Friday, November 25, 2011

Declare a "Happy Accident": Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, thanked their bodies, and remembered to fit their workouts in around the food-focused holiday!

Since October began, I dreamed of making the perfect pumpkin sweet.  Although I’d be happy with any baked good, muffins were on my mind.  I scoured cookbooks, my recipe apps, and the internet for what would like the perfect recipe.  Did I succeed?  Well, if you change the challenge just described, then yes, I did.

I had so much trouble choosing the right recipe that I put off the project for quite some time.  Plus, October kind of flew by, right?  So busy!  In the end, I just picked one that was very highly rated in my All Recipes app and went for it. 

They weren’t the gooey, pumpkin, sweet treats I’d been craving, but rather like a spice cake flavor.  So although I didn’t make what I really wanted, I re-defined the dessert as “pumpkin spice muffins” for more accurate advertising to those I shared with.  In spite of my initial disappointment, they went over rather well among family and friends, and I actually ate many of them, myself.  So, it wasn’t a complete mistake; I just made something new that I didn’t intend to!  My old art teacher used to call these “Happy Accidents.”  That’s what these were. 

Don’t worry; I’ll still continue my quest for my dream pumpkin dessert throughout the season, but if you’re a fan of baked goods but not the too-sweet variety, read on to see the recipe.

This batter was based off of this Pumpkin Bread IV, but my healthy-swap changes are reflected below.  (Eg: applesauce for oil, cutting the sugar, adding agave--the usual health subs.  Maybe they're what caused my happy accident?)  So here we go:

Pumpkin Spice Muffins 
warning: this is a massive recipe. yields a ton of muffins. feel free to halve it. 

  • 29 oz canned pumpkin puree 
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs, 6 eggwhites
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp agave
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Mix-ins of your choice: walnuts, chocolate chips, raisins

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Arrange non-stick cupcake wrappers in two (or three, depending on size) large muffin tins. 

2. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, applesauce, sugar, agave, and eggs.  

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended.  

Now's your chance to throw in some extras, like semi-sweet chocolate chips, walnut pieces, raisins... I only went with chocolate chips, almost as an afterthought.  They did help sweeten it up a little; raisins would have done the trick, too.

4. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tins, dropping spoonfuls into each wrapper so the batter reaches just below the top.  

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  The top of the muffins should spring back when lightly pressed.  

This made so much batter, I even made a little pumpkin bread just because I could!
And, done.  You can see this made a ton of batter!  They came out pretty well, although like I said, not exactly as the recipe described or as I anticipated.  You try it and tell me how yours come out; maybe it was a fluke on my part!  Dare you to upstage me.

I had so many muffins that I packaged them up to share with friends on the go.  I called them "spice muffins" rather than "pumpkin muffins", and they were quite well-received.  Happy accident

Still, I will continue my search for the sweet pumpkin dessert I've been dreaming of.  Recipe suggestions are more than welcome.  When I find the winner, you bet I'll share! 

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