One of my (and my daughter Lily's) favorite muffins of all time is a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin from a small cookbook simply called 'Muffins'. I am in Mexico visiting friends and when I saw a small sugar pumpkin on the counter in their kitchen, I decided to make these tasty treats for them to try. I cut the pumpkin in half and scooped out the seeds, roasted it on a sheet pan at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes until it was soft, scraped out the pulp and pureed it in a food processor.
(Don't worry, you can buy pumpkin in a can, they just don't have any canned pumpkin down here in Mexico). Just for fun, I changed some of the original ingredients from the recipe and added a bit of chile powder to get a 'south of the border' flavor. They turned out great and my friends loved them! Perfect with coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate, anytime, anywhere. Viva la muffin Mexicana!
Mexican Chocolate, Toasted Pepita and Pumpkin Muffins
1/2 c toasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 T *pumpkin pie spice
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t chile powder (optional)
2 large eggs
1 c plain pumpkin (half of a one pound can)
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 c (6 ounces) Mexican chocolate (such as Abuelita) cut into chunks
Grease muffin cups, or use foil or paper baking cups. Thoroughly mix flour, sugars, pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, chile powder and salt in a large bowl. Break eggs into another bowl, add pumpkin and butter, and whisk until well blended. Stir in chocolate chunks and pepitas. Pour over dry ingredients and fold in with a rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are moistened. Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and springy to the touch in the center. Turn out onto a rack to cool. Wrap in a plastic bag and keep for 1 or 2 days or freeze. Reheat before serving. Makes about 12 muffins.
*Wrens recipe for all spice (pumpkin pie spice):
1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t each of cloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice.
You can also make the recipe the original way by using all granulated sugar (no brown), toasted almonds (or no nuts at all) instead of pepitas and regular semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the Mexican chocolate—oh, and no chile! They are equally delicious.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
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