October 6, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

The autumn season is my favorite time of year, hands down. It's not too hot, not too cold, there aren't as many bugs (I HATE mosquitoes!), and the nights just seem cozier. I believe life gives us changing seasons to force ourselves to slow down, take a breather, and just relax a bit. So, for breakfast tomorrow, let's do just that. Grab a big mug of steaming coffee, and help yourself to a delicious pumpkin spice muffin. And while you're at it, put your feet up!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
(makes 1 dozen)

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons apple pie spice blend
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
1 - 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
4 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and place paper liners in muffin tins. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl.
Add the pieces of chilled butter.
Using a pastry blender, or two knives, blend and cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter resembles small peas.
I was lucky enough to find organic pumpkin at my local food market!
...it's all I wanted, just pumpkin; no chemicals, no extra sugar, no fillers. (sigh!...happiness..) In a medium sized bowl, combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg and vanilla.
and blend it all together.
Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry.
Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full.
Mix up the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg...
and lightly sprinkle onto the top of each muffin.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. You can do the toothpick test to be sure the centers are done. Remove from the oven, then allow to cool completely before frosting. When ready, combine the frosting ingredients together. Frost the tops of each muffin, sprinkle with nuts if desired. Or, you can fill a pastry bag, and pipe a dollop of frosting on the top.  Happy fall!

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