Time's a wasting! Join Tuesdays with Dorie baking club before October 31st, or you'll miss your sugary chance. Each week, we make fabulous treats on the cheap. Hurry on over!
Fall is my favorite time for a Saturday Adventure. I capitalize this term on purpose because it's such a grand idea that it deserves to be a proper noun. When we moved to our little southwest town from upstate New York, our notion of the Fall Saturday Adventure had to adjust a little. For one thing, a pumpkin patch-a real true pumpkin patch- was not easily found. After some inquiry, a local yokel informed us that the nearest thing to a pumpkin patch was 40 miles away in an even smaller town. A pumpkin growing farmer puts the gourds out on his front lawn with a lockbox on a card table. On the honor system, you pick out your pumpkin and cram some crumpled ones into the too-small slot. This sophisticated market system simply isn't used in Los Angeles, where I grew up. It sounded like the perfect Saturday Adventure to me; even if we didn't get a pumpkin it was worth it to see virtuous people handling a loaded cashbox. And so it has been for the last four years in a row. Each October we've headed off to someone else's front lawn in somebody else's hometown to buy somebody else's home-grown pumpkin on the marvelous honor system. This year, I woke up early and slipped a batch of freshly baked whole wheat pumpkin muffins whole wheat, perfumed with maple and studded with sunflower seeds, into a basket to take along. If there is any way to make an October Saturday Adventure even more ideal, it's with these fall flavored muffins. And this year, as the icing on the cake, during our drive home the sky sifted down gentle drifts of powdered sugar snow. It melted just hours later, but it was a good reminder that the holidays are coming soon, and muffins like these are not only good for Saturday Adventures but also for Holiday Breakfasts. Another capital notion!
Money Saving Tips: Maple extract is a HUGE money saver. You can make pancake syrup by boiling together sugar and water and flavoring it with maple extract. It's not as good as maple syrup, but for a child's frozen waffle, it does the trick. Also, maple extract makes a great frosting since the flavor is stronger than real maple syrup. Be sure to freeze any leftover pumpkins in 1/2 cup portions in zip top baggies. Sunflower seeds can be pricey, so use whatever nuts you've got available.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Maple Muffins
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Estimated Cost: $2.00 for six muffins
Notes: These are even better with a little maple butter. Stir together equal parts butter and maple syrup.
1 cup whole wheat flour, lightly spooned into measuring cup
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, plus more for top (or other nut)
Grease a six cup muffin tin. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour, powder, soda, cinnamon and ginger. In a separate medium bowl, cream butter and both sugars. Add the egg and beat well. Stir in vanilla and maple extracts. Mix in pumpkin and buttermilk. Very gently, fold in dry ingredients. Stir in seeds. Divide batter between muffin cups. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in muffin tins for five minutes. Remove from muffin tins and serve warm
Sweet Red Pepper and Ginger Penne with Feta