Last Fall we evidently had hard freezes in many parts of the country significantly earlier than is usual. Of course I don’t recall this happening, but I can’t recall my own cell phone number most of the time (hey, I don’t call it!). Anyway, the result is that there was not a large enough pumpkin harvest to can the usual amount of pumpkin last Fall, so now we have no canned pumpkin. There evidently hasn’t been canned pumpkin in the stores for several months, but I didn’t notice it because I don’t use pumpkin in the Spring and Summer. So don’t go to your local grocery store and ask for canned pumpkin. They don’t have it, they haven’t had it for months, and they’re getting REALLY tired of telling people that.
So here are your options: Buy a real pumpkin (this year’s crop is OK so far) and cut it open, scoop out the seeds, scrape the edible part off, and cook it in some fashion. I can’t give you any details about this option because I have no intention of doing it. It’s messy and WAY too much trouble to get what I need. OR you can use sweet potatoes. Just buy a couple of sweet potatoes, poke them with a fork, and zap them in the microwave. Push the “potato” button – works like a charm. Then when they’ve cooled a bit slice them open and scoop out enough to use in your favorite pumpkin recipe. Two medium sweet potatoes yield about one cup.
Don’t have a favorite pumpkin recipe? Well, let me share my new-found favorite. I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Donut Muffins on StrawBerryCAKE and after I wiped the drool off my keyboard I went in search of pumpkin. That’s what started this whole thing. Other than the pumpkin – sweet potato substitution I did make a couple more changes to make these more “muffin” than “donut” (I’m trying to eat healthier, really I am!), so here’s exactly what I did:
(makes 18 muffins)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground clove
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup Crisco
slightly more than 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup cooked sweet potato (2 med)
Mix Crisco, sugar, and eggs.
Mix all dry ingredients separately.
Alternate adding portions of dry mixture and buttermilk to sugar mixture until fully blended.
Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 cup full and bake for 20-25 minutes.
While muffins are baking melt 1/2 stick butter and set aside.
Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon and set aside.
Remove muffins to cooling rack while still hot.
Brush tops of muffins with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
My picky eleven-year-old ate these things like they were Krispy Kreme donuts. And I have to admit, they were pretty wonderful. GREAT texture – I think it’s the Crisco.