One part of accepting that it is indeed fall can be a good thing—embracing the flavors of the season with their spicy, cinnamon-y, pumpkin-y goodness. Orange veggies, such as pumpkin, are delicious, of course, but also some of the healthiest things you can eat, packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals. Pumpkin, which belongs to the same gourd family as cucumbers, squash, and melons, is high in fiber and a good source of beta-carotene (vitamin A), and potassium. So a tasty sweet muffin made with pumpkin is almost health food, right?
The crowning glory on these moist sweet pumpkin muffins is their crunchy pecan and brown sugar topping that is reminiscent of New Orleans pralines, notes cookbook author Marie Simmons, who contributed this recipe to Real Food. She guarantees if you leave these sitting out they’ll disappear quickly—to fight this trend she often stashes a few in the freezer (packed individually in freezer bags) for another day.
Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Praline Topping
Pecan Praline topping
1⁄3 c. all purpose flour
1⁄3 c. packed light brown sugar
3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄2 tsp. coarse salt
1 can (16 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
3⁄4 c. packed light brown sugar
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
Pecan Praline Topping: Pulse the flour and brown sugar in a food processor until blended. With motor running, gradually add the butter, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture is crumbly. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the pecans and blend with fingertips or fork. Set aside.
Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil or butter 12 large muffin cups.
Batter: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt; stir to blend. Set aside.
Pulse the pumpkin, brown sugar, melted butter, and eggs in food processor until well blended. Pour over the flour mixture in the bowl. Gently fold with a rubber spatula until blended. Do not beat or over mix.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Dividing evenly, press 1 rounded tablespoon of the Pecan Praline Topping onto the tops of each of the muf- fins. Bake 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Cool on wire rack before serving.
Nutrition info (per serving) Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Praline Topping: Calories 321 (41 from fat); Fat 15 g (sat. 6g); Chol 56 mg; Sodium 270mg; Carb 43g; Fiber 3g; Protein 5g