Pumpkin Corn Maple Muffins
This recipe might sound a bit stodgy, what with the pumpkin and the cornmeal, but let me tell you that the traditional flavors of the Northeast have never been combined to complement each other so well. Pumpkin is a perfect addition to corn muffins-it doesn't overwhelm with strong color or flavor; it just provides a lot of moistness. And the hint of maple makes you wish the muffins would never end. Cornmeal creates muffins sturdy enough to be good travelers.
vegetable oil spray for misting the pan
2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
3 tablespoons coarse sugar
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°. Mist the bottom of 12 muffin cups with the vegetable oil spray. Set the pan aside.
Place the cornmeal mix, brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir to mix. Make a well in the center. Place the pumpkin, milk, oil, egg, and maple flavoring in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine and break up the egg yolk. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the well of the muffin mix. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon, just until combined, 20 to 25 strokes. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each prepared muffin cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. Sprinkle the coarse sugar on top of the muffins. Place the pan in the oven.
Bake the muffins until they are lightly golden and just spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the muffins, lift them up from the bottom of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. The muffins are ready to serve.
Store these muffins, in a cake saver or under a glass dome, at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze them, wrapped in aluminum foil or in a cake saver, for up to 6 months. Thaw the muffins overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Use coarse decorating sugar or turbinado sugar, which is a coarse, raw, tan-colored sugar, on top of these muffins for a fun, finishing crunch.