Friday, November 13, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins

I'm the biggest wuss when it comes to cold weather. I'll just hunker down on the couch under a big blanket and refuse to move for hours. Yes, I do appreciate the irony of the fact that I went to school in Syracuse.

The one thing the cold weather has going for it is the food it brings with it. Soups, stews and chili are some of my favorite things to eat. Not to mention all the great fall flavors, including pumpkin. I love pumpkin. Though in all honesty, pumpkin really doesn't have much of a flavor. So I guess what I really love is all the spices you can add to pumpkin to make something comforting that warms you up on a chilly fall day.

The pumpkin muffins here are easy to make and great to freeze and then defrost for when you need a quick breakfast. These are also a bit healthier than traditional muffins since they swap out most of the oil for applesauce, and also use whole wheat flour. For me, these muffins almost make the cold weather bearable.

Pumpkin Muffins (from Cooking Light)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin-pie spice (I also throw in some nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, you can put about a tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of milk and just wait about ten minutes for it to turn sour)
1/2 cup egg substitute or 2 egg whites
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, granulated sugar, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Combine pumpkin and the next 4 ingredients (through applesauce) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool muffins in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 muffin)