Sliding into November, it was 63 degrees Fahrenheit this morning on my run and it felt downright chilly when I left the house (once out on the trail I quickly warmed up, however). Yesterday temperatures reached 90 degrees in the afternoon so we’re not exactly breaking out the cool-weather gear just yet but there’s a definite downward trend. Pumpkin cookies have been baked, the Thanksgiving menu has taken shape, I’m contemplating pumpkin pancakes for the upcoming long weekend, and Sierra and I have made two batches of tender, delectable pumpkin muffins with spelt flour.
I may have mentioned that simple is key around here lately, but one way I’ve been maximizing the little one’s frequent sleep periods and also carving out alone time with Sierra is to bake and/or cook together. She loves to whisk eggs, to dip her hands into the flour, to help roll out dough or put batter into a muffin tin. Sure the kitchen gets a bit messy but it’s worth it to do this together and to see the satisfaction on her face when I pull out whatever we’ve made together from the oven (the other day I helped her cut up a lot of cherry tomatoes I later roasted — and while she didn’t end up eating them it was so much fun to see her excitement as she finished).
Then, too, we do love to have a bit of a sweet kicking around the fridge.
These muffins come by way of my friend Megan, who writes the site A Sweet Spoonful and who I often turn to for recipes that bridge the gap between treat and healthful. I cut out some of the sugar here and replaced it with maple syrup and swapped yogurt for buttermilk but her original recipe, which we made to celebrate my birthday, is also just the thing for these cooling autumn mornings. The most recent batch was baked last week and about five minutes after pulling the muffins out of the oven Sierra and I sat outside and devoured two each, still warm and oh so cozy, which tells you something about the recipe (i.e. if a slightly finicky three-year-old asks for seconds it’s definitely a keeper).
Megan mentions her recipe is adapted from her pear muffin recipe and it’s got me thinking about folding in some homemade applesauce in place of the pumpkin, plus some toasted walnuts or pecans. Perhaps a shellack of honey over their tops. I wonder if Sierra would be into that too. There’s only one way to find out!
The first time we made these muffins we made the streusel from Megan’s original recipe – and it was delicious. But I left it off the second time we baked in the interest of time and the muffins were still lovely. Your choice.
Makes 12 muffins.
1 3/4 cups (210g) whole spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup (25g) rolled oats
1/3 cup (45g) almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (150g) brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup (250g) pumpkin or squash puree
1/2 cup whole fat plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 375 F. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin (or line with papers).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Fold in the pumpkin puree. Whisk in the uyogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture gently, being careful not to overmix.
Fill the muffin cups nearly to the top. Place muffins in the oven and bake until the tops are golden brown and feel firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing muffins from the tin. Serve warm or room temperature. Muffins will keep for 3 days in an airtight container.