TAG’S Monthsary & Pumpkin Spice-Hazelnut Streusel Muffins (recipe)

So it’s been 2 months since our debut and we all know what that means…

CAAAAAAAAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I didn’t have time to make cake, so I made muffins! And you know what? It’s okay. A muffin is just as delicious, and anyway, according to this one article I was reading by Melissa Clark, when asked his opinion on the difference between cupcakes and muffins, her pastry chef friend explained that what it boils down to is really the American Puritanical inhibition when it comes to breakfast, and that really, what distinguishes these two equally delicious baked goods is…
‘Nothing. Muffins are just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast.’
And in a way he is right.
Take this quote as an example:
 
‘Any cupcake consumed before 9AM is, technically, a muffin.’ (Brian P. Cleary)
I guess I just have to accept that some people do feel shy about admitting that they had cake for breakfast, and feel the need to give it another name to make themselves feel better about it, since a muffin is a universally accepted breakfast item. While I know that, technically-speaking, a muffin is a mini version of a quickbread, and not exactly a cupcake, it’s the same difference really, and mama loves all her children.
Anyway.
 
We are in the last leg of the fall season, so before winter does its annual sneak attack – which it always does – I decided that it was time to squeeze in one quick recipe using pumpkin. Now, I could’ve made a pumpkin pie, but felt that that would be too Thanksgivingish. Plus I just like cake.

Pumpkin, cinnamon and toasted hazelnuts… Together, they just make sense. And streusel. Yeah, streusel is always good. Mm…

INGREDIENTS 
For muffins:
  • 7.5oz pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  •  cup water
  • 1½ cups white sugar
  • 1¾ cups plain flour
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon (I usually add about… 4 hahaha) 
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground clove
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 50g hazelnuts, toasted and crushed (but not too finely)
For streusel topping:
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsps cinnamon

Canned pumpkin puree is a life-saver. If you want to slice up, bake up and then mash your own pumpkin because you’re one of those annoying purists, by all means, go ahead. Let me know how that turns out for you. Ok no. On second thought, please just leave me alone and go ahead and lead your awesome life with your awesome all-natural, homemade pumpkin puree. I’ll just be here, casually eating my muffins, waiting for you to be done.

You can smell the sweetness of the pumpkin as soon as you’ve opened the can.

METHOD

STEP 1: Go ahead and dump about half the contents into a big bowl. Crack in 2 eggs, and add in the vanilla extract, the oil, water and sugar.
STEP 2: Whisk until it all comes together, then set aside.
STEP 3: Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
STEP 4: Whisk well so that you break up all the lumps.
STEP 5: Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet.
STEP 6: Fold in the crushed hazelnuts. The reason I crush my hazelnuts instead of chopping them is because I hate chopping nuts. Have you chopped nuts before? They fly everywhere. Also I love the aroma that is released when you crush hazelnuts. But yeah. Mix together and set aside.
STEP 7: Combine all ingredients for the streusel topping in a bowl, rubbing the butter in with your fingers until you get a coarse, crumb-like texture, then set aside.

 

STEP 8: Fill your cupcake tins about halfway with batter. They will rise, and you want the streusel topping to stay on top, so you don’t want to overfill your cups.
STEP 9: Top with streusel topping. Use as much as you like. (I didn’t tell you this but I actually doubled the proportions I gave you above because I love streusel like, A LOT. I just freeze the extra for topping last minute fruit crumbles.) 
 
STEP 10: Bake at 160℃ in a preheated fan-forced oven for about 22minutes. 
 

 

Um… Father, Mother, please ignore the Smirnoff in the background…
 


I love the smell of these because they just reek of cinnamon, and pretty soon your whole house will smell all warm and cosy and happy, just like in the holidays!!!!!!!!! :’) :’) 
 
Or it could just be the Yankee candles.

The streusel provides a lovely bit of crunch, while the cake part itself is moist and tender. The pumpkin and the vegetable oil are what makes this as moist as it is, and finding a crunchy piece of hazelnut is always a moment of pure joy for me. (I am very easy to please.)

Taste-wise, the pumpkin gives the cake a vague root-vegetabley-type sweetness, actually not all too different from a carrot cake, just that you don’t have the fibrous little threads of vegetable running through it like you would get from shredded carrot. And the waxy, oily hazelnuts are just the perfect nut to pair with pumpkin.

 
And you know, every cake needs a candle. 
 
It was a good job I doubled the recipe because it’s almost virtually impossible to get any baked goods out of my house otherwise.
After all, I simply had to bring some to LAMB NIGHT because:
1) there are no peanuts or meat in this HAHAHA, so it’s perfect for K
2) Ln likes pumpkin pie
3) Ls likes pumpkin spice latte
And… MORE CANDLES!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Also, if you were wondering what Lamb Night is, it’s basically where a group of girls gather together, dressed in their Sunday worst, to lounge around and eat the most delicious lamb, a copious amount of cake and chocolates, watch Dumbo and yell at people on X Factor. It’s a legit holiday, I promise.
(I had a reaaaaaally really nice time girls, thank you all <3 <3 <3)
Finally, as always, THANK YOU one and all for your unwavering support! It means the world to Elaine and me!
I have such a backlog of undocumented fatventures but I swear I will be more hard-working!!! I promise you I haven’t slowed down one bit on the eating front. In fact, I’ve been eating rather recklessly. So much so that I am truly, truly, getting exponentially fatter, and the old skinny jeans are now the asymptote that my curves shy away from hahaha. But all mathematical references aside, although, yes, it is rather sad, I am enjoying every last minute of it. And I hope you do too!
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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