Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brown Butter, Pumpkin, Spice Muffin Goodness

A few weeks ago I ran across this recipe for Brown Butter Spice Cake.  I still had some pumpkin in the freezer and thought this sounded good, so I took the pumpkin out to thaw.

I have now made this recipe three times!  Well, each time it got a new variation...

Round 1
The first time was a double batch, I did follow the recipe on the website with the following exceptions:

  • I didn't have any toasted hazelnut oil so I substituted butter as suggested by Heidi (the author of the blog post).
  • I didn't have whole pastry flour, sea salt or natural cane sugar. I used regular flour and salt and 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 regular sugar.
  • I used my food processor to puree and then "whisk" in the eggs, sugar, butter and milk.
  • I made muffins instead of bread.  I have to plan too much to have something in the oven for a whole hour. The muffins take about 16-18 minutes!
  • I also put toasted almond slivers in only half the batter.  
Results:  Ended up with 18 muffins, plus some extra in my little corning ware dish.  We loved these!  I liked the ones with the nuts on top.  Patrick preferred them without nuts.  And we both felt the spices could be increased.

Round 2
The second time was a single batch, I changed the following (on purpose)
  • I used bananas instead of the pumpkin - as they were taking up way too much room in the freezer.  
  • I again skipped the toasted hazelnut oil.
  • Instead of nuts I added milk chocolate chips to half the batter. (I was actually craving Mary's Chocolate Cake - but I didn't have all the ingredients for that, nor did I need a whole chocolate cake sitting around.)
  • I added more of the garam marsala (1 1/2 tsp.) and cinnamon (1 tsp.)
  • I did not sprinkle extra sugar on these ones.
Results: Made about 16 muffins. These were just ok. Perhaps, it was because I was really wanting chocolate cake, but they did not rise as well as the first batch making them kind of sadly flat.  They were good, but not overly so.

Round 3
The third time - this was a double batch again,  I changed the following (some on purpose, one not so purposefully)
  • Again, no toasted hazelnut oil (I just don't have any on hand.)
  • I used pumpkin - about 1 1/3 cup before pureeing because that is what I had.
  • I added the following spices: garam marsala (3-4 tsp.), cinnamon (1 1/2 tsp.) and ground ginger (1/2 tsp.)
  • I also added a rounded teaspoon of baking soda (from the last rather sadly flat experience.)
  • I also added an additional 1/3 c. flour.  I knew I would have more pumpkin than I needed so I thought this would offset some of the extra moistness.
  • My not so purposeful change was in the butter.  I put a stick of butter in the pan to brown and then made the recipe.  I was actually stirring in the "liquid" into the flour and noticed that the batter was rather dry.  Woops!  I turned around, pulled the beautifully browned butter from its cooling spot and poured it into the batter, stirring well to get all the stuff incorporated.  Did you catch my mistake here? I doubled the recipe, but not the butter.
Results: Made 18 muffins, plus my little corning ware pan. They were wonderful.  I loved the smell of them as they reached the end of their cooking.  The house filled with wonderfully fragrant smells.  I had to eat two of these while they were still warm.  I had part of my "extra" pan for breakfast the next day with hot chocolate. yuuummm!

It was as I was getting ready the next morning that I realized, "Hey! I think I forgot to double the butter."  After checking the recipe and realizing my mistake, I still had a good breakfast.  While the lower fat content made the muffins more bread-like, the extra pumpkin made up the difference.   And, slightly warm, you wouldn't notice a difference. 


Shauna said...

mmm... those look good. I'm coming over for a taste test. =)

LisaK said...

I'm making more today :-) This time I'm not shortchanging the butter as much - maybe just 3/4 c for a double batch.