October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

At this time of year (really my favorite time of year), I can't get enough pumpkin. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin soup. Pumpkin stir fry (yup, that's what I'm having for dinner tonight, pumpkin stir fried with onions and ginger on a bed of quinoa and topped with roasted cauliflower). Candy shaped like pumpkin is good too.

Also, I'm a fan of pumpkin for breakfast. Conveniently, my office needed breakfast for a meeting, so I volunteered to bake. Torn between pumpkin muffins and pumpkin coffee cake, I decided to go for an amalgamation of the two: pumpkin muffins with just a thin streusel topping. Not so overwhelmingly sweet as coffee cake, but sugar enough to get the day off to a good start!

The pumpkin muffin recipe is taken mostly from Smitten Kitchen, and, if you haven't already, I recommend getting on board with Deb's muffin philosophy: no more than two bowls, no mixer needed, not to heavy. And, obviously, delicious! For the streusel, I went for a simple brown sugar, almond, cinnamon mix with just a few tablespoons of butter. It formed a thin crunchy crust on the top of the muffins. Next time, I think I might add a few tablespoons of flour and a a few more tablespoons of butter for slightly more substantial topping, but they were quite nice as is.

I made one batch without streusel and one with. Turned out to be an easy way to give my coworkers choice without really adding any work for me! The recipe made about 2.5 dozen muffins, so it was it a good thing that they keep quite well!

Enjoy! And if you have any creative pumpkin recipes, please send them my way!

- Franklin

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Total Time: 1.5 hours (including baking time for three batches)
Sweetness Factor: 4; Indulgence Factor: 4; Difficulty Factor: 2; Chance We'd Make it Again: 7.

For the muffins:
2 cups of pumpkin puree
3 cups flour (I used 3 cups of self-rising flour and skipped the baking powder, salt, and half the baking soda)
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground ginger (or pumpkin pie spice)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

For the streusel:
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350 and put liners in a muffin tin (you could also just butter the tin, but liners are easier, especially if you are going to do more than one batch).

Combine all the muffin ingredients in a bowl, one at time, whisking to combine after each. Fill each muffin liner about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until muffins bounce back when pressed lightly. Cool for a few minutes in the tin, and then pull the muffins out (either foolishly with your fingers, like I did, or dump the whole tray upside down). Allow muffins to cool completely before storing.

While the first batch is baking, make the streusel. Combine the cinnamon, almonds, and brown sugar in a cuisinart and blend thoroughly (more or less depending on how much crunch you want), add the butter and pulse until butter is in small but still visible bits. For the rest of the batches of muffins, spread about a tablespoon of streusel over the batter of each muffin before baking.

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