Not to sound too Pollyanna, but the changing of one season into another is just a special time. The transition into fall is a great one, isn't it? Days are still warm, but not sweltering while mornings and evenings are invigoratingly crisp. Humidity decreases or disappears altogether. Produce changes. Food flavors change. One of my absolute favorite fall treats is the pumpkin muffin from Starbucks. Warm from spices, full of pumpkin flavor, and with a touch of cream cheese, it's something I look forward to all year. The pumpkin seeds on top are also a nice touch.
I was almost inconsolable last year because I didn't get to buy a muffin. I did, however, find an at-home recipe that is as good as the Starbucks muffin, and probably healthier since it's smaller and homemade. If you like pumpkin things, do try this. It's also a lot more affordable, since the Starbucks muffins are $2.25 a piece, and I'd bet these are 50 cents or something each.
Inside-Out Pumpkin Muffins
from King Arthur Flour
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup boiled cider (for best flavor), or dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice; or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, boiled cider or corn syrup, salt, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and milk. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the flour and mix until well combined.
To make the filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar together with a blender until well blended and fluffy.
Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom. Dollop on a heaping tablespoon of filling, then cover with another 2 tablespoons of batter.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out crumb-free. Remove the muffins from the oven. Let cool in pan approx. 5 minutes and remove to a cooling rack.
- Being from the South, I had never heard of boiled cider, but it's the result of slowly reducing cider down until it resembles a thick syrup. It's good. It's worth making, but like so many good food products, time is your main ingredient. Here's how: Bring 1/2 gallon apple cider to a boil over medium-high heat in a large, non-reactive pot. After it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 hours. The cider should reduce down to about 1 cup and be a thick, syrupy consistency. Just do a Google search to find out how else to use boiled cider, aka apple molasses.
|The boiled cider- I think I halved the recipe above since I wasn't sure how it would turn out.|
- I made the recipe as written, minus using all King Arthur Flour and related brand products.
- If you're feeling particularly lazy or want more of a Starbucks look, where the cream cheese is exposed, just fill the muffin tins 2/3 full with batter and then add the filling on top. It will sink down some as it bakes.