Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Best Pumpkin Muffins Ever
I've been making these muffins for ten years, and they are definitely the most universally loved of anything I bake. You would not be far off to say that this recipe is the basis of my reputation and confidence as a baker. Even people who don't necessarily like pumpkin love them too.
I made these when I lived in Colorado Springs, so I've included high-altitude adjustments in the recipe at the end.
Once I realized (last year) that these are my go-to recipe, I celebrated by getting a really nice pumpkin muffin pan from Nordic Ware. Nordic Ware is definitely the way to go for a shaped pan if you plan to use it a lot. And though I am not wealthy, I really try to use the best tools I can.
This batch of muffins is for the Elders of my church, one of whom is being transferred tomorrow. These young men are far from home, and we really appreciate the work they do. Et voilà!
This is a very simple and quick recipe. You don't need a mixer, and in fact you can do almost the whole thing with a whisk. I've adapted the recipe from The Best Quick Recipe by America's Test Kitchen (ATK). In case you're wondering about the prevalence of ATK in this blog, it's because I basically taught myself to cook from their cookbooks, though I like to think I've flown the nest.
I started by weighing 8 3/4 ounces of all-purpose flour and adding 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. I usually add 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, but I am out. I then whisked the dry ingredients.
I whisked in the butter, which is not completely effortless because of the oil-water thing, but shouldn't be too much of a problem.
I used to bake muffins quite often, so I actually have a 2 ounce or 1/4 cup disher (like an ice cream scoop) I bought specifically for that purpose. I got it at a local restaurant-supply store, and it comes in handy for lots of things. So I portioned the batter into the muffin cups.
This is a very thick batter, due to the fiber in the pumpkin, and it will mostly fill the muffin cup and stay in approximately the same shape after baking. I want my shaped muffins to have a flat bottom, so I used a spatula to push the batter into the edges of the pan. You do not have to do this in a standard muffin pan, and it doesn't change the baking time.
8 3/4 oz or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder (2 tsp in high altitude)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup packed or 7 oz dark brown sugar (2 tbsp less or 6 1/4 oz total in high altitude)
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin pie filling
8 tbsp or 1 stick melted butter, melted but not bubbling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with flour and oil spray.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg and sugar. Mix in the pumpkin, then the butter.
Scrape the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently fold with whisk or silicon spatula. Do not over-mix.
Scoop the batter into the muffin tin. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until the muffin resists slightly when touched. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out on cooling rack. Cool until no longer steaming and eat warm.