Monday, February 15, 2010

Pumpkin Ginger Muffins

Receiving an ingredient sometimes instigates making something that you had no plans to make. Over the Christmas break, we spent two great nights at Hotel Le Germain in Toronto. Their hostess gift in our room was a gingerbread cut-out cookie made by their chef, including his recipe and a packet of crystallized ginger to take home. 

Fast forward to February:  The crystallized ginger was still in my pantry and it made me think of this recipe, which prompted me to buy the can of pumpkin.   But when I went to make the recipe, I only had half as much crystallized ginger as needed.  So it was decision time, do I cut the recipe in half and throw out half the pumpkin?  Or do I look for something that might fill the void?

Hmmm---I had some dried apricots.  They might work. Good --now I had a cup of dried not-too-sweet bits of flavor, once I chopped them up.  But then I came across another problem --- no apple juice in the fridge.  But I did have a can of mangoes that I had never used.  Hmmm ---could I use the mango juice from the can?? Why not??
Pumpkin Ginger Muffins
adapted from Open House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase

1 can (15 ounces) unsweetened pumpkin puree
2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs
1/2 cup mango juice (or apple juice)
3 1/2 cups flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
4 heaping tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 heaping tablespoons ground ginger
1 t. grated nutmeg
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 c. finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 c. finely chopped dried apricots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place paper liners in 24 muffin cups.

Stir the pumpkin, sugar, and melted butter together in a large mixing bowl.
Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the mango or apple juice.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves into another bowl.  Add the chopped crystallized ginger and apricots and thoroughly coat them with the dry ingredients.  

Gradually stir the flour and fruit mixture into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly mixed.   Forgot to mention--- you will need a big bowl for mixing this batter.  It is a big fluffy concoction.

Spoon the batter into the cups, filling each cup almost to the top.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 mintues.

Let them cool in the pans for 5- 15 minutes then pop them out and let them cool on a rack. 

These muffins are packed with flavor and are very ginger-y.  People don't seem to be able to identify that they are pumpkin muffins right away.  They are not overly sweet.  The spices are more dominant---in a good way.  Great with a cup of coffee.   They were a hit with my West End Gallery taste testers. 

My notes say that I first made this recipe in October, 2001.  I wondered what happened to Sarah Leah Chase, so I googled her and found out that she has been living the good life and has a specialty food business with her husband called Coastal Goods.

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