Because not everyone keeps a sourdough starter, I cut that ingredient from my Ultimate Pumpkin and Spice Muffins with Sourdough Discard recipe and adapted it to compensate for the missing starter. The results are delicious!
Notes on pumpkin and spice muffin ingredients
Fresh pumpkin (or squash) yields fresh flavor
Use either a sugar pie pumpkin or kabocha squash for these. Kabocha squash renders a richer orange color. I cook these whole in my pressure cooker in about 8 minutes, remove the seeds and purée the flesh in a food mill or food processor. You can also roast pumpkins or kabocha squash in the oven for approximately 45 minutes.
The taste of these pumpkin spice muffins makes the extra effort to cook fresh pumpkin or kabocha squash totally worth it. Plus you’ll have leftover purée for other recipes, such as pumpkin dal or pumpkin pasta.
Toasted nuts add crunch
I toast mine as the oven heats up. If you do this, keep an eye on them; you don’t want them to burn. They toast in about 10 minutes in my oven as it heats up. Yours may require less time—or more.
When I run out of certain ingredients…
Don’t feel you have to take the additional steps I did for the batch of muffins pictured here! I had run out of a couple of things and “making” them was easier than going to the store to buy them. I’d have used store-bought, had I had any.
Out of brown sugar, I combined 1 cup of granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons of molasses. You don’t need this much for the recipe but I like to have a bit on hand so I make more brown sugar than I need. This keeps in a jar in the cupboard. (Go here for more info on how brown sugar is made.)
I also ran out of whole wheat flour so I ground up some hard red wheat berries. You absolutely do not need to grind your own flour to reduce waste but if freshly ground flour sounds appealing to you (and it really does add a wonderful texture and flavor), go here for more info on my grain mills (yes, plural). And go here for more info on wheat berries.
Whole nutmeg grinds up quickly
I prefer whole nutmeg that I grind myself with a microplane. You can also buy nutmeg mills but a microplane works so fast, cleans up easily, costs less than a mill (generally) and you’ll use it for many other tasks. (Mine is very similar to this one.) Freshly ground nutmeg adds so much flavor to food that Alton Brown carries whole nutmeg and a grater with him at all times. So while you may not want to grind your own flour, you might want to grind nutmeg. It consumes so little time.
Bonus treat: Roast pumpkin seeds while the pumpkin spice muffins bake
I find kabocha squash seeds usually too thick for roasting. Pumpkin are perfect though. Simply toss them in a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and any desired spices and roast while the muffins bake. Enjoy your additional healthy crunchy snack. Go here for the full recipe.
Freeze to enjoy later
These pumpkin and spice muffins keep well in the freezer—you may want to double the recipe. I store them in a cloth produce bag. Yes, plastic works really well for freezing food but it presents myriad issues—environmental and health. (Go here for more on freezing food without using plastic.)
The bag pictured below came from the leg of a favorite pair of linen pants that wore out beyond repair. The legs conveniently had drawstrings sewn in for the pants’ next life. This bag has started to finally wear out as well. I don’t freeze the muffins for long (a couple of weeks), mostly because I have only so much willpower.
Epic Pumpkin and Spice Muffins
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 large pastured eggs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin or kabocha squash purée
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
- ⅓ cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan well.
- Toast the nuts for 5 to 10 minutes in the oven until fragrant but not dark.
- Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves over a medium size bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light. Add the sugars, mixing well. Stir in the pumpkin purée, olive oil and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until well combined.
- Fold in the chopped nuts and raisins, being careful to not overmix the batter.
- Fill each of 12 muffin cups with a generous ¼ cup of batter. Bake for 21 to 23 minutes, until a fork inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
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