However, the pumpkin ones were fabulous. (If you follow this blog you'll remember that I made pumpkin muffins for a retreat last year. These are better and easier, though, so I'm not planning to make the others again.) I would highly recommend them, and you could leave off the topping if you want them to have less sugar. The amount in the muffins themselves isn't too bad. You do have to measure a fair number of spices and grate apples. I kept trying to talk myself out of putting in the apples, as I didn't want to bother with them, but I decided I'd better go ahead and include them. The combination of the pumpkin and the apple is really good, and the apples are probably counted as part of the liquid in the recipe. So it's kind of a pain, but worth it. These probably aren't muffins that you'd whip up for a regular weekday breakfast, but they're very nice for a special occasion.
Pumpkin Harvest Muffins from the Colorado Collage cookbook, published by the Junior League of Denver, 1995, now available in several other formats and editions.
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar (Which seems like a lot, but this recipe makes 24 muffins and, as mentioned above, part of the sugar goes into the topping, which you can leave off if you want to.)
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda (Note that this recipe does call for baking soda and not baking powder; the pumpkin and apple are both acidic ingredients, and these rose beautifully, as pointed out above.)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (What other kind of nutmeg would you put in muffins?)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (This is a change from the original recipe which calls for a whole teaspoon, way too much in my opinion. Cloves are very strong.)
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 15-16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin (modern cans are 15 ounces; I don't think that one ounce will make a difference. I was making 1 1/2 times the recipe and so figured out cups, but if you're just making this batch you don't want to have to dip into another can.)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups unpeeled grated Granny Smith apples
- 1 cup raisins (Y-u-u-ck! I didn't put these in.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with foil liners or spray with cooking spray.
For the topping: Combine butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a small bowl until crumbs form. Set aside.
Combine the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon plus the rest of the dry ingredients, down through the allspice. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil and eggs. Quick bread recipes always say to add the wet ingredients to the dry, but I do it the other way, as I find that otherwise I always end up with unblended flour in the bottom of the bowl no matter how hard I try to get it all mixed up. Either way, you need to blend thoroughly but fairly gently and quickly--a spatula works well. Then fold in the grated apple and the raisins, if using (I hope not!), and, if you'd like, some chopped walnuts. I didn't put nuts in these because I had put them in the cranberry muffins, but they'd be very good in these too. Spoon the batter into the muffin pans and sprinkle with the reserved topping. Bake for 20 minutes, then check with a toothpick. They may need another five minutes. Remove from the pans and cool on rack. These would be fabuloso with apple butter.
I also made two breakfast casseroles. One was great, but I want to tweak it a little bit as I sort of made it up on the fly. I think it needed a little more liquid, so I'm going to make it again at Christmas and post it later. The other one was something I'd eaten at another event and really liked, but my version was a little bland. I don't think I adjusted the spices quite correctly when I multiplied the recipe. So I'm just going to give the link to it; it's called Southwestern Breakfast Casserole. It's a nice change from breakfast casseroles that are made with bread.
And that's it for this retreat's recipes. Either or both would be great at a holiday brunch.