Monday, November 4, 2013

Pumpkin Muffins

Living in Alaska does skew your view of the world when you are a child (o.k. even as an adult).  My children grew up in a world where dark never existed without cold, summer was always light (at least while they were awake),  cows were funny looking moose, and corn and pumpkins were things you only found at the grocery store.

When Zach was about 3 years old we went to Montana to visit grandparents, he was amazed at the big group of funny looking moose, and all standing in a group... they were cows.   When he was 5 during our trip, he came screaming in the house because it was getting dark outside and he needed his coat, NOW... it was 85°F but he had never experienced dark and warm together before.  When he was 7, his grandma grew a pumpkin for him in Montana and he didn't understand how she got it out of the can to look like that (and before I get any grief, yes he did carve pumpkins every year at Halloween, so why he thought this I can't answer, I blame it on his father....)!
A moist pumpkin muffin with a little sweet surprise inside!

Yes, we shopped at the farmer's market, but Fairbanks just doesn't get warm enough for big pumpkins and corn so we always bought them from the grocery store.  The first time my son went to a pumpkin field and saw rows and rows of pumpkins, he was amazed...and he was in his 20s!  He had to call me and tell me all about it, it was so novel to him. 

I use a lot of pumpkin.  It has great fiber and I use it in lots of dishes, lasagna, soup, my morning smoothie, I think it is very mild and can be added without a change of taste, but can add a silky texture.  I also love the taste of pumpkin and pumpkin spices, pumpkin latte, Pumpkin creamer with Kahlua in my coffee,  pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies...yep, I love it all.  I thought I would make pumpkin muffins for 'Muffin Monday' this week. The house smelled warm and spicy, the muffins were moist and delicious.  I love stuff on top of my muffins like these pumpkin seeds and topping.  Yum...
Lots of spices.

Isn't November the official "Stuff Something" month?  See how I'm helping you.

Pumpkin Muffins
adapted from All Recipes

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsps. pumpkin pie spice - divided
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 (15 oz.) can cooked pure pumpkin

Optional Topping
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. rolled oats
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 12 muffin tins with paper cups, or butter tins well.

Mix cream cheese, granulated sugar, and 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice in small bowl.  Place in refrigerator to cool.

Mix brown sugar, butter, rolled oats, flour, and pumpkin pie spice together until well mixed and crumbly.  Set aside.

Stir flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, ginger, slat and baking soda together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Beat brown sugar and egg together with an electric mixer until well mixed, add all the vegetable oil and pumpkin, mix well.  Add flour and spice mixture, mixing by hand until just incorporated.

Fill muffin cups 1/2 way with pumpkin mixture, add about 1 tsp. cream cheese mixture to each muffin cup, top with remaining pumpkin mixture, cover cream cheese completely.

Top muffins with pumpkin seeds and sugar/oatmeal topping.  Bake for 25 minutes or until tops springs back when gently touched.  Cool for 5 minutes, then remove from muffin tins.  Cool completely.  Be careful, cream cheese stays hot!

November 4, 2013   Daylight 7 hrs.  27min.  33sec.   Temp. H 31 / L 22°F

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