Sunday, November 14, 2021

ChezCindy: Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Muffins


This lovely autumn seasonal pumpkin recipe can be baked into muffins or as a quick-bread.  The addition of yellow cornmeal is different from other pumpkin baked goods, enhancing the texture and adding structure for a muffin or bread that puffs up tall to fill the pan as it bakes.  

My mother made pumpkin breads and muffins when we were young kids every fall season.  She offered the pumpkin treats with a spread of cream cheese.  If you have not tried this combination, I encourage you to do so.  The crunch of the walnuts and the tart cranberries are delightful paired with the creamy savory cheese, and the sweetness of the baked good.  

I use my pumpkin pie spice blend in this recipe.  Putting this spice blend together is a quick start to many sweet pumpkin recipes.  The muffins would also be really good with a homemade pumpkin butter.   

Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Muffins
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Makes 12 standard size muffins or 1 9x5-inch loaf 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a standard size muffin tin with 12 paper cupcake liners.  Set aside.  Or if using a 9x5-inch loaf pan, lightly grease the pan with baking spray.  

Working with a large mixing bowl, measure out the dry ingredients, starting with the flour to the pumpkin pie spice, adding these to the mixing bowl.  Stir to combine.

Working in a separate medium size mixing bowl, add in the sugars and the eggs, mixing until well  combined.  Add in the pumpkin puree, oil, and vanilla, mixing until combined.  Transfer the sugar-pumpkin mixture to the large mixing bowl with the dry ingredients, stirring until fully combined.  Fold in the dried cranberries and the chopped walnuts, folding until evenly mixed.  

Using a 1/4-cup spring-loaded ice cream scoop, scoop out the thick batter into the prepared muffin tray.  Or, transfer the batter to the 9x5-inch loaf pan.  Place the muffin tray, or loaf pan, into the preheated oven.  Bake the muffins for 22-24 minutes.  Bake the loaf bread for 50-55 minutes.  A wooden skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean with a few crumbs attached.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing, setting onto a wire rack to cool. 

*If not using pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves.

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