Despite my self-assuredness (and great relief) that I’d never again have need to enter a science class upon graduation from college, I’ve found myself in quite the experimental mood lately. A few weeks ago, my friend April suggested here on the blog that I try adding some brown sugar loveliness to my pumpkin cake recipe, and I’ve been mixing brown sugar and pumpkin in my mind ever since. From an empirical standpoint (check that out from the old science textbooks), it makes total sense. Brown sugar and granulated sugar mixed together in cookies makes for great chewiness on the insides and a nice crispness to the outside. Methinks it would work here, too.
For the sake of science (of the baking variety), it seemed fitting to throw in a bit of a wild card, too, to see how it fared in the modified recipe. As long as I was adding the chewy, crispness from the brown sugar, I thought I might as well experiment with something else that could up the texture and make the muffins a little more interesting. And I think that’s exactly what the addition of whole-wheat flour accomplishes. Sure, it’s nothing groundbreaking. But there is no such thing as small science, just small scientists. Wait, that’s not right. Hmm…
Brown Sugar Pumpkin Muffins with Whole-Wheat Flour
• 2 sticks unsalted butter
• 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
• 1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2 cups canned pumpkin (16 ounces) [Just as a side note, I used organic canned pumpkin for the first time with this recipe, and wowie kazowie, you can taste the difference. You can certainly make this recipe with any brand, but I highly recommend springing for the good stuff.]
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup whole-wheat flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 2 teaspoons ginger
• ½ teaspoon cloves
• 3 rounded teaspoons cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream together butter, sugars and eggs. Add pumpkin and vanilla, and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add to wet mixture, and mix until completely combined.
Bake in a greased bundt pan at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until knife comes out not quite clean. For muffins, fill lined muffin cups or greased muffin tins about ¾ full [Note: For the original pumpkin bread recipe, I fill muffin tins to the brim with batter, but the whole-wheat and brown sugar combo keeps the muffins from rising the same way. I’ve tried it both ways, and smaller seems to work better]. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees, until knife comes out almost clean.
I find these miniature pumpkin muffins a bit reminiscent of Ella’s annual birthday treat from the local pet bakery (I realize that relating puppy food to people food is less than appetizing for most readers, but I assure you, that tiny poodle has excellent taste). Although I wouldn’t rate these experimental muffins as better than the originals, they have garnered a well-deserved “equal to” from both Jared and me. They combine the moist airiness I love with a richer taste and texture. By no means would I categorize them as health food, but any time I can add whole-wheat flour to a recipe to health it up a bit without losing flavor, I think it’s a win.
Have you done any kitchen experimenting lately? Any new recipes you’re trying out or old recipes you’re modifying? What’s your favorite ingredient to throw in the mix?