I'm sure you've tasted many pumpkin breads, but I must say, this recipe is the best one. It's based on a recipe I stumbled upon a couple of years ago and modified for my classes. It quickly became a favorite at Fiddleheads.
As always, the children can help measure ingredients, mix, line the muffins pan with liners and scoop the batter with the ice cream scooper; but the most fun part of the process will arrive when you are all waiting for the muffins to bake. During those long 10-15 minutes, you can work on the spice exploration craft we've shared in the past. It's a fun way to get to know spices like cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg, and learn how to tell them apart. I often play smelling games with my students at our cooking classes, and I can clearly say it is always a hit.
Before we start, I'd like to give you a little tip: although it might be easier to open a can of pureed pumpkin to use in this recipe, I do recommend the fresh version. If you do not have time to cook a whole pumpkin, just use a small butternut squash, cut it into a half, scoop out the seeds and microwave in a large bowl until softened. If you are not a microwave fan, put the whole squash in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. Cooking the pumpkin or squash can be done up to 3 days in advance. You can let the kids scoop the pumpkin flesh out with a spoon and then mash with a fork. In order to reach a smoother consistency, process in a blender or food processor.
Without further ado, here's the recipe:
Mini Pumpkin Bread Muffins
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla 2 cups cup pumpkin, butternut or honey nut squash puree 4 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil, or another vegetable oil 2 cups all purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 cup molasses 1 cup turbinado sugar or coconut sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ginger - optional 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves - optional
Line a 2- 24 - mini muffin pan with paper liners (48 mini muffins total).
In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until frothy white milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan, the butter smells sweet and color is nutty brown; 6 to 9 minutes. Let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together molasses, vanilla, pumpkin or squash purée, eggs and oil. With a spatula, scrape all the brown butter from the skillet into the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine.
In another large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Using a small ice cream scooper, scoop batter into muffin pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days.