Friday, January 13, 2012

Pumpkin muffins, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Anyone miss me?  I will admit, with Lee out of town for work for a while, I've been keeping odd hours and not doing much of anything but working out and cross stitching.  Yesterday I had breakfast at 1:30 in the afternoon, and I decided that was a little too far out there even for me, so I'm trying to get back on a more "normal" schedule.  Or at least one with more of my waking hours during the few hours of daylight we have here.  And after two weeks of P90X, I've come to the inevitable conclusion that P90X is what makes my wrists hurt; I just don't know what to do about it because I *do* want to work out somehow, but I'd rather my hands not fall off either.  So this week all I've been doing is cross stitching and a bit of stamping in my craft room.

But today, I'm baking pumpkin muffins, 'cause sometimes I just totally crave baked goods, and these are goooooood.  I mentioned a while back that I've been attempting to find the perfect recipe for pumpkin muffins, and to that end I've attempted three recipes.  I have to apologize up front for my photographs, I have yet to figure out how to take pictures of food and have it look appetizing at all.  The first recipe is for streusel-topped pumpkin chocolate chip muffins that I found on Our Best Bites:

I won't re-type the recipe here since they've got it done up all pretty over there, just hit the link above.  I'm not sure how I found Our Best Bites, maybe it was a link on someone else's blog or something, but I love them!  Sara and Kate crack me up with their commentary on the recipes.  Anyway, this muffin recipe tastes pretty good (I have yet to meet a pumpkin muffin I wouldn't eat, though, yum), and it's got streusel on top and more things in life should have streusel on top.  However, I think it was the pickiest recipe of the three I tried; I think I was a little too chintzy with the batter since I ended up with about 30 muffins instead of 24, and then I think mine came out a little under-done and they were just a bit gooey on the inside (which, if you're me, isn't necessarily a bad thing).  I only did chocolate chips in half the muffins though; maybe I've been making my pumpkin cookies too long but pairing pumpkin with milk chocolate instead of white chocolate just seems really strange to me anymore.  Anyway, due to the underbaking and the undersized muffins, the streusel kind of cracked and fell off everywhere too.  I'd have to try these again and see if I could get them to turn out better the second time.  And use white chips instead.

Next up were pumpkin apple muffins:

For some reason I can't find the recipe I used for these; I found all the other pumpkin muffin recipes in one place and this one is missing.  Well, it's a pumpkin muffin but it's got grated apple in there too; these ones actually *looked* the prettiest of the three recipes, and they tasted pretty good too.  No streusel, and the recipe is a bit more complicated since it doesn't involve a cake mix and you have to grate the apple and stuff, but it makes 12 good-size muffins and they came out perfectly on the first try.  If I can locate the recipe later I'll post it when I find it.

Finally, I tried what I'll call cheater pumpkin muffins:

Take 1 box Duncan Hines spice cake mix (yes, it needs to be Duncan Hines), one 15-ounce can of pureed pumpkin, and 3/4 cup of water; mix it all up well and then put in muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes.  I like to bake, but I also like to take shortcuts and do things the easy way (for instance, I do not make my own pie crust and likely never will), so these appealed to me just for the fact that they're so EASY to make.  The one thing I'd recommend is break up the lumps in the cake mix before you add the other ingredients, or maybe use a hand mixer...I'd broken my hand mixer when I made these the first time so I just stirred, and some of them had bits of cake mix powder on the top that looked kinda not right after baking.  (Did you know that hand mixers are allergic to gravity?)

Today I'm doing that same recipe but doubled, so 2 cake mixes, 1 1/2 cups water, and a Godzilla-size can of pumpkin (I didn't want to have to figure out what to do with leftover pumpkin so I wanted to use up the entire can in one go).  And then I added a bag of white chocolate chips.  Next time I try this, I think I'll put the pumpkin and water in the bowl first, then add the cake mixes gradually because it was hard to stir enough to make sure all the cake mix got incorporated properly.  But I just had one of these muffins warm out of the oven, and YUM.  I was able to make about 36 muffins and no, I'm not going to eat them all in the next couple of days.  I'm going to freeze them and then just get out one at a time when I feel the need for something muffiny.

Now, if only my muffin tin were self-cleaning...of all the dishes I own, I think I hate cleaning the muffin tin most of all.  But I love eating muffins, so I'll put up with the cleaning thing too.


Toby E. said...

I make the first muffin but found the recipe on their sight without the stuesel. I will have to try it with. They are a huge hit in this house, and I love how few ingredients there are. Even some of my work buddies have loved them. And nope they don't rise much so what you put in is what you get....but you have me craving...guess it's time for another batch!

Giffysk8s said...

I don't know whether I should thank you or be mad at you for posting these recipes, LOL! You know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE pumpkin! I still have a few of those ginormous cans in my pantry. I think it would be horribly irresponsible and, quite frankly, offensive to the pumpkins of the world if I didn't try these recipes. :D

Thought of you big time last night. Keaton and I went on a date (every time my boys are home, I get a date night with each of them). We went to our favorite restaurant (we have been "regulars" there for 6 or 7 years now). And for the first time EVER they offered sticky toffee pudding as a dessert! Well, since I read your post about said dessert, I just knew I had to try it if, for no other reason, just because I like you and you said it's delish. So Keaton and I shared one. I quickly realized that was a BIG mistake because I have fallen in love with sticky toffee pudding. I usually order this restaurant's bread pudding, but I think that has been knocked down a peg. Oh, the things I do for friendship!

So Keaton goes home tomorrow and my schedule will be back to a more normal one. Hopefully we'll get to chat more. Really miss you!