13 October 2013

Pumpkin Macadamia Muffins

Nothing says good morning quite like a freshly baked muffin.  They're just so perky and cheerful, the perfect companion to a steaming mug of coffee on a cool fall morning.  Or around 10:30.  Or maybe 2:45.  Let's just say good morning all day long to this muffin, because it's so darn tasty you'll be eating it around the clock.  I speak from personal experience, folks.  

Ever since I made pumpkin bars a few weeks back, the hubs has been begging me for more pumpkin treats.  I've been only to happy to oblige with pumpkin graham tarts, pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin oatmeal.  And I cannot wait to try this fabulous linguine recipe...*chipotle swoon*.  Two years ago we were all about spaghetti squash, last year it was butternut, and this year it's pumpkin.  Maybe next year will be acorn....hmmmm......

But this year we revel in pumpkin.  Apparently, with nuts.  We started with decadent pecans and have moved on to the king of all nuts...deliciously buttery macadamias.  Possibly the unhealthiest and most addictive of the entire nutty family.  They have a wonderful soft crunch that is impossible to resist.  Whether buried inside a Caramac or straight out of your hand, nobody can say no to macadamias.  So when I saw a large bag on super-mark-down at the market, I snatched it up and immediately began planning on how best to eat them.  Which leads us back to muffins.

Seriously, these muffins are so incredibly delicious, they have become my absolute favorite at the moment.  The batter is incredibly moist and tender, and though pumpkin can sometimes be heavy, the muffins turn out very light.  Their flavor is subtle and not overly sweet, which makes them wonderful to eat at any time of the day.  But the best thing by far is the crunchy macadamia nuts riddled first throughout the batter and then toasted to perfection on the top.  This toothsome combination makes me swoon with happy fullness.  

Besides their perky little attitude and fabulous flavor, they're perfectly portable.  The hubs is currently working at a hospital with a rather lack luster breakfast selection, so these grab-and-go portions are just what the doctor (to-be) ordered.  I love sticking one into my lunch for an afternoon snack at work.  They're delicious cold and extra comforting when warmed in the microwave.  Spread these with butter or tangy cream cheese - both are delicious.  

Look at that lil' fella.  Tell me he doesn't look spunky and cheerful.  Yep, that's what I thought.  

Pumpkin Macadamia Muffins (12 muffins)
Inspired by Epicurious
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/3 c pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c milk 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c dry roasted, unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and spray lightly with non-stick.  

In a large bowl, combine both flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Whisk together well, then set the bowl to the side.

In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, both sugars, coconut oil, milk and egg.  Whisk the wet ingredients until they are smooth and no lumps of sugar remain.  Pour the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Add 1/2 cup of the chopped macadamia nuts to the batter and stir to distribute.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cups and sprinkle with the remaining macadamia nuts.  Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Store in an air-tight container for 3 days on the counter, or longer in the refrigerator.  

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