Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Perfect Sunday...

You've had a busy week; work, errands, running kids to soccer practice, whatever and it's just nice to have one day when you can call your own.  For me, it's Sunday.  We're early risers and I've already telephoned my daughters and sister, then, I decided to bake up some muffins.  I want just a little something while I'm sipping my Diet Coke and doing the Sunday crossword puzzle.  Today, I chose a Pumpkin Muffin from the recent Dessert Professional magazine.  Don't be frightened off by the title.  It has great instructions and will inspire you to try something you may not have thought you'd attempt. 

This recipe offers two different toppings; I chose the Crunch Topping, but the Crumb sounded just as inviting. You decide.

Pumpkin Muffins

Crumb Topping
1 1/3 cup Bread Flour
1/2 cup Light Brown sugar
3/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, slightly cool, but not hard
1/8 tsp. baking powder
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a mix and use a paddle attachment to blend together until the desired texture is achieved.  Take care not to over mix.  Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter or two knives to blend ingredients, finishing up with your hands.  This method is what I would use to mix up this topping.
Crunch Topping
1/2 cup Pecans
1/2 cup Rolled Oats (not the Quick version)
Use a food processor to "chop" up the nuts and oatmeal. Then combine them in a bowl with:
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Cardamon (optional)
1/8 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Baking Powder
Zest from half of an Orange (I used the zest of a Clementine)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Combine all the ingredients and mix until a lump consistency is achieved.  Let set to cool butter.

Preheat oven to 400F-degrees and prepare muffins pans with paper liners or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray.  This recipe can also be made in two loaves, 9" x 4" x 3". 
In a mixing bowl and using the paddle attachment:
2 1/2 cups Sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (or you could use mashed sweet potato)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. pure Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. Pecan flavoring (optional)
Start out at low speed, then change to medium and mix all "wet" ingredients thoroughly.

In a small bowl blend:
2 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshing grated Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cloves
1/2 tsp. Allspice
Use a whisk to blend dry ingredients.  Add to the wet ingredients, using a spatula to incorporate, being careful not to overmix.
Scoop the batter into the muffins tins, filling two-thirds full.  Sprinkle tops with the Crunch or Crumb Topping before baking.
Bake the muffins for 5 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350F-degrees and bake another 20-25 minutes until tops spring back.
For loaves, Preheat oven to 325F-degrees and bake in a convection oven 55-60 minutes.
Enjoy your Sunday!

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