I played around with the dry ingredients, adding whole wheat pastry flour and a bit of fresh ground flaxseed into the mix for a nutritional boost. If you don't keep these ingredients handy, replace them measure for measure with regular all-purpose flour. For an aromatic jackpot in the spice department, we whisked a combination of cardamom, cinnamon (using our favorite Vietnamese cinnamon), cloves and pungent ginger into the flour mixture.
Along with the burnt-orange mashed pumpkin, a little buttermilk is used for tenderness and mild tang in the background. Because the pumpkin is already lending its moist properties, you won't need a ton of oil - we used just a bare two tablespoons to ensure these muffins have a nice texture without being rubbery. To advance these up another dimension, we tossed chopped golden raisins into the muffin batter just before portioning them out into the muffin tin. They do add sweetness, but if you wanted a slightly tarter bite, you could, of course, change those out for dried cranberries instead. Looking for a little crunch? Add some chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts or pecans would go well) on top once the muffin wells have been filled with the batter.
With muffins, we tend to not use liners in the muffin tin as we like them to have more of a crusty exterior, unless they have some sort of sticky ingredient that would make them impossible to pop out. If that isn't relevant to you, feel free to use liners for easier clean up - you may want to give them a light spritz with cooking spray so you don't pull away parts of the muffin when you remove them. As with most muffins or cupcakes, we use a couple methods to check for doneness - when pressed lightly in the center, the muffin top should spring back right away. You can also check by sliding a toothpick into the center - when pulled out, it should be fairly clean with a few moist crumbs attached.
With the warm spices used, these didn't necessarily scream pumpkin, but it was definitely whispering its sweet subtleness across my tongue. I tried these both warm a few minutes after being taken from oven and later on at room temperature - the spices had a chance to mature after sitting around a few hours, but right out of the oven they were still quite delicious. If you'd like to save these for another day, wrap them up well and stash in the freezer - they will thaw quickly and taste just as good. Yearning for that warm-from-the-oven feeling? Heat them in the microwave for just a few seconds to give the center of the thawed muffin a little fever.