Pumpkin mini muffins

This recipe was my pumpkin flood gate recipe. The first one I learned that unlocked the part of my brain that looks at everything and says, “hey, let’s put pumpkin in that”. It’s quick, easy, tasty… all the things ya gotta love about a good muffin recipe.

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What you’ll need:

1 box yellow cake mix

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 1/4 c water

2 TBSP veggie (or canola) oil

3 eggs

3/4 c canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

muffin pans… your choice on size, but I usually do mini muffins.

Preheat your oven to 350 before you start. This is pretty quick to put together, so you won’t have to wait for the oven when you’re ready.

First off, I know what you’re thinking… box cake mix?! That’s cheating! So just knock it off. There’s nothing wrong about altering a cake mix. As my aunt always says, “if you open the box at home, it’s homemade”. Altering cake box mixes can be a lot of fun. You can experiment with new flavors and ideas without the hoops of making it from scratch and the crushing disappointment of wasted time if it turns out like junk. Trust me, not awesome. So yeah, box mix, deal with it.

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Of this mammoth can of pumpkin, this tiny bit is all I used. I have more plans, so I slapped some cling wrap over it and stuck it in the fridge. If you don’t plan on any other pumpkiny delights, I suggest you get the smaller can. Even the small can will make a double batch with ease. I’m a horrible judge of how much I need when I’m shopping for ingredients. I can’t tell you how many tubs of sour cream I’ve tossed because I only needed a cup and I panic and get the economy size cause I’m afraid I’ll run out of it. Don’t act like you’ve never done that.

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Dump all the dry stuff together, then add the rest. It’s going to look like there are tiny lumps. You can turn your beaters on high for a few seconds, but don’t over do it. They’re not going to all go away, but they’re not going to ruin your muffins, so relax.

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Spray the bejeepers out of your muffin tins. I don’t like to use liners for this. First off, since you’re using a box mix they’re going to be a little softer and about 36% of your cake will stick to a liner. You just made that number up. Yes, yes I did, but you know it’s true. How many times have you picked out a delicious looking cupcake only to peel the liner and almost half the cake goes with it? At that moment you can either toss the paper and weep over the lost tastiness, or look like a crazy person trying to eat the liner. Second, mini muffins are eating by the half dozen, and who wants to work that hard shucking for breakfast? No one.

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At first I had thought about using our good friend, the cookie scoop. However, muffin batter is runny and requires something else. I give you, the batter dispenser! Yeah, I have a lot of weird gadgets. This thing is pretty handy for cakes, muffins, and most of all, waffles. It takes a second to get into the rhythm of pouring that will give you the perfect amount. Practice makes perfect. You can get 6 dozen mini muffins, or 24 standard muffins out of this. I don’t know about jumbo ones, but I bet they’d be awesome.

Bake minis for 8-11 minutes, and standards for 25-30 minutes.

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They puff up pretty well and will have a soft, spongy feeling. If you do a toothpick test, it will likely come back with a tiny piece or two, but it’s okay. If you just have to use liners, I suggest you over bake them just a little. It’ll help with that liner cake loss problem.

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HANDY TIP ALERT: Got stuck muffins? I didn’t feel like respraying after the first batch so I paid the price when it came to get them out. If you don’t have one, invest in a small angled spatula. It’s absolutely perfect for icing cupcakes and cookies, but it also works as a fantastic muffin unsticker. Run it around the edge to loosen, then use it to wedge the muffin out. Go slow to avoid ripping. It’s pretty easy, just takes a little time.

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Watch yourself, mini muffins can be dangerous. They’re so small that it’s pretty easy to eat 6, or 8, or 2 dozen. Granted, there’s no such thing as too much pumpkin, but there is such a thing as muffin overload.

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