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The word for muffin comes from the French word moufflet, meaning soft; the word could also be Old German, muffen, meaning small cake. Muffins, in general, have a history going back to 10th-century Wales. The American type dates to the 18th century when pearlash, a rising agent, was created, producing carbon dioxide gas in dough. Muffins came into popular use in the 1950s when packaged ingredients for muffins were produced.

Here are some special recipes that are fun to make.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

12 muffins

This recipe caught my eye in the online Food & Wine column because of the whole wheat flour and rolled oats, which produce a unique flavor different from cupcake-like pumpkin muffins. I offer a pareve substitute as well.

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ⅔ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • ½ t. ground ginger
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk (coconut, oat, soy, almond milk for pareve)
  • 1 T. cider vinegar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 T. unsalted melted and cooled butter (or pareve margarine)
  • 2 large eggs

Topping

  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 T. unsalted melted butter (or pareve margarine)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick baking spray.

In a food processor, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and ginger. Pulse for 10 seconds.

Add pumpkin puree, marmalade, buttermilk or substitute, vinegar and vanilla. Pulse several times to combine. Add oil, butter or margarine and pulse to combine, about 10 seconds.

In a small bowl, combine oats, sugar and butter or margarine for topping.

Fill prepared pan with heaping 3 tablespoons-size scoops of batter. Sprinkle on oat topping. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes then place on a rack to cool completely.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Microwave Pumpkin Muffins

18-24 muffins

This came from a 1993 National Jewish Post & Opinion newspaper from Indianapolis and is pareve.

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup mashed cooked or canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 t. cinnamon

Line muffin pan with paper cups.

In a bowl, rinse raisins and nuts with boiling water and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, flour and cinnamon. Mix well. If mixture is not moist enough, add a little more oil.

Mix in nuts and raisins. Fill muffin cups no more than half full. Cover with a paper towel. Microwave at 50% for 18-24 minutes, checking periodically to see they do not overbake.  


Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, author, compiler/editor of nine kosher cookbooks and food writer for North American Jewish publications, who lives in Jerusalem where she leads walks of the Jewish food market, Machaneh Yehudah, in English.

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