It's hard to get pumpkin muffins right because the pumpkin itself is often so moist that it makes the muffin seem heavy or overly wet. On top of that, many recipes call for oil instead of butter, which doesn't help to lighten the muffins up at all. Too often, the end product is a very unsatisfying muffin that is gummy and has minimal pumpkin flavor. These, however, are not those muffins.
The recipe is from Epicurious and they use butter, buttermilk, a bit of molasses and lots of spices to turn out a very flavorful muffin. The muffins are moist, but not wet, and have a wonderfully light texture to them. Pecans make a fantastic combination with pumpkin, so I opted to use them instead of the walnuts suggested by the original recipe. Chocolate chips, raisins or dried cranberries would also be good additions to this recipe if you're looking to try a couple of variations.Pumpkin Pecan Muffins
(originally from Gourmet)
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tbsp unsulfured molasses
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pasty flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans, plus 12 pecan halves
Preheat oven to 400F and line a twelve cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bow,l whisk together melted butter, pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs, molasses and vanilla until smooth.
In another large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, spices, salt, baking soda and brown sugar. Pour pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Stir in pecans and divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
Place one pecan half on top of each muffin and bake at 400F for 16-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool muffins in cups for about 5 minutes. then turn out onto a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 12 muffins.
*Note: In the original recipe, the instructions called for a 20-25 minute baking time, but mine were done in under 20 minutes, hence the revised time listed above. Keep in mind that it is possible yours will take a longer baking time, so keep some toothpicks on hand to test the muffins for doneness.