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Judith Dunbar Hines prepares her gingerbread pumpkmuffins topped with cream cheese frosting crushed shredded whecandy pumpkins Wednesday October 24 2012.

Judith Dunbar Hines prepares her gingerbread pumpkin muffins, topped with cream cheese frosting, crushed shredded wheat and candy pumpkins on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. | Stacie Scott~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 8, 2012 6:03AM


1 1/4 cups sugar

¼ cup molasses

½ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/3 cup orange juice or water

1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or fresh roasted (see Note)

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground all spice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly use cooking spray on mini muffin tins (or large tins if making standard-sized muffins).

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, molasses, oil and eggs. Beat until smooth. Add liquid and blend. Stir in pumpkin.

In another bowl, combine flour, soda, salt and baking powder and all spices. Stir with a whisk then add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend until all are mixed; do not overmix.

Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin tins. Bake in preheated oven until they test dry in the center, about 14 minutes for mini, 20 minutes for standard size. Cool a few minutes in the pan, then remove carefully to a cooling rack.

Muffins can be baked up to 2 days ahead.

Note: To make fresh puree, rinse off pumpkin, place on a foil-lined baking sheet, roast at 350 degrees for 90 minutes or until tender. Let cool enough to handle, then slice in half, scoop out seeds and stringy pulp.

Peel off the rind. Put the meat into a bowl and mash with potato masher. Scoop into freezer bags in measured portions. Store up to six months in the freezer. One small pumpkin makes about 3 cups puree.

If you want to serve muffins as hors d’oeuvres:

4 ounces soft cream cheese

2 to 3 teaspoons fresh orange juice or milk

½ cup chutney (such as Major Grey’s)

4 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey

Mix cream cheese and liquid to make a smooth, spreadable mixture. Stir in chutney. Carefully cut off tops of muffins. Spread each muffin bottom with some of the chutney mixture, then a thin layer of turkey. Replace muffin top. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Judith Dunbar Hines

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