Growing up, I loved play-do. I loved how it felt between my fingers when I squished it.. how my fingers and palms rolled it, patted it, shaped it, and sculpted it. I also loved getting my hands dirty. As a child, I was dauntless. I commanded the play-do to do as my hands told it. My affinity for sculpting play-do has evolved into something more refined–decorating with fondant.
I love artistic, creative, fun food concepts. I bought an amazing baking book back in January, and I have been patiently waiting for pumpkin season to try this recipe. The muffins themselves are just scrumptious, although I prefer pumpkin bread in a loaf–not a muffin. The recipe I used suggests making 6 jumbo muffins. The problem with jumbo muffins is that no wants to eat that many carbs, but, I figured the jumbo muffins would make for more impressionable pumpkins. I was feeling rather motivated, so I doubled the recipe. Pumpkin muffins for all!
Pumpkin Muffin Recipe (Makes 6 jumbo muffins or 12 standard size muffins)
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery
All Purpose Flour- 200 g (1 1/4c + 3 Tablespoons)
Baking Soda- 1/2 teaspoon
Pumpkin pie spice- 1 1/2 teaspoons
Nutmeg- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt- 1/2 teaspoon
Granulated Sugar- 222g (1 cup + 2 teaspoons)
Canola Oil- 100g (1/4c + 3 Tablespoons)
Pure pumpkin puree- 210g (3/4c + 2Tablespoons)
1 cup cream cheese icing (Combine 8 ounces cream cheese + 80 grams powdered sugar)
1.5 pounds orange fondant
6 cinnamon sticks
Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a jumbo muffin tin (6 cups) with muffin liners. Lightly spray each liner with cooking spray.
Place the flour in a medium bowl. Sift in the baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and nutmeg. Add salt, and whisk to combine.
Combine the sugar and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the pumpkin, increase the speed to medium-low and mix for about 1 minute, until smooth. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing for about 15 seconds after each, or until just combined.
Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for about 15 seconds after each, or until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and scrape the bottom to incorporate any dry ingredients that may have settled there.
Fill cups evenly. Place pan in oven and lower the temperature to 325. Bake for 45-48 minutes for jumbo muffins (the baking time is much, much less if making standard-size or mini muffins), or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.
Once the muffins have cooled, cut a small hole in each top where a pumpkin stem would be and fill with cream cheese frosting. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of each muffin. (This will serve as the “glue” to hold the fondant in place.
Divide the fondant into 6 pieces, each weighing 150 grams. Roll one piece into a 6-8 inch round. You may use powdered sugar to keep the fondant from sticking to the mat, you hands and rolling pin. Carefully pick up the round and place it directly over the iced muffin.
Gently tug at the round so that it’s as straight as possible, then trim the fondant so that you have just enough to cover the muffin.
Pick up the fondant-covered muffin and carefully tuck the fondant underneath the muffin. Trim any excess fondant that prevents the pumpkin muffin from being able to sit upright. Set the fondant-wrapped muffin on the table. Using a popsicle stick, starting from the center, indent the fondant to create the lines of a pumpkin. Place a cinnamon stick in the center of each muffin for the pumpkin’s stem.
You may store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.