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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pumpkin and Raisin Spice Muffins

If you are anything at all like me, at some point in mid to late September when you walk into the grocery store and notice the huge display of halloween pumpkins, your heart skips a beat. Starting then, and for the next six weeks or so, you start buying pumpkins like they are going out of style (and frankly they ARE going out of style - on November 1, to be precise).

Then, sometime around now in mid November, you open the freezer to find room for some of your early Christmas baking, and you realize that you have a "type-M" personality. That is "M" for "Messed Up". You really aren't capable of doing ANYTHING in moderation. There is enough frozen pumpkin puree in your freezer to last a lifetime.

If I just described you (yes, I know that is highly unlikely but just humour me, OK?)... it's alright! I'm here to help! Because there are TONS of things you can do with frozen pumpkin puree. Just the other night, I made Pumpkin Risotto for dinner (it was too dark to get good pictures). And I always make at least one batch of my Pumpkin Soup. Of course you can never get enough Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. Another thing I love to do, is stir about a half cup of pumpkin puree into my morning oatmeal with a little bit of pumpkin pie spice and molasses.

These muffins are another favorite way to use up the puree. I got the original recipe from Farmgirl Fare's Blog. They are fabulous with Pecans or Walnuts instead of the dates, but I have stopped putting nuts in any of my muffin recipes, because the school Claire and Marco go to has a "no nut" policy (there is a good joke there, but I try not to make fun of my kids on the blog!)

OK, I have to run... I need to go find room in the freezer for these muffins....YIKES!

Pumpkin and Raisin Spice Muffins

1 cup raisins
3/4 cup orange juice
3 cups white flour
1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs
450g pumpkin puree (or one 15oz can)
1 cup chopped dates (or more raisins, dried cranberries, or nuts)

1. Microwave raisins with orange juice for 2 minutes on high, and set aside.

2. Whisk together dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.

3. In another bowl mix butter, brown sugar, honey, eggs and pumpkin puree.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry along with the raisins and orange juice. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in dates.

5. Fill muffin tins almost to the top (makes about 18 large muffins) and bake at 350F for about 25 minutes.