Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins

Sweet and savory.
Salty and spicy.
Cheesy and pumpkin-y.
Yes. You heard that right. Pumpkin. IN APRIL. Go ahead and shoot me.
This is my dream muffin.
But really, pumpkin in spring time for me, is that really such a surprise? If I could have it my way, I would make it autumn every day. Autumn every day is my idea of a utopia. Baking something with pumpkin in it every day is my idea of a utopia. Combining pumpkin with cheddar cheese, cayenne, black pepper, and brown sugar is my idea of a utopia (muffin).
In my defense, at least 8 lonely, neglected cans of pureed pumpkin have been in my stockpile since last fall, and they called my name.
My father called me out on the can of pumpkin puree sitting on the kitchen counter this evening as I was gathering my ingredients to make these. “Yeah, so?” “It’s not Halloween!”, he exclaimed. “Hah, dad, you should know me by now. I’m the pumpkin queen! Is it really that much of a surprise?” Didn’t think so.
Um, so, yeah, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito have done it again. I’m quite impressed. You make any recipe out of a bakery baking book and it’s pretty much bound to be bomb. I can’t wait to make these again and again and again. K, thanks guys.

Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins

adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
makes 12 muffins

1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (about 4 oz) grated sharp cheddar
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with a little bit of vegetable spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and yogurt. Add the eggs and butter and whisk until combined.
In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and brown sugar. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well, and fold until just combined. Fold in three-quarters of the cheese.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and pumpkin seeds on top of the muffins. Bake them for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the muffin pan cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing the muffins. Serve them warm or reheat later!
Surprisingly I found these to be quite a delectable fare alongside a scoop of “old tyme” vanilla ice cream and some sliced strawberries. Just sayin’. That’s what I ended up doing with mine and I thought it was the shit. They would also probably do pretty well alongside some creamy tomato bisque or something of that nature… this is better than that grilled cheese sandwich. A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER.

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