For food writers, flavour trends are a double-edged sword. Write about one as it is emerging and you are relevant and intuitive. Write about a trend once it has been around long enough to infiltrate fast food menus, and you are so pedestrian and last year. Take pumpkin spice, for example. This fall flavour trend burst onto the scene and our palates about 10 years ago, mostly thanks to a certain coffee chain and a certain latte. Every September it comes back and crowds line up for a heavy dose of pumpkin spice indulgence while food writers scratch their heads, increasingly questioning the relevance of pumpkin spice while increasingly churning out fresh, new pumpkin spice content.
Well, I'm a real home cook making real food for my real family, and since I don't have to concern myself too much with being trendy on this blog, I have only this to say about pumpkin spice:
I freaking love pumpkin spice. It's delicious.
Relevant or repetitious, I don't care. I'll take pumpkin spice any way I can get it. In fact, I just bought some foam hand soap in pumpkin spice scent, and I'll be open and honest with you, I got more than one bottle. This passion is not fading. I would put money on it that 10 years from now I'll still love pumpkin spice. Not because it's trendy and not because it's cool, but because pumpkin combined with the Big Four - cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves - is just darn delicious.
These moist and flavourful muffins are made with whole wheat flour, canned pumpkin and those Big Four spices I love to love. So, grab the recipe below and get baking them in your own oven, and let's pumpkin spice the heck out of ourselves until spring.
Makes 12 muffins
1 can (425 g/15 oz) pure pumpkin
3/4 cup (175 mL) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) whole wheat flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cloves
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 cup (60 mL) raw pumpkin seeds (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375°F/190°C. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, egg and brown sugar and beat until well blended. Pour in the butter and beat again until blended.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing just until moistened.
Scoop the batter into a well-greased (or lined with parchment cups) muffin pan. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds evenly on top of the batter, if using. Bake in the centre of the oven for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
What's your favourite way to enjoy pumpkin spice?