This is the first year I'll be making Halloween treats for a classroom and I don't want to send something overloaded with sugar. My son and I settled on pumpkin muffins and I thought of an easy tag idea that he could participate in.
We've been making our way through pumpkin muffin recipes (as always, he's more than willing to be a helper), looking for the right balance of sweetness and a muffin that's moist, not oily. Here's the winner for us, an adaptation from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread. They're perfect for breakfast or a snack and a nice alternative to all of the candy coming your way this month.
(Makes 24-30 cupcake size muffins)
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 2/3 cups pumpkin puree
2 1/2 cups sugar
Zest of 1 small orange
7 ounces water
4 1/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Turbinado sugar to sprinkle on tops of muffins
1. Position one rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter with the eggs. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and sugar. Stir the orange zest into the water then add to the pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt and whisk together.
4. Pour the dry ingredients onto the liquid ingredients and fold in gently until combined, being careful not to overmix.
5. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack and let them cool completely.
**If you'd like to freeze some of them, remove the paper liners, wrap in plastic, then wrap in foil.
Using a stamp pad, make a thumbprint pumpkin on a hanging tag. Let it dry for a few minutes, then draw on features with a fine-tipped black marker. Add string (we used Divine Twine) and tie it around the muffin.