Welcome to Patch's newest column, Local Flavor. If my name sounds familiar, it's because I've been writing about my favorite recipes and reviewing local restaurants in Summit Patch for about a year. You could say I'm curiously obsessive about cooking and eating. I'm in the kitchen more than out and more than happy to talk to anyone about what makes food taste so good (It's love, of course).
So here I am, writing about it for all of Union County all of the time. It's a dream job, but I need your help. Back in the olden days, Patch was our back fence. That's right, we would chat with our neighbor over the back fence, exchanging favorite meals and recipes. It's that neighborhood chitchat that defines Patch. This is great news because Patch makes my back fence your fence too. So, let's have a dialogue and share recipes, cooking techniques and favorite neighborhood restaurants. I'm a home cook, in the trenches, just like you. My cooking mistakes are ultimately my greatest successes. I get bored with weeknight dinners and stressed out hosting dinner parties. But, I never tire of trying a new recipe especially from one home cook to another.
So, let's get cooking. I had a conversation once with uber-celeb-chef Bobby Flay who flat out told me pumpkin had no flavor. I gathered up my courage and told him I respectfully disagreed and rattled off all the dishes I make with pumpkin. Since October is pumpkin season in more ways than one, these pumpkin muffins are at the top of my list of favorites. When cooking with pumpkin, canned is just as flavorful, so save the real thing for your jack-o-lantern. Send me your favorite pumpkin recipe and it might just make it into this column. Take that, Bobby Flay!
Pumpkin Muffins with Pepitas and Crunchy Sugar
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Makes 1 dozen muffins
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 oz can 100% pure pumpkin
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) or walnuts
1/2 cup demerara (crunchy brown sugar) or granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin or cupcake liners in a 12 cup standard muffin tin.
While oven is preheating, place pepitas on a baking sheet and toast about 5 minutes until fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until light and lemony looking. Add pumpkin puree until combined. Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, powder, salt and cinnamon and add to wet mixture until just combined. Gently mix in half of the pepitas.
Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle demerara sugar over each muffin followed by remaining pepitas.
Bake 22-25 minutes until muffins are springy and puffed on top.