Fall has definitively arrived. Three days last week had daily high temperatures in the 50s, Zestar and Sweet Sixteen apples have made their farmer’s market debuts, and the pumpkin patch we drive by on our daily commute is erupting with bright orange jack-o’-lanterns in the making. There is a certain crispness to the air in the early mornings and late afternoons that I never feel in summer, however cold it gets.
In honor of the season, and also because I have been subliminally influenced by the pumpkin products relentlessly popping up in every supermarket aisle and on coffee shop menus, I made a batch of pumpkin mini muffins for a church potluck. I’ve found that bite-sized foods tend to go over better at potlucks–since there are so many options, people are hesitant to commit to a full-sized item. However, you might find yourself eating a full muffin’s worth of these mini muffins. Thanks to the pumpkin, they’re soft and moist, with the perfect balance of spice and a pleasant but not overwhelming sweetness level. The baking time is longer than a typical mini muffin, probably because the pumpkin makes the batter rather dense.
Yield: about 4 dozen mini muffins
15-ounce can pumpkin
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon all spice, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line mini muffin cups with paper liners.
Mix the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, and canola oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Batter will be lumpy.
Spoon one tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin cup.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until tops of muffins are dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.