~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Friday, May 18, 2012

Light and Tender Pumpkin Muffins... using Spelt Flour.

Light and Tender Pumpkin Muffins... using Spelt Flour. I know, I know... pumpkin related baked goods are more of a norm during the Fall season or for the Thanksgiving holiday. But I am sure many of us have leftover pumpkin puree stashed in our freezers... or extra cans in our pantry. Well, I do anyway:). Actually, I make sure to have some extra pumpkin puree, so I could bake these muffins throughout the year.... because pumpkin is good for you:)!

Some time ago I invented this pumpkin muffin recipe when I realized I could substitute pumpkin puree for the mashed banana in my banana bread recipe....truthfully, I had some leftover pumpkin I needed to use up and just took my chance:). But the Starbucks Banana Bread recipe is probably the most used recipe off this site... and I'm not kidding. I tend to have banana bread/muffins in my freezer most of the times and I no longer make any other banana bread. Actually I stopped searching for other banana bread recipes ever since I made the Starbucks' version. Too simple. Too good. But I do need to back up a bit and mention that I now make an adapted version of the original..... using less sugar and some extra light olive oil. Slight changes, but we like the recipe that way.

This is the type of recipe comes together quickly(I use a fork to mix everything, but you can use a mixer)... and the muffins come out light and moist. Plus, I've managed to vary the recipe from time to time, by using all sorts of flours and mixing in various additions... like nuts, chocolate, apple chunks, dried fruit, etc. So we never get tired of it:).

This past Thanksgiving, I received a hostess gift from a sweet friend who came over for a week-long visit. I'm always amazed how some people really make it a point to gift you with items that are such a blessing. Gifts that get used in practical ways.... such as beautiful kitchen towels (I really needed some, but how did my friend know?!), a package of tea, some vanilla pods, and a container of pumpkin pie spice... among other things. Such practical gifts, yet lovingly put together... and every time I use the pumpkin pie spice, I think of her.

The pumpkin puree can easily be exchanged with any winter squash/butternut squash puree. Actually, I made a 9x5 inch loaf, instead of the muffins... using some winter squash from the fall that was baked and pureed. It was delicious. I haven't yet experimented with using homemade apple sauce, carrot puree, zucchini , beets or other similar purees... though I have used pureed frozen strawberries We really loved the the strawberry flavor, and plan on experimenting with other purees... I've also substituted the sugar with less honey... which works.

In any case, I thought to share a recipe that has been made over and over in our house. Normally, I'll make more than one batch at a time... to freeze for later. While I've never added a frosting to these muffins... a good spiced cream cheese frosting would really go well together... and then you can just call them cupcakes:). Hope you enjoy...               

Note: A 29 oz can of pumpkin puree, makes about 3 batches... with a bit of pumpkin puree leftover( maybe 1/3 cup). I tend to add an extra TBS of pumpkin to each batch, this way I don't have to worry about the extra puree... really, doesn't affect the outcome too much. You can likewise freeze the extra puree and use it in scones, pancakes, cookies, etc.

Tip: You can easily bake this in a 9x5 pan... increase baking time to 50-60 minutes.

You will need: Feel free to adjust sugar to taste. We don't mind less sugar, but if you are not used to less sugar in your sweets (or if you are making these for guests), you might want to use the full cup amount. 

2 cups whole-grain spelt flour( can use all purpose flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1 ⁄4 tsp salt
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 ex-large egg
2/3-1 cup sugar
1 ⁄2 cup light olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 TBS buttermilk*
1 cup pumpkin puree
chopped pecans, optional
* I add 2-3 tsps lemon juice to whole milk and let sit until curdled. I've used 3 TBS soured milk...and I've also used 1/4 cup(to use up all my soured milk); the reason for the range. 


Preheat oven to 325 deg F. Line muffin tin with liners. Set aside.

1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, mix together the egg, sugar, vanilla and oil until combined. Add to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly.... it's quite stiff.
3. Add the buttermilk and pureed pumpkin and mix until combined.... batter loosens up a bit. If using nuts, fold in 1 ⁄2 c chopped walnuts ... otherwise scoop batter( one regular ice scream scoop should fill each muffin liner) into prepared muffin tins. Top batter with remaining 1 ⁄3 c chopped walnuts( if using).
4. Bake for 24-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pan. 
~After the muffins cool, I like to freeze mine... they somehow get better, sort of like banana bread which is best eaten on the following day.


Susy said...

I love pumpkin specially in cakes/muffins!!
Yous looks super soft and delicious!

I have never used Spelt flour on anything.. I should start exploring new things :)

Ellie said...

Hi Susy, I didn't always bake with pumpkin, but after using it in several recipes I now enjoy adding it to many baked goods.

Spelt flour is a bit lighter than regular whole wheat... and tends to make the baked goods fluffier and not so dense.
Hope you can try it one of these days:).... and thanks for stopping by.