Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
Nothing could be better on a crisp autumn day than Metro's pumpkin walnut muffins and a cup of coffee. Try making the puree yourself or substitute canned pumpkin.
Makes a dozen muffins.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, fresh or canned (see “Preparing Pumpkin Puree” below)
- 1/3 cup of milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups chopped walnuts, toasted (see “Toasting Nuts” below)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter twelve 2 ½” (1/2-cup) muffin-pan cups.
- In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir in the granulated and brown sugars. Add the butter with the flour mixture and toss. With a paddle attachment at low speed, mix the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs; stir into the flour mixture. Stir in the pumpkin puree, milk, and vanilla, just until blended. With a rubber spatula, fold in the walnuts.
- Spoon the batter evenly into prepared muffin-pan cups. Bake 15-20 minutes, rotating the muffin pans between upper and lower oven racks halfway through baking until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.
Preparing Pumpkin Puree:
- To prepare pumpkin puree, preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut 1 sugar pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup water to the pan and bake 45 minutes or until the skin wrinkles.
- Remove the pumpkin from the pan. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh.
- Press the flesh through affine sieve set over a bowl. Clean the sieve, then line it with a double layer of cheesecloth and set over another bowl.
- Spoon the puree into the sieve and drain in the refrigerator overnight.
Toasting nuts releases their natural oils. If toasted too long, nuts become bitter, so it’s best to toast lightly to bring out a robust nutty flavor. To toast, preheat oven to 325˚F. Spread nuts evenly on a baking sheet. Bake on the center oven rack for 10 to 12 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted. Cool.
You don't have to be a master baker like Metropolitan's James Barrett to make delicious French-inspired delights at home. Here are several favorites—some savory, some sweet—adapted by James for the home chef.