Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Double Pumpkin Muffins

By: Marilyn Bentz-Crowley

These high-topped muffins are delicious with the combination of orange and spice enhancing pumpkin's robust taste. Hulled green pumpkin seeds are easily found at health food stores. Store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Streusel Topping
2/3 cup (150 mL) all-purpose flour
½ cup (125 mL) icing sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder
¼ cup (50 mL) butter, melted
¼ tsp (1 mL) pure vanilla extract
¼ cup (50 mL) green pumpkin seeds

½ cup (125 mL) green pumpkin seeds
3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
¼ tsp (1 mL) each of grated nutmeg and all-spice
1 small or ½ large orange
1 egg
1 cup (250 mL) pure pumpkin purée (not sweetened pie filling-see Tip below)
1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
½ cup (125 mL) butter, melted
Icing sugar, for topping, optional

1. To make streusel, stir flour with icing sugar and baking powder. Stir in melted butter and vanilla until moist crumbs form. Set aside with raw pumpkin seeds.

2. To make muffins, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

3. Coat 12 standard muffin tin cups liberally with nonstick spray or butter, including top of pan for easy release of large muffins. Spread ½ cup (125 mL) pumpkin seeds on a shiny baking tray; bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until a few seeds turn colour. Cool on a rack.

4. Meanwhile, stir flour with sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Make a well. Finely grate zest from orange and squeeze ¼ cup (50 mL) juice. Lightly beat egg; stir in pumpkin purée, buttermilk, juice, vanilla and zest.

5. Stir pumpkin mixture and butter into flour until mostly moistened. Then stir in toasted pumpkin seeds until well-mixed; divide batter among cups, heaping slightly in centre. (Batter completely fills cups.) Sprinkle with raw pumpkin seeds; then liberally with streusel crumbs. Press seeds and crumbs gently into muffin tops.

6. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes or until a cake tester or skewer inserted into muffin centre comes out clean and tops are lightly golden. Rest on cooling rack for 5 minutes; then lift each muffin with the aid of a dull kitchen knife out of pan onto rack. Cool completely; to serve, lightly sieve a spoonful of icing sugar over muffin tops, if desired. (Covered muffins keep well for a day or 2 at room temperature or freeze air-tight for up to 2 weeks.)

Tip Pumpkin purée freezes well for months if pre-measured and spooned into freezer bags. Flatten purée in bags, excluding as much air as possible before sealing, and freeze flat for swift thawing.

Makes 12 large muffins


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