delicious discourse

ginger-pumpkin muffins

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on November 15, 2008

ginger-pumpkin muffin2

Most people would sleep in, some might opt for a morning jog, others the opportunity to get some work done at home or catch up on the Daily Show they missed the night before. But when faced miraculously with a few and extra hour one morning, me, I bake. This time, muffins, Ginger-Pumpkin Muffins to add some spice and comfort to these fall mornings. They are just fall-ish enough to fool me into thinking that maybe this mid-November day may fail to reach eighty-degrees….oh to dream….

I know I complain a lot about the weather here, but you have to imagine my jealousy when everywhere else the leaves are changing, the breeze is getting a little bit cooler, everyone is enjoying soups and hot toddies and I am still here sweltering in 90 percent humidity hoping that Thanksgiving will be cool enough that I will actually want to eat turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. And yes, in a couple of months, I will be complaining about how I cannot wait for summer and I am so tired of being cold, but you know what, that is just the way it is. Weather exists for two things, well three things. First, to provide us with something to talk about when we run out of things to say or have no idea what to say to this person standing before us. Second, to give us all something to complain about. And third, to provide a natural sense of change and diversity from our mundane, everyday lives. I am a shameful cynic. Can you see why I needed these muffins?

Anyway, it is November and regardless of what the Mother Earth is doing, I plan on eating as much pumpkin as I possibly can. One of my very busy and productive days at work led me to the trusty epicurious.com, browsing through hundreds of pumpkin recipes and daydreaming of pancakes, quick breads, pies, raviolis, and whatever else can be made with pumpkin.

The Ginger-Pumpkin muffins, which struck me as balanced yet mysterious, should really be called Gingerbread-Pumpkin muffins. In each bite I am 18 years old, sitting at the kitchen counter, fresh on the plane for Thanksgiving break, devouring a slice of my grandmother’s devilishly good gingerbread. Each ginger-pumpkin mound puffed up beautifully with brown sugar and crystallized ginger scattered across the deep brown top. I recommend putting more batter in each muffin tin in order for the muffins to have beautiful, tall, mushroom-like tops. Of course, this will decrease the yield, but less is more. Quality over quantity.

Speaking of quality, there is no better way to start a Thursday morning with warm muffins fresh out of the oven. Matt didn’t seem to think so either. Waking up to the smell of ginger, pumpkin, and molasses being deliciously bound together by the heat of the oven could never, ever, be a bad thing.

ginger-pumpkin muffin1

Ginger-Pumpkin Muffins
Courtesy of Bon Appetit

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
5 1/2 T minced crystallized ginger
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
2 T brandy (optional)

Mix 2 1/2 tablespoons (T) crystallized ginger, currants and brandy (if using) in small bowl.
2 cups flour
1 T ground ginger
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

Sift flour, ground ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.
3/4 cup plus 2 T cooked canned solid pack pumpkin
1/2 cup plus 2 T low-fat buttermilk
1 t vanilla extract

Whisk pumpkin puree, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl.
2 large egg whites
1 large egg

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and egg in large bowl until foamy.
3/4 cup plus 3 T (packed) brown sugar
Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar; beat until light, about 2 minutes.
1/2 cup unsulfured (light) molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Beat in molasses and oil. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin mixture. Stir in currant mixture.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Mix 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over muffins.

Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool on rack.