Ginger Pumpkin Muffins

There is an old saying: To be a successful gardener, grow pumpkins. With this truth, you need only one thing to produce pumpkins: seeds!

Pumpkins require at least 8 hours of sunlight each day and adequate space for the sprawling vines. Sow seeds directly into the soil about 4 weeks after the last frost to give the soil enough time to warm up to 60 to 70 degrees.

In colder climates, seeds can be started indoors to get a head start on the season. Cover the seeds with about an inch of loosely packed soil. Water gently. Pumpkin seeds generally take 7 to 14 days to germinate.

Pumpkins require at least 2 to 3 gallons of water each week. Make sure to water the root system only and avoid the rest of the plant to keep fungal problems at bay. Most pumpkin varieties require 110 to 150 days to mature. Enjoy the pumpkin season!

Ginger Pumpkin Muffins

5-1/2 tablespoons minced
crystallized ginger

1/2 cup dried currants or raisins

2 tablespoons brandy

2 cups sifted unbleached
all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt


3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cooked pumpkin puree or canned solid pack pumpkin

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large egg whites

1 large egg

3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

1/2 cup unsulfured (light) molasses

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line 16 1/3-cup muffin cups with paper liners. Mix 2-1/2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, currants and brandy in small bowl.

Sift flour, ground ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Whisk pumpkin puree, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and egg in large bowl until foamy. Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar; beat until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in molasses and oil. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin mixture in 3 additions each. Stir in currant mixture.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

Mix 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over muffins.

Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool on rack.

Makes 16.