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Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned-Butter Muffins

I had a brilliant idea.  Savory pumpkin bread!   With sage!   And brown butter!  Boy, was I onto something!

Then google burst my bubble.  Sorry, hon, but Martha’s been there, done that.

Figures.  Fine…I’ll make muffins!

I’m not complaining, though.  I’ve found her recipes to be pretty foolproof, and thank goodness for that because I was kind of a fool when I made these yesterday.

browned butter muffin batter

Usually, I reread amounts and steps in recipes in an OCD way just to be sure I’m doing the right thing.  Yesterday, my mind was so distracted mainly because I was hungry and hadn’t been properly caffeinated yet.  Why I decided to bake first instead of address these issues is a mystery.

about to be baked right out of the oven

It all started when I decided that I wanted this to be a one bowl recipe which meant I would mix up the wet ingredients first and then add the dry ones.  I went to get the dry ingredients together while the butter was browning (don’t do that…watch yo’ buttah!), but then for some reason started adding the flour to the wet ingredients.  I then happened to look over at the butter, which was so brown that I caught it right before burning.  Anyway, I essentially dumped everything in the bowl all out of order, forgot the nutmeg and the nuts I was going to mix in, and they still came out perfectly!  These are some moist and soft muffins, with a somewhat delicate texture.

As for the flavor: when I first read the recipe, I thought it seemed like a lot of brown sugar for what I imagined would be a savory muffin.  And the thing is, it kind of is.  These are sweet, just not overly, but then they have sage in them.  Can we make “sweevory” a word and use it to describe these?  Whatever they are, they’re definitely buttery!  Yum!


Pumpkin, Sage, and Brown Butter Muffins
adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Usually with most quick bread recipes, they’ll say to mix in the dry ingredients until just combined, but still lumpy.  This one didn’t address that, so I wasn’t concerned about over-mixing.  You can mix the wet and dry ingredients separately like the original recipe says, but I’m putting down what I totally meant to do.  Oh, and this is the recipe halved.  See the original for the full version!

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1/8 cup fresh sage, torn into pieces
1/2 cup solid-pack pumpkin (from one 15-ounce can)
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup + 4 teaspoons whole wheat (or all-purpose) flour, plus more for pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
optional: toasted walnuts (however much you want) to mix in or for topping

Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter and flour a 12 hole muffin pan (but you won’t use them all).  I used baking spray with flour instead.  Easy!

In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the sage and continue cooking until the butter turns a golden brown color (keep a close eye on it!), about 5 – 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool a little bit.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown butter and sage, pumpkin, brown sugar, and egg.  Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt and continue whisking until combined.  If you want to fold in some nuts, do so now!

Scoop the batter into the muffin pan holes until about 2/3 – 3/4 full (I used a muffin scoop for this…it’s definitely not pourable).  Smooth the tops with a spatula and top with nuts, if desired.  Bake for about 15 – 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middles comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove the muffins and finish cooling on a rack.

I got 7 muffins out of this.  Not 6 or 8, though maybe you could make that happen.  Martha says that these can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.  It’s Day 2 over here and there are only a couple none left.  :)

Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned-Butter Muffins
Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned-Butter Muffins

Muffin sage face! :-\

Next time, I’ll try using a little less brown sugar and salted butter.  How about that?