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I’ve been really into comfort foods and “fall” foods ever since the weather started getting cold.

This is one of my favorite ways to use up all the pumpkin puree that I’ve got from our garden.  Canned puree would work as well.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Printable PDF here: Pumpkin Spice Muffins)

2 cups flour (sometimes I use half whole wheat, half white)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin, canned or fresh (instructions for homemade pumpkin puree follow)

Stir together all dry ingredients.  Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.  Blend in the pumpkin.  Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Grease a 12-muffin tin and pour batter into pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes in pans, then remove and cool on rack.

If you’ve ever wondered why most quick breads say to cool in the pan a few minutes, and then remove to a rack, it’s because if you try to pry them out of the pan while they’re too hot they might crumble and break, but if you leave them to cool completely in the pan, condensation makes the bottoms soggy.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut your pumpkin in half (or quarters, if it is a really big one).  Place pumpkin, cut side down, in a greased baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.  Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.  Check after 30 minutes, If it is not done, bake another 15 minutes. Add more warm water if it is running dry.

Let the pumpkin cool slightly and then scoop out flesh with a spoon.  Puree in a blender.  If the pumpkin is very watery, line a colander with a plain cotton (not terry cloth) tea towel or cheesecloth.  Place the pumpkin into the colander and leave for an hour or so (in the sink or with a dish placed underneath) to drain the excess water.

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