Halloween may be done and gone, but Pumpkin Season isn’t over yet, and we still have a few months of apples, sweet potatoes, cranberries, booze, ginger, and more! Once the pumpkins are all adopted away, it’s Yam Time, yo.
There are various dietary restrictions and differences among my family and friends: I can’t have dairy (well…I can but I shouldn’t), my uncle can’t have gluten (definitely can’t), and my cousins try to eat healthy. Little Woeful Me likes to bake constantly, but even my Massive Mouth and Insatiable Stomach can only take so much, so I generally try to think of things I can give to people, and I’ve pulled more than one muscle stretching to find reasons to give them to the people.
Recently, I thought of making autumn muffins for people who want less sugar. I don’t know much about sweeteners and calories, but I went out and stocked up on molasses, agave nectar, and maple syrup.
Long story short, pumpkin muffins + molasses = not pumpkin muffins (and if you calculate the conversion from brown sugar to molasses the way I do, then you may just end up with dark brown spicy mush.) I made a few variations with molasses before I realized it’s just too intense for a pumpkin anything, and so I tried maple syrup and agave nectar instead. Both of them worked perfectly without compromising the integrity of the muffins (although, really, how much can you compromise the integrity of such a proud pastry?)
And then I got a bakery job interview and they wanted me to bring in a pastry, so I made the muffins a sixth time. And then, I thought I would attempt some gluten-free versions, so I made them a seventh and an eighth time. And then, my parents ate them all before I could take any pictures, so I made them a dozen more times.
All within a week. And they all only lasted about 12 hours. They were/are damned good.
I call them “semi-whole wheat” because I like to do a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flours. WW flour is really dense and dry, and has a really heavy taste. On the other hand, it has far more nutrients than refined white flour/all-purpose. I’m not sure how 100% whole wheat muffins would turn out, but for hearty, gut-warming autumn muffins, the whole wheat is unbeatable. If the recipe you’re taking from only uses white flour and you want to mix in whole wheat, figure out what percentage of whole wheat you’d like (eg., 50% all-purpose, 50% whole wheat), and then just reduce the amount of whole wheat by a few grams (so, 60% all-purpose, 30% whole wheat, and less flour overall), to match the ratio of wet to dry ingredients. Otherwise, you’ll end up baking and burning some whole-wheat pumpkin boulders. And if you want less sugar, omit the streusel topping and use something else instead (like pecans.)
but hold up, what is “muffin of the month”?
Sometimes it’s hard to think of things to blog about, or to produce enough quality content within a short period of time (I can honestly only manage two recipes a month.) I’ve found that a good way to beef up your blog is by doing regular post series, such as Throwback Thursday, Shortbread Sunday, Five Bottles of Red Wine Friday….or something like that. Each month, in addition to whatever else I can manage, I’ll be preparing a new muffin recipe.
Aside from the fact that they’re the easiest thing to make, it was the first M word I thought of…
semi-whole wheat pumpkin muffins with streusel topping
makes one dozen
120 g all-purpose flour
80 g whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom
160 g maple syrup or agave nectar (can be substituted 1:1 ratio)
230 g pumpkin puree (or sweet potato)
50 g canola oil
2 eggs (100 grams total without shells)
100 g buttermilk
extras: oats, toasted pecans, raisins
80 g granulated sugar
50 g all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp water
3/4 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbsp (57 – 60 g) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C and line a muffin pan with 12 paper muffin cups.
make the streusel:
In a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, and oats (if using.)
With a fork or whisk, blend in the water, breaking up any clumps as you go, in order to wet as much of the mixture as possible.
Slowly whisk in melted butter, breaking up large clumps with your hands or the whisk, until there’s no dry mixture left. You can put this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
make the muffins:
In one medium/large bowl, combine flours, salt, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and oats (if using.) In another medium/large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup (or agave), pumpkin puree, canola oil, eggs, and buttermilk.
Using a whisk or rubber spatula, mix dry ingredients into wet, mixing quickly until they’re mostly combined. They don’t need to be fully mixed together, but you shouldn’t see any flour.
Using a large spoon or a cookie scoop, fill each muffin cup about 3/4 – 4/5 full, and sprinkle the tops liberally with streusel.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until the tops are dry and they resist a little when you press down. You can also test by inserting a wooden toothpick into the center of a muffin, and if it comes out clean, they’re done!
They’re perfect for breakfast, lunch, first dessert, second dessert, midnight snack, moonlight walks on the beach, and more.
See ya later, pumpkin eater.