Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Pumpkin Gingerbread Nut Muffins

I’ve noticed lately that I am a serious repeat offender… the muffin/brownie/cookie/bar type. Oh, and cupcakes. I make a lot of cupcakes. It seems I really need to expand my horizons, but when the weather gets cold and I crave comfort foods, I go straight for that big fluffy muffin, or crumbly coffee cake, or classic cookies for a dessert. I just can’t help it, hence yet another muffin post. I wish I could apologize, but these are too good to apologize for. Plus they help you transition between seasons perfectly – fall (pumpkin) and winter (gingerbread) create a happy little bridge from cool to cold, short days to long nights.

I made these muffins the morning after Thanksgiving, ironically right after I spent an hour on the elliptical! (It’s all about balance, right?!) For some reason over the long Thanksgiving weekend I was up early every day, which meant not enough sleep, but also plenty of time to get something in the oven before anyone else had even woken up yet. There’s something completely magical to me about waking up early and working in a quiet kitchen, watching the sun rise and petting my curious kitties who’d made the trek home with it. Plus even better, it makes for a happy family that wakes up to a kitchen fragrant with fall spices, and a warm muffin handed to them when they say good morning.

I’ve been using a lot of cake flour lately, mostly because I love the soft and delicate crumb it produces. For these muffins I substituted 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 cup cake flour, and I absolutely loved the combination. I think if you can sneak in wheat flour without hindering the flavor too much, it’s always a good idea. I also added a tiny pinch of ground cloves, because it’s the quintessential fall spice to me, and I think that really melded well with the other spices. Iswapped in brown sugar for granulated, just so get a touch of molasses flavor in the muffins, though they were still distinctly pumpkin, and not quite as ginger-bready as I’d have liked. I guess I’ll just have to try again!

I had these with a homemade gingerbread latte, and they were delightful. I think my next muffin adventure will have to be full-blown gingerbread muffins. Now that it’s December, it’s time to get festive!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Nut Muffins
adapted from Simply Recipes

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 cup cake flour)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (I used walnuts)
2 Tbsp well chopped candied ginger

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.

1) Mix the pumpkin, melted butter, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. Fold in the candied ginger and chopped nuts.

2) Spoon mixture into a prepared muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Cool on a rack.

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