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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Espresso Spice Pumpkin Muffins

I really want this pumpkin cakelet pan that I've been eyeing for months, but my better sense tells me it's too much of a uni-tasker to warrant the storage space needed in my tiny kitchen.  I compromised with two mini-Bundt cakelet pans, which are more versatile, and were on sale.  (You really need two cakelet pans of any sort to bake a standard recipe, and they're EXPENSIVE!!)  I thought I could use this pan to make pumpkin muffins shaped like, well, pumpkins. That was the vision, anyway.  (See my little cream cheese frosting stems?   Ehem.)  Okay, so they don't look like pumpkins.  They're still charming.

This recipe caught my attention because of the espresso powder.  I thought it might add a deeper flavor, somewhat roasty.  They sounded very sweet, though, so I cut the sugar.  I didn't use the topping since the cakelets would be turned upside down.

Here's what I used:

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 ¼ 2/3 cup brown granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons dark molasses
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp butter, melted or very soft
1/4 cup milk (any kind)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly grease and flour two cakelet pans, about 18 depressions, (or a 12-cup muffin tin.)  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, espresso powder, and spices.  In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, and molasses together until well blended. Stir in pumpkin puree and vanilla extract, followed by butter and the spice mixture.  Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing just until everything is combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.  Divide batter evenly into prepared cakelet or muffin cups, filling cakelet depressions only about 2/3 full. Top generously with sugar topping mixture, if using.  Bake for 12-14 minutes for cakelets (18-20 minutes for muffins), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Top cakelets decoratively (but generously -- use more than I did) with cream cheese frosting.  Yield:  about 17 cakelets.

Cinnamon Espresso Sugar Mixture
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp instant coffee or espresso
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Sprinkle generously over muffin batter before baking.

Don't be stingy with the cream cheese -- use more than this.
Conclusion:  These were a nice, modest pumpkin muffin.  The coffee was not a noticeable flavor but I think was a good add, and the spices were just right.  The reduced sugar quantity made them less decadent -- suitable for breakfast -- but if you want something more rich use more sugar.  I baked the cakelets 15-16 minutes, but they were a bit dry, so 12-14 minutes would probably have been adequate.  They also domed a lot, so maybe not the best recipe for the cakelet pan anyway.  (Maybe reduce the temperature??)  I want to try them again as standard muffins with the espresso topping to see if it adds any distinction to the overall flavor.  This is a good, easy, go-to pumpkin muffin recipe.

Recipe:  Espresso Spice Pumpkin Muffins via Baking Bites

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