This home baker has sung praise before for the ever-handy cookbook, Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker (New York, NY: Scribner, 1997). The encouragement given in the classic cookbook to try your hand at baking up a batch of tasty muffins, is a great motivator to warm up the kitchen on a late fall day (with a foot of snow on the ground in upstate NY’s Albany area, despite the start of winter yet a couple weeks away). In this always useful cookbook’s words: Remember that muffins invite substitutions and inventive flavoring, and that any coffeecake, quick loaf, or corn bread batter can be made into muffins as well (p. 782).
With a supply of 15 ounce cans of Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin in the cupboard from holiday grocery shopping, it was an easy decision to bake up a batch of Maple Walnut Pumpkin Muffins on a wintry day, guided by last year’s Thanksgiving recipe for Cranberry Pecan Muffins. But this is a very simple recipe, using only two wet ingredients and one bowl. It was a snap to warm up the kitchen and make these delicious (no oil and sweetened with local maple syrup) breakfast treats. Once again, the remarkable bulk department of the Honest Weight Food Co-op in my hometown of Albany in upstate New York (with its 1000 bins of bulk food) was the source for the organic ingredients used in the recipe.
Maple Walnut Muffins (makes 6 large muffins)
Whisk together in a large bowl:
2 cups organic Farmer Ground whole wheat all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground organic nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground organic cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of grated organic orange peel
3/4 cup walnuts (broken up)
Add these two wet ingredients to the dry ingredients:
One 15 Oz. can of Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin
1/2 cup of maple syrup
When adding the “wet” ingredients to the flour mixture, mix until the dry ingredients are moistened but don’t overmix.
Grease the muffin cups and then divide the batter among the six muffin cups.
Bake in an oven, preheated to 375 degrees (slightly reduced from the 400 degrees recommended in Joy of Cooking for muffins) on the advice of cookbook author Katie Webster. In her wonderful cookbook, Maple- 100 sweet and savory recipes featuring pure maple syrup, she notes that using maple syrup instead of sugar may cause baked goods to brown more quickly and recommends decreasing the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
The Joy of Cooking cookbook also notes that muffin pan sizes vary, and baking times vary with them. For a jumbo muffin, after 25 minutes, check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in 1 or 2 of the muffins and if it “comes our clean,” the muffins are done.
Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. A perfect breakfast treat to enjoy after shoveling a foot of snow!
(Frank W. Barrie, 12/2/19)