Wow! I did not see this one coming. I guess I never really gave these much of a chance. Yes, I love almost all things pumpkin, but based on my reaction to the savory Tomato Soup Cupcakes we made awhile back, I totally did not expect to like these as much as I did. The combination of pumpkin, cheddar cheese and pepper seemed a little too unusual for my tastes, not to mention I am just not that into savory baked goods... Or, so I thought. Dare I say that my palate matured a bit this week?
The ingredients for these muffins were simply folded until moistened, producing an extra thick batter. The result was a moist, toothsome bite with pockets of dark brown sugar and a finish of heat from the cayenne pepper. What really pushed these over the edge though was the addition of the EXTRA sharp cheddar cheese, which added a whole other layer of flavor complexity. The thing is, I didn't really taste the pumpkin all that much. It kind of disappeared. I never would have guessed it was in there had I not made the darn things myself.
While I am completely sold on these muffins, I am still not ready to add them to my breakfast rotation (which is how the boys categorized them in their book.) I can really only envision these on a dinner menu, perhaps on the Thanksgiving table where their beautiful color can shine... but, that's just me.
Please do give these a try. Though the ingredient list is unusual, they are easy to make and taste deliciously sophisticated. Your palate will thank you. Mine certainly did!
To read what my fellow bakers thought of this recipe, hop on over to the new Baked Sunday Mornings website, or even better buy a copy of Matt and Renato's book Baked Explorations and join in on the fun!
Have a Sweet Day!
Jaime @ The Great Cake Company