Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm back! How 'bout some pumpkin?

Oh, hello again dear ones. I've missed you.

I've been back to school, back in California for a bit, back into the busy world of Portland in Fall. The leaves are amazing right now, and I've found myself more than a few times walking through the leaf-strewn parking lot at school thinking about Lemonbasil and how I've missed writing for all of you. I'm not going to make this a big sad post full of excuses for my absence, but let's just say I'm happy to back in the kitchen, cooking with all the amazing things this season has to offer.

I'd like to take the next few weeks to highlight some special recipes that will be featured at the Taste the Place booth at the Portland Farmers Market - I've been asked to gather some recipes to print so market-goers can make their own fall recipe books - we'll provide the binding, covers, and the recipes, and anyone can gather around and compile their books to their own taste preferences, and hopefully come across something new. I'm trying to craft some of my own recipes, in addition to sharing my favorites from my cookbook collection and, of course, all the blogs I worship. I hope you enjoy my spins on classic fall flavors!

First up, the pumpkin! This week is all about the orange guy - acorn, butternut, and delicata will all have their turns, but Halloween is coming this Friday and I'm going to make the most of the October-est of squashes.

Yes, fall means the smells of pumpkin pie, complete with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and chocolate. Wait. Chocolate? Yes. Chocolate. I've had some pumpkin puree sitting in the fridge for a bit, and was craving something chocolate-y. You know what I mean. So I opened the cupboards and found some odds and ends that might make a yummy, healthy treat. These Pumpkin Pecan Cocoa Muffins are made with 100% whole wheat flour, sweetened (partly) with honey, and are ready in no time. The pumpkin puree keeps them so amazingly moist - I even stirred them a bit too much (or, rather, let my lovely stand mixer, Julia, stir them a bit too much) and they still came out tender and delicious.

Thanks for reading, and come back soon for more of the best of this season's best ingredients. Eat well!

Pumpkin Pecan Cocoa Muffins
(makes 12-15 full sized muffins, depending on size - and how much of the batter you eat)
1/2 cup Pecan Halves or Pieces
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup organic sugar (white or brown, whatever you have) plus a bit more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (more or less - I used a bit more - find out how to make your own here)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans on baking sheet and set in warming oven - don't forget them! They'll be toasted by the time you need to mix them in. Spray your muffin pans, use paper liners, or those fancy silicone baking cups (love them - they're reusable and theres much less cleanup!)

In the bowl of your stand mixer or with a large bowl with a whisk, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and cocoa. Add pumpkin, eggs, oil, honey into the same bowl (you could beat them separately - but I just threw them into the mix and it worked really well). Mix until just combined, and stir in pecans. Spoon into muffin cups to your preferred amount - I like mine almost full. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar - it won't seem to do much to the look of the uncooked batter, but when their baked they look so pretty - you can really see a difference.

Bake for about 20 minutes - they should spring back when lightly pressed in the tops. Enjoy!


  1. I work for bass pecan company we are having a pecan recipe contest. Enter in a chance to win $1000 at our website

  2. Yum. I love chocolate and zucchini together, and I love both pumpkin and chocolate, so I know I'd love these.

  3. Pumpkin....everyone in the northern hemisphere is talking/posting/eating pumpkin. I've never actually had the pumpkin that you guys rave about so much. I know, please feel sorry for me. Apparently we don't grow them here, but I recently saw a crate of them at the local market. But then I thought, 'what am I gonna do with them?' Now I know!!

  4. Ah ha! I've been trolling the web looking for a recipe which will serve as a fitting end for my Halloween pumpkin, "Frank". Frank is currently in suspended animation in my freezer. But not for long! Thanks. ~c