Pumpkin Muffins

My sister, strange child that she is, hates all things chocolate. Despite the fact that, to our dad’s family, it is nearly blasphemous to say such a thing, she has spent her near-nineteen years turning her nose up at anything cocoa (save one time, at age three, when she attempted to eat a Barbie chocolate because it was wrapped in pink foil). So when I turned up to the photo lab meeting last night with only brownie-cupcakes, she immediately chided me for not making something she would eat. These muffins are a baked apology.

And I’m pretty sure you can’t hold a grudge once you receive these. They’re light and moist, yet incredibly flavorful. I like them plain, but the original recipe includes raisins, nuts, and a few sunflower seeds sprinkled on the tops. With or without them, they’re delicious.As I was making these, perhaps slightly mindlessly (come on, muffins are not very challenging) I made a blunder I’m almost too embarrassed to admit. In the midst of blending in the eggs, I accidentally dropped half an egg shell in with the mixer on, and all of the sudden my muffins were going to be a lot crunchier than I had planned. However, after a quick google search on whether you can bake with them, I found a tip that said to just push the batter through a fine mesh sieve. Sure enough, it worked great!And we all ate eggshell-free muffins and lived happily ever after. Bonus points if you do what my roommate did in the last photo here, which was to put pumpkin butter on one of the muffins for maximum pumpkin-ness.

But really, just turn off the mixer when you add eggs.

Pumpkin Muffins

adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

yields 12 regular-sized muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg (the recipe calls for freshly grated, I used ground)
Pinch of allspice (I skipped this)
8 tbsp (1 stick or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 buttermilk
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (aka sanding sugar or Sugar on the Raw), for dusting

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease the muffin molds or line with paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or an electric hand mixer in a large bowl), beat the butter at medium speed until soft.
  4. Add both the sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth. [With my KitchenAid, creaming the sugars took about 3 minutes, and generally closer to 5 with a hand mixer]
  5. One by one, add the eggs, beating for a minute after the eggs are incorporated, then beat in the vanilla.
  6. Lower the mixer speed and mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk.
  7. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients in a slow, steady stream, mixing only until just incorporated. To avoid overmixing, you can stop the machine early and stir any remaining dry ingredients into the batter using a rubber spatula.
  8. Stir in the raisins and nuts, if using- like I said above, I skipped mix-ins.
  9. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups [as pictured above, I like to use an ice cream scoop to ensure evenness] and sprinkle a teaspoon or so of the turbinado sugar over the top of each muffin
  10. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester/thin knife stuck in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  11. Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then remove and finish cooling on a rack.

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