Saturday, October 17, 2009

Manda Muffins

This one goes out to all my homies! Well, not all of you but just one special one with whom I had the most lovely day this past week that was long overdue (Yes I know you are all special, some in a more "special" way than others. Love all my bitches, for real).

Ok seriously, we are here to talk baking. Again. We know how I loves me to make with the baking and creating and eating. Thats the whole point, right? Well, here is a preview of the finished product before I continue with my story. 

Thee muffins are the product of a "falling in love" story. Can I share this online Manda? Too late! I will be as brief as possible, we know I can ramble on when i'm writing. Ok, ok, I wont share your story, calm down...I had slept in, and the plan was lunch or coffee, but after weeks of not seeing each other we decided to spend the day roaming the city. Starting off we met up in "our neighbourhood" (inside joke) and walked over to Sam James Coffee Company for a little java fix to start the day (yes folks, we have a winner - another fan of Sam's). All said and done, our day covered 14+ kilometres of walking with stops in Queen West, Kensington, and the Annex. Boot shopping, a little lunch at Ackee Tree, up to Kensington for a little treat at Wanda's Pie in the Sky (a favourite stop of mine when i'm in the area) and then meeting up with another friend and a quick stop at La Tortilleria for some fresh tortillas and back to buy boots for Manda on Queen at which point we called it a day and headed back home. 

At some point on our journey, I decided what the fall creation would be to take to brunch at my big sisters this Sunday as I am on dessert duty. Mom is back from 3 weeks in France and England so I wanted it to be something special and with pumpkin, I thought, and umm, yes, black sesame seeds. Why? Why not! You know me, im just crazy like that. Nutty earthy sesame seeds should go just perfectly with the rich pumpkin flavour and add a nice aesthetic and little pops of crunch. The finish? To add a little sweetness a cream cheese frosting with lime and topped with toasted coconut, what could be bad?  I know, I know a lot of questions today so with out further pause, here it is:

The recipe comes from Manda, a sort of collaborative effort, as she is one of my baking gurus, and is adapted from Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking: From my Home to Yours" (her favourite baking book)

Black Sesame Pumpkin Muffins with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting and Toasted Coconut.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk (I substituted Almond Milk and Lime Juice for this)
1/3 cup black sesame seeds
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

In case you have never worked with whole nutmeg, this is what the inside looks like, it is really a wonderful spice to work with and the scent it really nice and earthy.

Working with a mixer, beat the butter at a medium speed until soft. TIP: If your butter is frozen or a bit too cold to work with you can use a grater to speed up the process and grate the butter into a bowl.

Add both the sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth. One by one, add the eggs, beating for a minute after the eggs are incorporated, then beat in the vanilla. Lower the mixer speed and mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear. 

To avoid overmixing, you can stop the machine early and stir any remaining dry ingredients into the batter using a rubber spatula. Stir in the sesame seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove each one from its mold and finish cooling on the rack.

While the muffins are cooling take:
1 package (250 gr.) cream cheese at room temperature
Juice and zest of 1 Lime
2 cups confectioners sugar

Combine with a hand mixer until smooth.

Then we toast a little coconut for the topping, just until the coconut is mostly brown with a few white flakes left. We don't want to burn it.

By now the muffins should be cool and we can finish them.

These are really good, trust me they are what I ended up eating for dinner. Actually you dont have to take my word for it, you can ask my buddy Andrew and his girlfriend Zofie because they were lucky enough to stop by and sample the new treats.

Peace, Love, and Ice Cream.


  1. Hahaha these cupcakes must have been filled with something even stronger than nutmeg and sesame! My mom almost fell over when she ate hers. Thanks for the gift, and the recipe :-)

  2. Wow...Those look fab!!!

    From ur fav bitch....