Spiced Spiked Pumpkin Muffins

As I was busy with my search for the ultimate Christmas goodies for this year, I thought of using locally grown products and something that would make the treats not only delicious but healthy at the same time. When we received 2 heads of winter squash from the province, I decided to look for something made out of pumpkins. I came across Farmgirl Fare's Spicy Pumpkin Pecan Raisin Muffins. The photo beaconed me to give the recipe a chance. So after studying and thinking of tweaking the ingredients, I was able to create a spiced and spiked pumpkin muffin. I replaced the orange juice with triple sec, and increased the amount of the wheat flour to 1 cup and subtracted half a cup from the flour. I ran out of honey so I replaced it with maple syrup.

The Ingredients:
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup Triple Sec (or rhum)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon of each: baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 eggs
1 pound fresh pumpkin puree (about 450 grams, peeled, boiled and pureed)
1 cup chopped nuts (i used walnuts)

Cooking Procedure:
In a saucepan, boil the raisins with the triple sec until plump. Set it aside.

Combine the dry ingredients together. Combine margarine, sugar, maple syrup, and eggs in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in pumpkin puree. Fold in the dry and wet ingredients into the pumpkin mixture alternately. Stir in the nuts.

Pour 2/3 cup-full into greased muffin or cupcake tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes in a 350F pre-heated oven. Cool muffins in tins for 15 minutes on wire racks. Store in an air tight container.

My Notes:
My first attempt in making this was a flop. I over mixed it and failed to notice that I used dark brown sugar instead of brown sugar. The cake became too sweet and crumbly. But we enjoyed the spicy spiked taste with a hint of maple. I didn't want to put this to waste, so I whipped up some heavy cream, and added alittle vanilla. Layered it then topped with chocolate curls. Chilled it for 4 hours. I had an instant Refrigerator Pumpkin Spiked Cake. (Sorry I forgot to take a photo.)

In my second attempt, I had the sugar and procedure right. I had a couple of pumpkin puree left over, so I topped some of the muffins with a tablespoon before placing it in the oven. It had a creamy top and gave a more pumpkin flavor.
For a ginger-y taste, add 1 teaspoon of ginger.
Keeping them in a tight container for a few days in the refrigerator, the muffins had a similar taste to fruitcakes without the extra dried and glaced fruit.

The verdict:
Not bad at all... Not bad at all... A definite potential...

To Farmgirl Susan:
Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I definitely enjoyed making them. I am looking forward to repeating the experience soon. :)

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