First, thank you all a billion times for participating in last week's festivities; I certainly had a blast!
Kate won the Halftime Competition, so in addition to a week's victory, she also was granted the right to select our next ingredient. She did a very good job giving herself the upperhand; she must have known that I am not a cayenne person and that this week would be a challenge! :)
Unfortunately, I must once again present you with a very mediocre photo. I brought my baby, uhh I mean my camera, to be fixed after its little tumble, and it's not yet ready. Bummer, too, because I was really hoping to have it for Ryan's pirate party this weekend. Arrrgh.
Don't let this crappy picture fool you; I LOVE these little muffins! I had no idea what to make with the use of cayenne, so I visited my friend Google; these spicy pumpkin carrot muffins from Fancy Pants Foodie popped up. I really wasn't sure about them at first, but I figured I'd give them a shot, and I am glad I did. The flavor in these guys is just unbelievable. I actually took some liberties with the title because I wanted the name of these muffins to truly harness the fact that they really embody so many fall flavors.
If you are really hesitant about the cayenne, it can easily be omitted. I did leave it off of about half because I was afraid Ryan wouldn't eat them otherwise. Both versions were equally fantastic!
These will go very quickly - not just during your football games, but also during Thanksgiving or any event this autumn.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter @ room temp
- 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 2/3 c. molasses, unsulphured
- 2 eggs, beaten, @ room temp
- 14 oz. can pumpkin (or equivalent amount cooked, pureed pumpkin)
- 1-3.5 oz. container carrot baby food (or equivalent amount cooked, pureed carrot)
- 3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 c. dried cranberries, raisins or currants
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne powder (smoked if you have it)
- cinnamon sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If using fresh, cooked pumpkin, strain puree for at least 30 minutes in cheesecloth or a wire sieve.
In a standing mixer, cream the butter at medium-high speed until soft and lightened in color.
Add molasses and 1 1/2 c. of the brown sugar, beating until combined and light in texture.
Add the eggs, pumpkin and carrot, and mix on medium speed until blended.
In a separate bowl or on a flexible cutting board, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into wet ingredients and gently fold together, being careful not to overmix.
Fold in the cranberries, raisins or currants.
Using a spoon or large disher (what I used), fill muffin cups three-quarters full. Sprinkle muffins with cinnamon sugar and with cayenne to taste.
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.