know it’s done when you can stick a fork easily through the center. let cool completely, then peel the skin off. to puree: place flesh in bowl and mash with fork or better yet, your hands. it freezes well – do it in cup sizes so they’re at the ready when it’s muffin makin’ time.
jam on it: a once and again series celebrating toasty things fit to be slathered.
i mean, you gotz jams, don’t ya? …get in there and bake!