The other day Clotilde’s post on Chocolate & Zucchini was about corn muffins she had made from a mix. She asked if anyone had from-scratch recipes for corn muffins to recommend. A recipe for Pumpkin Corn Meal Muffins submitted by a reader was really tempting, so I copied it into my recipe software (Living Cookbook). This evening I was having leftover chili for dinner and I thought I’d make the muffins to go with it.
When I had first seen the recipe, all I had really noticed was the pumpkin and whole wheat and I’d thought “ooh -- yummy and healthy!” Looking at it again, though, I noticed it had ½ cup of butter, ¾ cup of brown sugar, and 4 eggs. I went back to Living Cookbook and calculated the nutritional data. Ouch. Each muffin had 248 calories and 10 grams of fat.
Emboldened by a couple of recent successes in modifying and creating recipes, I decided to try my hand with lightening this one. I took the things I liked from the Pumpkin Corn Meal Muffin recipe (pumpkin, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, and spices) and used my regular corn bread recipe as a guide. I was worried about the muffins being too heavy, so I used half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat. I also added a little ginger.
On paper they looked good - 160 calories and 6 grams of fat. Not exactly diet food, but still quite a bit lighter than the original. Now the only question was, had I completely messed up the recipe? I headed down to the kitchen to find out.
I’m happy to report that I got very lucky and came up with something I liked on the first try! They’re only slightly sweet – perfect as an accompaniment to chili. If you want them sweeter, you could increase the sugar or serve them with apple butter or jam.
Pumpkin Corn Meal Muffins
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Heat oven to 400° F. Lightly coat 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable cooking spray.
Whisk together dry ingredients (flours, corn meal, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and cloves) in a large bowl. Use your hands to break up the brown sugar if necessary.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs briefly. Whisk in the oil, then the pumpkin, and finally the milk.
Using a rubber spatula, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until they are blended together.
Spoon the batter into the muffin pan. Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
Pumpkin Corn Meal Muffins