September 23, 2014

First Day of Fall: Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Fall is my favorite... I'm pretty sure that I was made for this time of year. Cool crisp air, apple picking, changing leaves, scarves, and pumpkin everything... perfection.

Today is the first day of fall, and sure enough we awoke to a beautiful morning... 44 degrees (which will warm up to an ideal 71 degree afternoon), clear, bright... and begging for something pumpkin!

I set out to make pumpkin muffins. I've been craving them for a few days, but I was making myself wait until Fall officially began. Because they are the first batch of the season, I decided that I would follow a recipe and I scoured the internet. I ended up using the first recipe I found, directly from Libby's (because c'mon, it's Libby's- they know pumpkin!), and because it was simple. I have come to appreciate that simple recipes are often the best- especially if your three year old wants to help you bake.

These muffins were exactly what I was craving! Moist, perfectly spiced* and just enough pumpkin flavor. Some reviewers on the Libby website did mention that they added raisins, craisins, and/or walnuts for a little something extra. We have a nut-free house so I won't be experimenting with those, but I think that either raisins or craisins would make a great add-in. I will definitely be making these again!!

Libby's Pumpkin Muffins

Makes approx. 30 muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar*
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water or orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line or grease 30 muffin cups.
Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl- set aside. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture; stir until just moistened (there will be a few lumps). Spoon batter into prepare muffin cups, filling 3/4 full.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (mine took closer to 20-22 minutes), or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store muffins in covered container or resealable plastic bags.

Serving size: 1 muffin. Calories: 170; Calories from Fat: 40; Total fat: 4.5g; Sat. fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 30mg; Sodium: 210mg; Carbs: 30g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugars: 21g; Protein: 2g

*Notes on this recipe: I do not keep pumpkin pie spice in my cabinet, so instead I made a mixture of: 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon; 1 tsp. ground nutmeg; 1 tsp. ground ginger; and 3/4 tsp ground allspice. My spice mix equaled 2 tablespoons, so I had a little bit (one tsp) of extra spice, but it was perfect. The recipe calls for 3 cups granulated sugar, but I used 2 cups- I don't care for sweet muffins, and it made things a little healthier. Lastly, I used orange juice as opposed to water. You don't get any orange flavor in the finished product, but I'm sure that it brightens things up a bit in the background and serves a purpose. I would definitely use it again- unless maybe I had a pumpkin craving and no OJ.

...I don't know if I can wait until tomorrow morning to have another muffin, I might have to try one as an afternoon snack with a little cream cheese... yummy! For now,
it's time to go enjoy the weather at the park!

You can find the original recipe and other information here

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