This week’s Muffin Monday recipe was left WIDE OPEN. No specific recipe to recreate, just a main ingredient to include: Pumpkin. I think the point was Halloween but I decided to go all Southern Christmas on you.
You know those baked yams or sweet potatoes we make for the holidays down south? You’ve had them: Baked with brown sugar and cinnamon and nuts? Plus mini marshmallows sprinkled all over? (If you haven’t had them, my condolences.) Anyhoo, here they are in muffin form but made much easier because you just have to open a can of pumpkin, which is an excellent substitute for sweet potato, and you are ready to mix it up and bake.
Then again, sometimes the hardest part is opening the can.
|Guess whose can opener went in the airfreight shipment to Dubai? Thank God for my handy husband and his hacksaw.|
For the muffins
2 cups or 250g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 95g light brown sugar
1/3 cup or 80ml buttermilk (You can substitute 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and enough milk to make up 1/3 cup or 80ml - which I did.)
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup or 80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
11 1/2 oz or 330g canned pumpkin (about 3/4 of the regular sized can)
3/4 cup or 120g hazelnuts or pecans (Set aside 12 for the tops of the muffins after roasting) I used hazelnuts.
1/2 cup or 25g mini marshmallows
For the topping: About 1/4 cup or 55g sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cinnamon plus one nut per muffin. You may not use all the cinnamon sugar but save the balance in a Ziploc for cinnamon toast. Your family will thank you.
Preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C and grease your muffin tin well or line with papers.
Pop the nuts in a baking pan and put them in the preheating oven. Set a timer for three minutes.
Put flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into a large bowl. Mix and mash the lumps of brown sugar until you have a lovely homogeneous mixture.
|Yeah, the cinnamon and ginger aren't there in the photo but they got in the muffins.|
Shake the nuts when the timer goes off and reset it.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk (or substitute), vanilla and butter together.
Shake the nuts when the timer goes off and reset it. The brown skins should start coming off as your oven gets up to speed and the nuts start actually toasting. (If you are using pecans, just remove them from the oven at this point or after they have browned slightly.)
Add the pumpkin to the wet ingredients and whisk to incorporate.
Shake the nuts when the timer goes off. If they smell like they are toasted and the skins are mostly starting to fall off when you shake the pan, they are probably done.
Pour the nuts into a clean dry tea cloth or towel and rub them until the peels are off and you can pick out the clean nuts. Keep rubbing until the hazelnuts are all (mostly) peeled. A little skin won’t kill you, as far as I know.
Set aside 12 nuts to top the muffins and chop the rest roughly.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold until just mixed through.
Fold in the marshmallows and chopped hazelnuts.
Divide the batter between your muffin cups and then top with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and one toasted hazelnut each.
Bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the muffins from the tin and cooling further on rack.
May I be the first to say to you, Merry Christmas! If I am not the first, you need to find some less crazy friends to hang around with. It’s not even Halloween, for goodness sake!
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