Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Pepitas

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

It pains me to be the voice of reason during Pumpkin Baking Week, but after our endeavor into the sordid world of Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes I feel morally obligated to include at least one recipe that can be passed off as vaguely good for you.

These Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Pepitas from Paula Disbrowe's Cowgirl Cuisine are good for you—the flour is whole wheat and they are sweetened with molasses and dried dates—but the best part about these muffins is that they don't taste like health food. Not being the biggest fan of dates, I was shocked to see how much I enjoyed the rich little nuggets that speckle these muffins; they added an earthy caramel-like sweetness, and chewiness. But to counter the whole wheat flour called for, I decided to add a sprinkle of demerara sugar to the walnuts and pumpkin seeds so that they candied slightly in the baking process. It worked out beautifully; the muffins ended up with sparkly crust that was sweet, nutty, and perfectly caramelized.

Disbrowe is a city girl at heart who moved to a ranch in Texas with her husband a few years ago and transformed her cooking style to match. These muffins say it all—they are hearty enough for hungry cowboys (and girls), but the flavors remain refined enough for coffee shop frequenting city folk.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have a copy of Cowgirl Cuisine to give away this week.

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