Saturday, November 5, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

Featured Ingredient: Pumpkin

Every year a farm not far from our home plays host to a massive pumpkin patch. Sure, they have plenty of pumpkins used for Jack-o-lantern purposes, but they also have a huge selection of pie pumpkins as well as plenty of delicious sounding heritage squash such as Banana, Long Island Cheese, Kamo Kamo and Golden Delicious. And every year, I come home with a wheelbarrow full. I just can’t help myself. So this means we are eating plenty of pumpkin and other squash infused recipes and, it turn, risking the chance of suffering from a vitamin A overdose. Tabi has caught on that I'm sneaking pumpkin mash into our morning oatmeal. 

These only slightly guilty pumpkin muffins are what I consider fall comfort food. Just the right amount of seasonal sweetness and plenty of chocolate goodness in each bite. They are even better when smeared with the pumpkin butter recipe that I've provided bellow.

Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

1 3/4 cups spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup pumpkin puree or other winter squash puree
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar of choice
1/4 cup melted coconut oil or a neutral oil like canola
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and then stir in pumpkin, milk, maple syrup, sugar and oil. Add wet ingredients to dry and gently mix together. Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide batter among 12 standard sized greased or paper lined muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out nearly clean. Let cool for a few minutes before unmolding and cool further on a metal rack. Muffins are best served warm.

Pumpkin Butter

1 1/2 cups pumpkin or other winter squash puree
1/3 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
1/3 cup apple cider
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Place pumpkin, sugar, cider, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the mixture is thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir the pumpkin butter frequently during cooking and keep the lid slightly ajar to help steam escape yet avoid splatter—a wooden spoon handle can help with this. Stir in vanilla, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Let pumpkin butter cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container and keep chilled for up to 2 weeks.

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