Happy first day of fall! I’m sure most of you aren’t feeling very excited about this change, especially if you reside in New England like I do. The onset of Fall means that sunblock, bathing suits, and flip flops will soon be distant memories and the inevitable snowflakes are lurking just around the corner. In the meantime though I fully intend to take advantage of the crisp cool air, visit my favorite local orchard, and maybe even bake a pie or two. Of course my fondness for fall is probably made possible due to the fact that I’m flying to Florida for an extended dose of sun soaked laziness this week. It’s much easier to get excited about bundling up in scarves and mittens when you know you have an upcoming date with a frozen rum soaked concoction and a chaise lounge in 48-hours.
Beach retreat or not, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the changing seasons than with a spicy pumpkin muffin topped with a subtle orange icing. This substantial snack is the perfect way to ready yourself for the pumpkin flavored onslaught that is bound to take place over the next few weeks. Are you ready for the pumpkin?
Orange Frosted Pumpkin Muffins (originally published in A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash by Lou Seibert Pappas)
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup pumpkin or winter squash purée, canned or homemade
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup golden raisins
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, and molasses. Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat until creamy. Add the pumpkin and eggs and beat until smooth. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture along with the raisins and mix just until incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each almost to the rim, and smooth the tops. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly, then turn the muffins out and let cool compltely in their liners on the rack.
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons butter melted
1 tablespoon thawed orange juice concentrate
In a small bowl, beat together the confectioners’ sugar, butter, and orange juice concentrate. Spread over the cooled muffins. Serve at room temperature. Note: I really wanted my icing to be orange tinted so I added one drop of yellow and red food coloring to the mixture.