Tis’ the season for PSL y’all!
I spoke about my angst about pumpkin pie a little earlier in the punkin’ season, so I won’t bore you with the details here. Just suffice it to say, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of the gourd. I think my childhood was a huge disservice in that pumpkin only came to me in the form of a heavily freezer-burned, curdled custard baked inside of a crust reminiscent more of cardboard than a pastry. Anything you have to watch your nails with when opening is bound to be a let down- I don’t care what the sanging Patti Labelle dude says.
As an adult, I’ve ventured into experimenting with all of the foods I’d once found repulsive. I have overcome my disdain of not only pumpkins (pumpkin pie not included-the stuff is still on my blacklist), but also zucchini and eggplant. Beets are, generally, still a no-go, however, unless they’re pickled. Pickled beets I can rock with. My maturity has afforded me the opportunity to not only enlighten my tastebuds, but also enhance my culinary repertoire. It’s good to get outside of the padded room every once in awhile, friend.
So, pumpkin is in, and it’s in full effect and I need to get this recipe out to you before January comes and I’m stressing over my taxes.
Muffins are a huge favorite amongst my tribe. We eat breakfast, generally, at different times of the morning; the soldier gets up before the sun (and we all know I ain’t doing that), the Twinks get up next to get a head-start on their seat work and me? I’m very Jackson Pollock in that I wake up when I wake up and must have my coffee, albeit, sans cigarette. Muffins afford us the convenience of single-servings of the most important meal of the day without the freshness and flavor being compromised. Usually, I reserve things like muffins, breads, and pastries for weekday mornings, while holding off on the “best-served-hot” meals for the leisurely weekends… I totally just had to unclog a toilet. Such is my life. Thank God we’re not talking about chocolate-chip muffins or that would’ve been a mood killer, am I right?!? Sorry. I have an issue with tact.
So, back to pretty muffins. These are made more autumnal (that’s a word, right?) with the addition of those warm spices that notoriously hang out with pumpkin: cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Think of them as the Rat Pack of the fall season. I take it a step further by adding allspice, ginger and a hint of cardamom, just because I can.
Like with all muffins, the key to success is minimal mixing. Just barely mixing until the dry ingredients are moistened is the way to ensure you have a nice, tender crumb with minimal tunneling.
“Whoa!!! Tunneling?!?! What is this CIA training?!?!”
However cool I think I am, I’m not “CIA-Trained Cool”. Tunneling in my world is nowhere near as exciting as it sounds. In fact, it’s a buzzkill in the baking world. Tunneling is the result of a stressed out, overworked batter who’s on the verge on losing its s#!t because people keep expecting too much from it and it hasn’t had a vacation, a break or a SHOWER IN WEEKS!!!! So, basically, a tunneled muffin is the mother of newborn set of twins…kind of like I was! Ha! Look at that. Anyway, tunneling is bad, so the way we avoid it is to mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Minor tunneling will happen- not a big deal- nut big, honking pockets of air will create a dense texture which, while still edible) will be a letdown.
It’s always so tempting to go buckwild with the mixing, but I urge you to use restraint- you’ll be so glad you abstained.
What are your favorite muffins? Share with me below!
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Yield 1 dozen
Fall is here y'all! With it comes all things pumpkin!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup apple juice
2 large eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
streusel topping, recipe follows
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
- combine all ingredients until crumbly.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray muffin tins with non-stick baking spray and line with baking liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients except the brown sugar. Set aside.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the sugar, apple juice, eggs oil and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended.
- Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until combined. Fill each muffin tin 2/3rds full.
- Top each muffin with 1 tbsp (or more, if desired) with streusel. Bake f02 20-22 mins or until the top springs back when lightly pressed.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan and allowing to cool completely.