I was sitting in my new apartment yesterday afternoon waiting for the movers to deliver my bed. I started scrolling through NYT Cooking looking for recipes and I saw these pumpkin maple muffins on the homepage. “Yep,” I said to myself. “This is happening.”
Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with in the fall. It differs from pumpkin spice, an artificial aberration, because it’s real. Yeah, the kind I use comes from a can, but it’s not a mix of chemicals specifically engineered to make me believe I’m consuming pumpkin.
One of my favorite things to do with pumpkin in the fall is to mix it with warming spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. Sometimes, I even add a pinch of cloves. Pumpkin is squash so it needs a little sprucing up when presented in baked goods.
Also, I put maple syrup in pretty much everything. Just ask my boyfriend. I like it in oatmeal, cookies, cakes, pies, muffins. I once had an idea for an ice cream sundae with warm maple syrup that I’m still playing around with. Maybe it will make it onto the menu in my future bakery one day.
Until then, I plan on making these pumpkin maple muffins throughout the fall and winter. They’re warming, spicy, fragrant, slightly sweet, and surprisingly light.
You might be tempted to skip the step in the recipe that calls for browned butter. Whatever you do, DO NOT skip this step. Browning butter gives it a depth of flavor that it doesn’t have on its own. You’ll be happy you spent a little extra time doing it when you taste the finished product.
When I brought the muffins into work this morning, a coworker asked if they were diet muffins. “They can be in your head,” I said. In all honesty, though, they’re not that bad for you. They are full of whole wheat flour, they don’t have any white sugar, and they have pumpkin, which is vegetable. I’m a big believer in getting your fruits and vegetables in through baked goods.
ANYWAY. Make these muffins as soon as possible. I won’t publish the recipe below because I followed Alison Roman’s recipe in NYT Cooking. Here’s a link to the recipe instead. The only thing I did was cut the amount of salt by half a teaspoon. I did that because I bought the bigger salt flakes from the grocery store and Samin Nosrat taught me that you have to be careful when working with bigger salt flakes.
Here’s a song to get you started on your pumpkin maple muffin journey.