Happy belated Halloween! I hope everyone had a spooky, wonderful holiday full of tricks, treats and enough sugary bliss to last until the turkeys thaw for Thanksgiving! I love Halloween for a lot of reasons, but I think I love it most because it’s the official kickoff to my favorite time of year. Yahoo, holiday season!
I fully intended to post this pumpkin-y delight yesterday in light of all the ghostly festivities, but after some unexpected events transpired, ‘twas not in the cards. But I’m nothing if not a fan of dragging out a good holiday well past its calendar designation anyway, so a second day of Halloween fun sounds just fine and dandy to me. Those of you who dived a bit too deep into the ol’ candy basket yesterday might be thinking otherwise, I suppose. If that’s the case, then perhaps you can read this post and recipe as more of an homage to the fall season rather than a nod to the world’s pumpkiniest holiday. Either way, it’s a sincere tribute to pumpkin in what I consider to be its ultimate cooked form. After years of dabbling with spices and measurements and countless tastings from a family of testers, this beloved recipe has arrived at its current state. Perfection in a muffin cup. Love in a baked good.
Because I can’t leave well enough alone when it comes to this dessert, it’s continued to evolve since I first wrote about it more than a year ago. In that time, I’ve made a number of tweaks and changes to up the flavor and fluffiness factor — some successful, some not so successful. But experimentation, leads to greatness, right? I’m sure my dabbling with this recipe will continue for years to come, but for this season at least, I’m quite happy with where it is. I hope you are, too!
• 2 sticks unsalted butter
• 3 cups sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2 cups canned pumpkin (good pumpkin makes a big difference)
• 3 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla
• 2 rounded teaspoons ginger
• ½ rounded teaspoon cloves
• 4 rounded teaspoons cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, then cream until mixture is super light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add pumpkin and vanilla, and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture, and mix until just combined (careful not to overmix! Overmixing will make your puffy little muffin tops fall flat).
Spoon mixture into greased or paper-lined muffin cups (batter should make about 22 to 24 muffins) until cups are almost completely full (I usually put about ½ cup of mixture in each cup; because the batter is so dense, the full cups shouldn’t overflow in the oven before they have time to bake). Bake at 350 degrees for 22 to 27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. To make a pumpkin cake instead, pour batter into a greased bundt pan and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until wooden skewer comes out almost clean.
Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar on cooled muffins/cake, and enjoy!
How was your Halloween this year? Did you trick-or-treat? Feed a crowd? Bake wonderful things? Or just hunker down and watch scary movies? Let’s hear it!