Pumpkin-Cornbread Muffins

I made these pumpkin muffins today with my little guy. He is hesitant to try new foods but seems to enjoy baking so I am making an effort to include him in the kitchen. Today’s challenge for him was looking at the pumpkin when I opened the can of puree. He was not impressed and told me that he didn’t like to eat orange food. Guess what, he still emptied the pumpkin into the bowl and, even better, he ate every last crumb of his muffin when it came out of the oven. For us, that is what I’d call a success!

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup milk
1 c all purpose flour
2/3 c sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 /4 c pumpkin puree (this is purely pumpkin, nothing added, NOT the pie mix)
Pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon or any other spice you’d like to use

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. I chose to use the convection option on my oven. I find at our altitude of one mile above sea level that convection gives me a better shot at the recipe turning out well. In some instances I add more flour and decrease the sugar, as recommended by high altitude bakers, but today I made this according to the recipe and had no trouble.

Lightly grease the pans. I experimented a bit and tried two mini muffin pans and a regular size muffin pan. I used muffin liners (thanks, Mom, for bringing me those on your last visit!) and also tried one mini muffin pan without liners. I continue to think of baking as a lesson in science for me and was interested to see which trial turned out the best.

Combine the cornmeal and milk and allow to stand for 15 minutes. This seemed to hydrate the cornmeal. After the waiting period the cornmeal and milk mixture was gloppy and much thicker.

Combine the flour, sugar, spices, and baking powder.

Mix all the ingredients together, adding the egg, oil, and pumpkin puree. Stir until combined and then fill your muffin tins. I tend to fill the tins about half way full so that the muffins don’t have a chance to rise too much and bake over the edges. Believe me, I’ve over-filled many a time and then struggle to get the muffins out of the tins.

Bake mini muffins for 15 minutes

Bake regular muffins for 20-25 (I think mine came out right at 23 minutes)

I was surprised to see the difference in my mini muffins. Those with the muffin liners did not rise as much. When I took the muffins out of the liners, the muffins did not come out cleanly. It’s possible I should have let them cool a bit longer. The mini muffins without the liners really turned out nicely. They rose just enough to have that domed shape we look for in muffins but not so much that they baked over the edges. An added bonus: the muffins spilled out of the pan without any hesitation. Perfect!

As one last bit of fun, we put the extra batter into these lovely animal shapes that my mother-in-law had sent to me to encourage the kids to spend more time in the kitchen. Today we used the bee and the dragonfly. Surprise- they turned out great! I can see these as a fun way to make cupcakes for kids’ birthdays; decorating them with icing would make them come alive.

Source: A friend shared this recipe with me. She originally found it on this website (but don’t let the “baby food” name keep you from making these. Every age can enjoy this muffin! http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com

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