April 5, 2009

Savory Pumpkin-Caramelized Onion Muffins

Even though the sardine cupcakes weren't really savory (or real sardines for that matter), I *have* wanted to make a savory cupcake/muffin for awhile. A giant butternut squash I acquired this weekend prompted me to try making the flavors of this pizza into savory muffins. These are subtly sweet and moist with the intoxicating aroma of caramelized onions. The smell reminds me of the good Jewish onion rolls my parents used to buy. I really like the salt and crunch the pepitas give to the tops, analogous to a sweet muffin's crumb topping. I'm sure they would be good with butter (Earth Balance margarine) or some cream cheese but today I preferred nibbling on them plain. I plan on having one for breakfast tomorrow with some Fakin' Bacon or maybe a slice of ham if I'm in the mood for the real stuff. I also would love to try this with some other flours like quinoa or some soy flour for higher protein.

I'm submitting this recipe to the Virtual Great American Bake Sale hosted by Kate of Cooking During Stolen Moments. Kate just so happens to be another Michigan foodblogger and I'm all for mitten state solidarity! On April 13th, the recipes submitted will be collected together in an ebook for sale with all the proceeds going to Share Our Strength.

Savory Pumpkin-Caramelized Onion Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups diced cooking onion
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Margarine (or butter)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2/3 cup milk (we use soy)
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 tablespoons shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin or squash puree
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup maple syrup

-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
-Cook the diced onion with the margarine, thyme and a pinch of salt in a pan over medium high heat until caramelized. To get good color stir often and cook for at least 15 minutes. Set aside to cool in a medium bowl.
-Mix together the milk and vinegar and set aside while the onions cool.
-Spray another skillet with oil and add the pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Carefully toast the pepitas over medium heat until a few begin to make popping sounds and color a light golden brown. Remove and toss with a pinch of salt.
-In a large bowl, stir together the two flours, baking powder, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
-Add the soy milk mixture, the pumpkin, the oil and the maple syrup to the caramelized onions. Stir until combined.
-Dump the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
-Spray a muffin pan with oil and spoon the batter in, filling each compartment 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle the toasted pepitas on top.
-Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes and then remove from the muffin pan and cool the rest of the way on a baking rack.
-Good for breakfast, a snack or serve like rolls for a meal.