Some people adore pumpkin. Some of us do not. It is one of Amir’s favorites, but the other half of this Duo has never been that impressed. Until recently. Pumpkin is everywhere right now, which is exciting for many people. Wasn’t it just last year that the canned pumpkin purée shortage wreaked havoc upon the nation’s bakers? It was also last year that we went all out and cooked up an all-pumpkin dinner party. When Trader Joe’s touted the first newsletter announcing the arrival of canned pumpkin this season, we stocked up on a few cans to work with for the months of October and November. We discussed different ways to use the pumpkin and argued about the types of families that serve pumpkin pie and/or sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving. There was no clear winner for the latter. As for the former, how would we use up all this canned pumpkin? And would the uses be enough to change an ambivalent pumpkin eater or a fan? The findings would be a welcome surprise.
The unbelievable did occur–one who used to disbelieve in the power of the pumpkin may have found herself scootching closer to the side of those who love it so. All it took was one bite of this muffin. Or maybe it was a lick of the spoon that so lovingly stirred the batter. Somewhere along the way, a light bulb went off, and it illuminated the path towards pumpkin lovin’. Not just one person had a change of heart. These muffins were friend tested and approved by several people who have never really shared an extreme liking for the fruit either. Trust us. Make these muffins today. Make them tomorrow. Make them next week if you must, but you should make them. One bite into the moist, soft cake and crunchy, crumbly streusel will have you going back for more. And if you just happen to be one of those people who have not boarded the pumpkin train, you may find yourself purchasing a ticket.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Muffins – 1 dozen (Muffin only adapted from Picky Cook)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
15 ounces pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Start with the streusel topping by placing the cashews, flour, brown sugar, and oats in a food processor. Blend until combined, then add the butter and blend again until the mixture becomes crumbly. (If you do not have a food processor, whisk the ingredients together in a bowl, then stir in the butter until the mixture forms crumbs.) Set into the refrigerator to chill.
2. Spray a muffin tin with baking spray and set aside.
3. For the muffin batter, set the butter into a small pan over medium heat and warm until all of the butter has melted, and it begins to crackle and pop, turn brown, and milk solids separate and float to the bottom of the pan, approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, vanilla, pumpkin puree and eggs until smooth. Pour the slightly cooled brown butter into the egg mixture and mix together. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt together in a separate bowl. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way. Sprinkle about 2-3 tablespoons of the chilled streusel topping over each one, pressing the crumbles lightly into the batter if they fall off. Grate fresh nutmeg over each muffin cup, then bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before removing from the tin.
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