PUMPKIN STREUSEL MUFFINS
Makes 24 muffins
5 tablespoons packed (2 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Mix together with your fingers.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
(Yes, this is a lot of sugar. These are definitely special-occasion muffins.)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces, room temperature
4 large eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk, or 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon buttermilk powder
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped fine (optional)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray, or use muffin liners. (I've pretty much stopped using the liners for muffins, as they're messy for people to peel them off and you still end up having to wash the pan.) Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices (and buttermilk powder, if using) together in bowl.
New technique for removing water from the pumpkin:
(This idea is actually taken from yet another ATK/Cook's Illustrated recipe, this one for pumpkin cheesecake. I don't know why they didn't use this method here.) Line a baking sheet with a triple layer of paper towels, spread the pumpkin puree on them, then put another two layers of paper towels on top, and press firmly on those top towels. They will quickly become saturated with moisture. You'd think that you'd end up with a total mess and have to scrape the pumpkin off the towels, but it just peels right off. I haven't used this method for the muffins, but I have made the cheesecake and it worked very well. You'll then need to measure the drained pumpkin to make sure you haven't removed too much moisture; you want it to measure 1 1/2 cups. Plop the pumpkin into a bowl and mix in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined and there are no traces of cream cheese.
Whisk together eggs and buttermilk (or water, if you're using the powder). Add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine. (But--I'm not sure this whole extra whisking step is necessary, and now you have yet another dirty bowl. Just put the eggs and buttermilk or water in the bowl with the pumpkin and mix it, for heaven's sake!) Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are OK). Fold walnuts into batter, if using. Scoop batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each muffin. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Rotate those pans, even if you have a convection oven. I was able to bake four pans at once (so a double recipe) even though my oven door didn't quite close. Let muffins cool in pans on wire rack for 5-10 minutes before removing from pans. Serve warm or at room temperature. Good with cream cheese.
These were great. I think I will just say about the open house the next day that it also went very well, and my only regret about the food is that I wimped out about making homemade rolls. Sometimes you just have to admit that there's a limit to what you can do! I would have had to make five dozen, and I was just not up to it. I bought those King Hawaiian rolls, and they were soggy on the bottom, but no one complained. I also wimped out about making potato salad. So we had the rolls, smoked ham and smoked turkey from Costco, my famous baked beans, Napa cabbage/green apple/walnut slaw, miniature pecan pies, apple/almond crepes, and fruit, with hot cider, coffee, and juice. I guess people got enough to eat, even without the potato salad. There were probably about 50 all told. I was very pleased at the way people stayed around and talked, a sure sign of a successful party. And the Broncos won. So, all in all, this was a pretty good weekend. But I don't think that I'll be doing two events two days in a row again any time soon. Next week I have no events scheduled, so maybe I'll post one of the open house recipes. But this is enough for now!