Years ago, when I first moved to Maui, there was a small sandwich shop called “Picnics” on Baldwin Avenue in a town called Paia. The shop still exists, but it has changed hands many, many times. At one point, back in the eighties, they had hired a professional baker (or so the rumor mill said) who had dropped out of the rat race, and had moved to Maui to windsurf. At that time, prior to a change in ownership and their subsequent decision to purchase baked good from Costco, all the pastries, breads, and muffins were made on the premises. Everything was tasty, but there was one standout: Pumpkin Cream Cheese muffins.
Now folks, these muffins were so good that people who hated pumkin, cream cheese, and/or walnuts would devour them. Once or twice a week, I’d run into Picnics (it had to be early or the muffins would be gone by 10:00 a.m.) and buy one, then I’d go sit outside the post office, under the palm trees, and slowly nibble around the edges of the muffin. I would work around the perimeter until finally only the sweet cream cheese filling was left, whereupon I’d stuff that lucious blob into my mouth. Ah, the memories.
When I saw that Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp had chosen Pumpkin Muffins, the wheels started turning. I made a low fat cream cheese mixture that included a bit or orange oil. Then I substituted organic white whole wheat flour for the AP flour, doubled the walnuts, and topped the muffins with pumpkin seeds and cinnamon sugar. Because I had a dark muffin tin, I turned down the oven temperature to 375 F, and placed the tin on a baking sheet to help keep the bottom from burning.
So, were they as good as Picnics’ muffins? Nope, but they were tasty and relatively healthy, as far as Dorie recipes go. Sometimes I wonder if the memory of something is better than the original experience: By now, those Picnics muffins have reached the status of legend in my own mind! So, my search for perfect pumpkin cream cheese muffin continues. Thanks, Kelly, for a great choice this week. To see how others faired with their muffins this week, click on the blogger list over at TWD.