Monday, October 17, 2011

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

You know what they say about the third time being a charm?  Well, it's certainly held true for me this week in my quest to bring you a pumpkin recipe.  I'm seeing pumpkins everywhere; on doorsteps, nestled next to lampposts, and in the form of mountain sized displays of canned Libby's.  My mind can't help but go to work dreaming up endless ways to use it.  It's pumpkin season after all and I intended to work with it, even if it wasn't willing to work with me.  Let me give you a rundown on my week of recipe testing, hold the exasperated expression.  There was the hazelnut pumpkin tart, which was lovely in my mind, but yielded a much too crunchy crust.  Then there was the pumpkin falafel idea; the mixture too wet, and the taste not quite what I hoped for.  But I kept trudging, and I think you'll be happy I did.  Alas, meet the apple pumpkin muffin.  Success.  Moist and plump with flecks of warm apple pieces hot from the oven.  I've created a better-for-you muffin while still delivering the best of fall flavors.

There are a few tricks I've learned in creating healthier baked goods that are worth mentioning.  For one, reduce and swap the sugar for something more natural like applesauce, agave, or in this case, maple syrup.  I can't tell you how many recipes I've attempted using little to no sweetness and winding up disappointed.  The last thing I want is a processed white sugar bomb, but you do need a slightly sweet element to make it work.  The addition of apple brings that component to these muffins as well.  Also, fruit and vegetable purees like pumpkin give the muffin a great moist quality without having to add in oil.  Applesauce and yogurt are great stand-ins too. 

The moral of the story kids?  If at first you don't succeed, try try again.  Or at least try three times, and if the third time's not a charm, I don't know what to tell you.  Time to move on I suppose.  I remember reading somewhere that failure is often a signpost to move into a different direction.  Also good advice.  I'm glad I stuck with the pumpkin and hope you are too.

~Apple Pumpkin Muffin Recipe~
Inspired by Ellie Krieger

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup butter, just barely melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
1 cup buttermilk (or milk/milk substitute)
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1 red apple, peeled, cored and diced
1-2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: wheat and white flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.  In a second bowl, add butter, eggs, pumpkin, maple syrup, and buttermilk.  Stir and combine together.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Peel and core the apple and dice into small cubes, adding it to the batter.

Grease or line muffin tins.  Pour batter into each of the tins, 3/4 of the way full.  Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds atop each muffin.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffins comes out clean.  Let cool for at least 10 minutes, and then place on a cooling rack.  You might need to gently run a knife along the muffin to make it easier to remove from the tin.  Makes one dozen.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you stuck with your pumpkin recipes, these look great. Although that advice about moving in a direction is interesting too, hmmmm.

I love the pumpkin seeds on top! It's easy to forget the little touches like that but they make such a difference...

Oh! And here's a recipe for sweet potato falafel that looks really intriguing... don't know if you'd want to check it out or not but I thought I'd throw it your way. :)

Stephanie said...

Those do look really good! I think I first saw those on 101 cookbooks. I forgot all about them though, thanks for the reminder. I'll stick with those next time around! Roasted pumpkin is very moist and I found out it's hard to work with for something like that...sweet potatoes sound like they would work out much better. :)

Mary said...

A muffin couldn't be more season than this. You've captured fall in a muffin cup :-). These really look wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary