Written by Karin Reeves of Reeves Farms
This is the time of year when things start to slow down a little on the farm: We’re done harvesting all of our vegetables with the exception of some pumpkins and winter squash. This means that we finally have a little time to do some cooking and baking. I’ve always enjoyed baking more than cooking. It’s nice to mix up a bunch of ingredients, pop a pan in the oven and wait to see how it come out. These pumpkin muffins are great because they’re really versatile. They can be used for a dessert, breakfast or tasty snack.
We have tons of pumpkins and squash around the house this time of year. I usually spend a few hours on a rainy fall day baking up squash and pumpkins and turning them into puree to freeze for the winter. Everyone in our family is a pumpkin and squash fan including the cat (it’s strange but he loves butternut squash). For the pumpkin piece of this recipe I have used a lot of different things – pie pumpkins, butternut squash or even buttercup squash. They all work well so use whatever you like best. This recipe can also be a good way to use up leftover squash you made for dinner.
Start by making the pumpkin puree, which is much easier than you might think.
First cut the stem off the pumpkin or squash you have decided to use. Then cut in half and scoop out the seeds (I like to save the seeds to roast later.) Place on a baking sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. You will know they are done when you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork. Allow to cool for about 20 mins or until its cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh leaving the skin behind. Put all the pumpkin flesh in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash up the chunks of pumpkin with a potato masher or a fork. You will need one heaping cup of puree for this recipe. Depending on the size of the pumpkin or squash you are working with you will probably have more puree than you need. You can freeze it for later or you can easily double this recipe to use up more puree.
Reeves Family Pumpkin Muffins
1 ¾ cups flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 heaping cup of pumpkin or squash puree
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Place paper liners in a muffin tin or grease tin using a paper towel with a little vegetable oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Make sure brown sugar is broken up so there are no chunks of sugar in the batter.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, oil, milk and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold together gently until just combined
Scoop batter into muffin tins so that each cup is about ¾ full
Bake for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a muffin
Let muffins cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan
You can serve immediately or let muffins cool completely before storing in an airtight container
Yield: about 18 medium size muffins.
This muffin recipe is a great base for trying some variations and experimenting a little. You can add ½ cup raisins or walnuts to add some more interesting textures. For an extra rich dessert, sometimes I frost the muffins with cream cheese frosting or add a ½ cup of chocolate chips to the recipe. Enjoy!
Written by Sara Lilkas
Fall has become synonymous with pumpkin season, for reasons far beyond the classic Jack-O-Lantern! I think it’s fair to say that today’s consumer is seriously pumped-up about pumpkin! From pumpkin flavored drinks and baked goods, to pumpkin ice cream and scented candles, there is no shortage of this fall-favorite flavor!
Pumpkins are great for decorating or even eating! Have you ever baked pumpkin seeds after carving a pumpkin for Halloween They’re delicious and super easy! Simply separate the seeds from the meat of the pumpkin, put them on a greased cookie sheet, add some salt and bake at 300° F for about 45 minutes or until golden brown!
Pumpkins do not have to be limited to the spooky happenings surrounding Halloween either. They can also be used for your seasonal fall and Thanksgiving decorating. Pumpkins can be hollowed out and used as vases or they look great painted with stencils, glitter, or monograms to fit in with the rest of your decorations.
I’m a huge fan of adding pumpkin to everything possible the months of September-November, and if it spills over into December a little bit that’s fine too. (I would eat pumpkin year round if it was available!) I love adding pumpkin to pancakes, waffles, bread (for toast), and muffins. I found that learning to cook and bake is a lot more fun when attempting to make foods that I really enjoy. This year I decided to try and make pumpkin muffins instead of purchasing them like I normally do. I tried this recipe
here and they turned out great! Plus, you get the added bonus of the apartment smelling amazing when baking muffins fresh at home!
Now the only thing better than pumpkin would be the addition of chocolate. My next baking attempt will have to be Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
. Brownies are my go-to favorite baked good regardless of the season, but adding pumpkin to the mix will probably result in me eating the whole batch, by myself, in one sitting, it’s fine.
My pumpkin obsession has grown with time and age, since now there are also many varieties of pumpkin flavored beer! It seems that almost every brewery, no matter how large or small, puts out a pumpkin flavored beer for the fall. Each variety uses its own unique blend of spices to bring out the pumpkin flavor, so it’s exciting to try the different varieties and discover the many flavors! Two of my favorites are the Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale and Magic Hat’s Wilhelm Scream. As always, please enjoy responsibly!
What are your favorite pumpkin flavored treats? Leave a comment below! Written by Molly Zingler, New York Apple Association
With so many great-tasting apple varieties available this time of year, it is possible to snack on a different flavor every day for weeks – if not months! New York growers produce more apple varieties than any other state, so when you’ve had your fill of fresh fruit then start baking with them.
You turned off your oven for the summer, so now that fall is here let’s ease back into baking gently. First, here are our tips to lay the foundation – crust, if you will – for the best baking experience:
- Make the right choice: All apple varieties are not created equally. Choose varieties that are recommended for baking. Which means never choosing Red Delicious.
- Make the hard choice: Select apples that are firm to the touch and aren’t bruised. Handle them gently to prevent blemishes.
- Just say no to the fruit bowl: Refrigerated apples last much longer than room-temperature ones.
- Pucker up to prevent browning: To keep apple slices and dices from browning before baking, bathe them in a mixture of half lemon juice, half water – or 100 percent apple juice fortified with vitamin C. (Lemon juice = citric acid = vitamin C.)
- Get mixed up: When making a pie, crisp, slump, betty, crumble, or any other baked goodie that calls for sliced or diced apples, use a blend of sweet and tart apple varieties for balanced flavor.
- Dress for success: Most of the apple’s health benefits are in the peel, so leave it on.
Now let’s bake something!
The pinnacle of baking with apples is the two-crust apple pie, but that can also be daunting for many bakers. If you don’t feel ready to tackle a two-cruster, start with a crostada. This rustic, free-form pastry tastes just as good as its more formal cousin. We’ve made it even easier by calling for a ready-made crust.
When you’re ready to move up to a two-crust pie, find that recipe (and many others) at www.nyapplecountry.com/recipes.
For our advice on which varieties are best for baking, visit www.nyapplecountry.com/apple-country-useage-chart.
Apple Walnut Crostada
- 1 refrigerated/ready−made piecrust
- cooking spray
- 6 or 7 baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup all−purpose flour
- dash of vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Place apple slices, sugar, walnuts, flour and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and toss well.
Transfer piecrust to baking sheet. Spoon apple mixture into center of piecrust and fold up sides of pastry to capture apples and juices. Dot with butter. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serves 8.
Each serving contains 320 calories, 51 g carbohydrate, (4 g fiber), 2 g protein, 14 g fat, (5 g saturated fat), 10 mg cholesterol, and 125 mg sodium.
Photo credit: U.S. Apple Association, www.usapple.org.
About Molly Zingler
Molly comes by her apple props honestly. In addition to being marketing director for New York Apple Association, she grew up in New York Apple Country and recently married a New York state apple grower.
About New York Apple Association, Inc.
A nonprofit agricultural trade association based in Fishers, N.Y., NYAA represents the state’s commercial apple growers. The association supports profitable growing and marketing of New York apples through increasing demand for apples and apple products, representing the industry at state and federal levels, and serving as the primary information source on New York apple-related matters. For more information, visit www.nyapplecountry.com.