Cook This: Cheddar Pumpkin Muffins from Baked Explorations
Yes, you read that correctly. When I saw this recipe in the new cookbook from the Baked boys, Baked Explorations, I couldn’t wait to try it. If you are unfamiliar with Baked, then I feel sorry for you. Baked is an excellent bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn started by two Southern fellows. They returned to their roots a couple years ago and opened up a shop in Charleston, SC as well.
With treats like sweet and salty brownies, PB Krispy bars, brewers blondies, rosemary-apricot bars, lemondrop cupcakes, monster cookies, and various whoopie pies, you really can’t go wrong with anything you buy there. And with their two cookbooks (Baked and the aforementioned Baked Explorations) and brand new brownie mixes, you can recreate many of their confections at home! I’ve made the brewer’s blondies, classic brownies, pumpkin whoopie pies, and rosemary-apricot bars, among others. And they were all received with rave reviews. (By “received” I mean gobbled up and by “rave reviews” I mean silence as people stuffed their mouths followed by a satisfied “yummmm”)
The pumpkin cheddar muffins were no different. These are the perfect combination of sweet and savory, and they actually have a bit of a kick to them, thanks to generous amount of cayenne and black pepper. I like eating a savory pumpkin item–it’s very different than the usual recipes loaded with cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. The pumpkin puree allows these muffins to stay nice and moist and these babies were gone so fast I should have doubled the recipe. I really didn’t make any adjustments to the recipe, so without further ado:
1 cup pumpkin puree (you can freeze the remainder if you are using a can–just stick it in a Ziploc bag with all the air removed)
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (about 4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas), optional
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 12-cup muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and sour cream. Add the eggs and butter and whisk until combined.
2. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper and brown sugar. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well, and fold until just combined. Fold in three-quarters of the cheese.
3. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and the pumpkin sees on top of the muffins. Bake them for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the muffin pan cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out the muffins. Serve them warm. Makes 12 muffins.