This is one of those seasonal recipes, that you start to crave around September | October time frame. These Pumpkin Hazelnut Muffins have a tender crumb, full of pumpkin flavor, along with the spices that enhance the monotone essence of the winter squash while being very moist and satisfying.
Here are a few of my thoughts and checkboxes I wanted to have, making these muffins stand out, better than store-bought and to become a Traditional in the baking spirit:
- Toasted hazelnuts are ground into a nut flour while mixing with a lovely blend of Fall spices. This adds to the wonderful texture while adding to the earthy, nutty flavors found in the pumpkin purée.
- Not gummy, as some baked products containing pumpkin can be dense, heavy, almost sticky.
- Finding balance, being slightly sweet, not clogging. Using a blend of light & dark sugars adds depth while being just sweet enough, with the ratio. Maple sugar could be replaced to add enhance the Autumn element.
- Bright flavors, using fresh, some grated into the bowl spices. Having a good blend of flavors, while not overdoing it, resulting in a spiced muffin, not a pumpkin hazelnut muffin. Also adding some fresh orange | citrus zest, adding a touch of acid, and brightening the flavors.
- Thinking about the final flavor, I wanted to add that extra pop, that savory yet sweet element, that fermented twang; miso. While optional, the addition of white miso to baked goods is something I’ve been playing with and enjoying the results.
- Using buttermilk | sour cream | Mexican crème | crème fraîche | yogurt aides in the finished texture of the baked good. The dairy in these formats coats the flour, helps prevent gluten forming while helping keep them moist for a day or two.
This thought process helped identify the ingredients used, why they are added, and what they help achieve in the finished muffin. With the testing of this recipe, these were the things that were adjusted and tweaked to get that right flavor, texture, sweetness, a balance that a muffin should have.