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Sour Cream Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 10 standard or 6 extra-large muffins
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup plus 4 T light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¾ cup pure pumpkin purée
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 T pepitas
A little extra brown sugar for sprinkling, set aside
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
In a second bowl, whisk together the melted butter and measured brown sugar until well combined. Stir in the vanilla extract, pumpkin purée and sour cream. Stir in egg until incorporated into mixture.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Don’t over-mix or your muffins will be too dense.
The batter will be very thick. Spoon in the prepared muffin tin filling each a little more than 2/3 full. Sprinkle some pepitas and a little brown sugar on top of each.
Bake standard muffins for 20 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center. Large muffins will need to bake about 25 minutes.
Let muffins cool slightly. We love serving these warm with some cream cheese or soft butter!
Yields 6 to 7 cups. Serves 6 to 8 people and if being used as an appetizer or first course, simply serve smaller portions to accommodate more people.
2 T olive oil
1 ½ lbs butternut squash. About 5 C peeled and seeded, cut into 1 inch chunks.
1 large onion, cut into large dice
1 T butter
1 large pinch sugar
3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
3 C chicken stock or broth, homemade or from a carton
1 to 1 ½ cups half-and-half
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Garnish: sour cream, pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and/or a sprinkle of fresh herbs such as parsley.
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep sauté pan until shimmering.
Add squash, then onion. Sauté, stirring very little at first, then more frequently, until veggies start to turn golden brown, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add butter, sugar and garlic. Continue cooking until all veggies are a rich spotty caramel color, about 10 minutes longer.
Add spices. Continue to sauté until fragrant, approximately another 30 to 60 seconds.
Add broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.
Using an immersion blender (easiest) or a traditional blender, puree until very smooth, about 1 minute. An immersion blender can be used in the deep sauté pan or if you prefer, transfer soup to a soup pot and complete this process there.
Note: If using a traditional blender, blend no more than two cups at one time. Vent the blender either by removing the lid’s pop-out center or by lifting one edge of the lid. Drape the blender canister with a kitchen towel while blending to avoid any potential mess. To “clean” the canister, pour in a little half-and-half, blend briefly, then add to the soup.
Return soup to sauté pan or soup pot. Add enough half-and-half so the mixture is soup-like, yet thick enough to float garnish. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed.
Heat through on a low to medium heat. Do not bring to a boil! Ladle into bowls. For a more casual atmosphere, mugs work very nicely. Garnish and serve.