Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fudgy Pumpkin Muffins: A Lament

"Fools!" declared Graham upon hearing that
the muffins were not a bake sale success.
I am bummed. I made a batch of muffins for an office bake sale today and couldn't help but notice that a few of them were still on the table near the end of the day. I suppose they were eventually bought in the buy-one-get-one clearance, but even in their stylish IKEA liners, they looked like the sad kids who are picked last for the kickball team.

Not that I'd know anything about that.

Anyway, the recipe for fudgy pumpkin muffins was shared by my neighbor, Cathy Elsea, who praised their healthful properties -- not to mention ease of preparation. I made a test batch over the weekend and Graham was almost as disappointed when he snarfed the last one as I was when I spied the remainders this afternoon.

I'll definitely make these again for us, but next year it's back to brownies for the bake sale. It's almost an overstatement to call this a recipe, but here it is.

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

Optional: pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven according to cake mix directions.

Blend cake mix and pumpkin with an electric blender until well combined. Batter will be fairly stiff.

Lightly coat muffin pan with vegetable oil spray or use liners (I sprayed the liners also, as too much of the fudgy goodness stuck to the paper on my first attempt). The box says it should make 18 muffins, but this is a dense batter that will not rise like typical cake mix. I opted for a dozen filled-to-the-brim muffins and topped each with a sprinkling of pepitas. Cathy's garnish of choice is mini chocolate chips.

Bake according to cake mix directions, about 20-25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool at least 10 minutes, or jump in when you can't stand it anymore.

While the dense chocolately flavor is a big part of the appeal, I think these would be equally tasty made with carrot or spice cake mix -- or even sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin. Whatever sounds best, join the team and give them a try.

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