This week's Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) recipe was chosen by Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp: Pumpkin Muffins. Dorie describes these as having a "moist and tender cakey crumb," with "a gentle spiciness," and a "sprinkling of sunflower seeds across their crowns."
When I saw that this recipe called for sunflower seeds, I immediately knew I wanted to use the chocolate covered sunflower seeds I had on hand. Why did I have chocolate covered sunflower seeds in my pantry? Because of Peabody. Several months ago, when I saw this post on her blog for chocolate covered sunflower seed cookies, I fell in love with the cute little candies. They are from Trader Joe's, and although I live nowhere near a Trader Joe's, I make myself a list of things to get from them whenever I go back to visit my family in California. After seeing them on Peabody's blog, I made sure to pick them up on my last trip to California.
I recently made some pumpkin cookies that, while very delicious, were very blah looking and bland. So I decided to use these chocolate covered sunflower seeds to add a little color and pop to the pictures. After using them in that post, I had a few readers comment that you can also sometimes find something similar at some of your more upscale grocery or specialty stores. So, if you're one of those poor souls who doesn't live near a Trader Joe's (like me), you might not be totally out of luck.
Like most muffin recipes, this one was very simple. I substituted dried cranberries for the raisins (not because I don't like raisins, but just because that's what I had on hand). I don't like nuts, so I omitted the pecans/walnuts from this recipe, instead added more dried cranberries in their place. Some TWD bakers added chocolate chips as well. This is a highly adaptable recipe. It's also another great recipe to make when you have a little leftover canned pumpkin, as it calls for 3/4 cup (also make sure you use canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling).
It seems that the opinions about these muffins among the TWD group were mixed, though I think the vast majority of bakers seemed to love them. I was in the minority - I didn't fall in love with them. They were okay, but didn't "wow" me like some of Dorie's other recipes did. I found the pumpkin flavor to be fairly subtle (a plus for those who don't particularly care for pumpkin, I guess). Like the orange berry muffins, I found the crumb to be perfectly moist and tender, but not sweet enough at all. Perhaps they might be better with some orange marmalade or apricot jam to increase the sweet factor, as Dorie suggests.
While these were adorable and fun to photograph, I probably won't be making them again. They were perfect for breakfast now that it's fall, but I just don't see myself ever having a craving for these and baking them. When I want an indulgent pumpkin treat, I'll make the pumpkin cookies instead. Don't let that stop you from trying these, though, because like I said, a lot of others in the group really enjoyed them.
Thanks Kelly, for choosing this week's pick. If you would like the recipe, you can find it here. Make sure you visit the TWD Blog Roll to see what everyone else thought of this fall treat. For those who have been on the fence about joining Tuesdays with Dorie - you have until October 31st to join. I've really enjoyed baking my way through this book with the group, and would encourage anyone who is interested to join now. After the end of this month, membership in the group will be closed.
*A few recipe notes:
- I used dried cranberries instead of raisins. I also added 3/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup.
- I used a dark metal muffin pan and my muffins were finished baking after 22 minutes instead of the full 25 minutes indicated. Some bakers found that their muffins were done as early as 17 minutes.
- I used chocolate covered sunflower seeds instead of raw sunflower seeds on top.
- Wrapped airtight, these can be frozen for up to 2 months. Rewarm in a 350F oven, or split and toast the muffins before serving.
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