Cooking Corner: Spice Pumpkin Brownie Muffins

The warm spices and chocolatey goodness makes pumpkin brownie muffins the perfect fall treat. These muffins will impress all your friends with little effort on your part. The muffins take about thirty minutes to make and fifty minutes to bake. First combine the dry ingredients including the flour (2 cups), baking powder (1 tsp), salt (½ tsp), cinnamon (1 tsp), cayenne (¼ tsp) and nutmeg (¼ tsp). Then heat the chocolate (6 oz) and butter (1 stick) on the stove at medium heat, by putting them in a bowl over a boiling pot of water. Keep stirring the chocolate and butter to keep from burning and make sure they don’t get too hot. Next comes the sugar (1 ¾ cup), eggs (4 large), vanilla extract (1 tbs) and oil (¼ cup), mix these with a blender for approximately five minutes till fluffy, if you don’t have a blender some good ol’ elbow grease and a whisk will do the trick too, it may just take a little longer. After the sugar, eggs and oil are a light yellow slowly add the dry ingredients. After their thoroughly combined split the batter into two bowls and add the stars of the show to each. In one bowl add the warm chocolate and butter concoction and to the other bowl of batter add the pumpkin (1 ¼ cup.)

The batter can be made into muffins or brownies, but everyone knows muffins are much cuter and delicious than a brownie. Use a nonstick pan or butter a tray to keep them from sticking. To get the oh-so impressive marble appearance add a little of the pumpkin batter and then a little of the chocolate batter alternating till desired muffin size is reached (the muffins rise quite a bit so it is recommended that you fill the muffin tin halfway with batter.) For the final touch, sprinkle chopped hazelnuts (or almonds) and white chocolate chips if you’re really feeling spiffy. Finally comes the hardest part, baking the muffins for an entire fifty minutes (in oven at 350°.) This time seems like forever with the warm aroma of the muffins filling your home, but it must be done.

These muffins are tasty and their smell is so taunting they caused a few of my friends to go against their morals, stealing the muffins from a well covered and labeled platter. One friend, Erica French, said “It was the most delicious muffin I’ve ever had.”

This recipe is simple for something with so much flavor and so delicious. The only areas the muffins aren’t perfect in are the health and nutrition wise they are little much. Try to make the muffins on the smaller side to avoid excessive portions of sugar. The muffins could also be made a little more healthy by substituting applesauce for some of the sugar and whole wheat flour or ground oats instead of the typical all purpose flour. It’s fun to experiment with recipes to find a good balance of tasty and nutritious, but this can also lead to some interesting food. Let your right brain have a little fun and see what you can do with these muffins the next time you’re feeling like you need a little spice in your life.

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