Perfect Pumpkin Muffins

Perfect Pumpkin Muffins: The Inside

I love pumpkin.

There’s no secret about this little fact, I’ve shared it here before, but there is just something about pumpkin that calls to me year round.

I’m always happy when I start seeing the first pumpkins around locally. I start buying one every week or so, roasting them, baking the seeds and storing the roasted pumpkin in the freezer for use later. Sometimes I even buy a can of pumpkin when I run out, and these muffins are actually made from canned pumpkin, but you could easily use freshly roasted pumpkin as well. I’ll tell you how to make that below.

Pumpkin just screams Autumn to me. I love to just pumpkin myself out, though in reality I’ve never actually gotten tired of pumpkin, but I love to try! These pumpkin muffins are just fabulous for a chilly Fall morning with a nice warm cup of tea or apple cider. They’re moist and pumpkiny and you can’t go wrong with that!

What You’ll Need To Roast a Pumpkin:
1 pumpkin, any size
Walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil
A large roasting pan

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds and pumpkin innards. Reserve the seeds for roasting if you like.

Cut the pumpkin in to chunks about the size of an apple and place in a large roasting dish, pan or baking sheet. No need to remove the skin, once it’s roasted you can scrape the pumpkin right off. Drizzle walnut or extra virgin olive oil over the pumpkin and toss to coat.

Bake pumpkin in preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour and half, until pumpkin sticks done.

Let cool to room temperature and then scrape the pumpkin flesh out in to a large bowl. Freeze pumpkin in 1 to 2 cup increments for use later or use immediately.

Perfect Pumpkin Muffins: Women and Chocolate

What You’ll Need for the Perfect Pumpkin Muffins:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour OR white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of natural brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1/3 cup of safflower oil
1 – 15 ounce can of mashed pumpkin

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl stir together flour, sea salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cane sugar and brown sugar until well mixed.

Next add eggs, maple syrup, buttermilk, safflower oil and pumpkin and stir until a thick batter forms.

Using a ladle scoop the batter into muffin pans that have been lined with cupcake liners. Fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for 18 minutes or until muffins stick done with a toothpick.

Makes about 24 muffins.

And how about a little chocolate on the side?

Perfect Pumpkin Muffins

Oh that gives me an idea about Nutella and pumpkin….

Notes: These muffins get better with time. They’re really good when baked, better the next day and fabulous on day three. They’re a lot like soup in that way. You could also add in a cup of chopped nuts and/or raisins for a different twist. Or how about a cup of pumpkin seeds? Go with it…mix and match foods are fun!

Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Key lime, key lime, key lime….oh how I love thee, let me count the ways…

But seriously we don’t have time for me to wax philosophically about my love for Key Lime, instead let’s focus on a really simple, yet fabulous dessert!

This dish takes cheesecake and crosses it with a bar and then throws in a little Key Lime to make an all-in-one fun little treat that is perfect on a hot summer day, or even nice in the middle of winter for a reminder of summers past. Cheesecake and Key Lime all in a handy, dandy bar form? You can’t go wrong with that!

What You’ll Need for the Crust:
1 sleeve of graham crackers, crushed
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Crush graham crackers and stir in melted butter and sugar to mix. Press mixture into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Set aside.

What You’ll Need for the Bar Filling:
2 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of unbleached, all purpose flour
1/2 cup of key lime juice

Cream together cream cheese, eggs and sugar until smooth. Slowly add the flour and mix until incorporated. Last add the key lime juice and mix for 1 minute on medium.

Pour filling mixture over the crust in your baking dish (see above) and bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until bars are set.

Let bars come to room temperature and then chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Store uneaten portions in the fridge.

Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Notes: If you can’t find Key Lime juice you can use regular lime as well, but it won’t be as good. You can also use lemon juice for a lemon bar alternative.