These pumpkin cheddar muffins are unique, surprising, and extremely delicious. They’ll be a new favorite!

These pumpkin cheddar muffins are unique, surprising, and extremely delicious. They'll be a new fall favorite for breakfast or brunch. Get the recipe on RachelCooks.com.

What is the first thing you do when you pick up a new cookbook?

Do you read the information on the back?

Look at the pictures?

Check the table of contents?

I’m a flipper. I flip through the pages to see what catches my eye. Then I delve in deeper.

One of the first things I noticed about Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito was the friendly layout, deep, rich colors and wide variety of recipes.

Other things I loved:

  • There are sections about kitchen tools/equipment and terms/brand recommendations. Both include very educational and helpful information, especially if you are a new baker.
  • The authors have a sense of humor which makes the cookbook really enjoyable to read.
  • Each recipe includes a “Baked Note,” which is helpful information about the recipe or an educational/interesting tidbit about that particular dessert. I love this feature. It makes this book different than any other baking cookbook.
  • Huge variety of recipes from Black and White Cookies to Monkey Bread to Strawberry Jello Salad.

Things I wished were different (because I’m always going to give you my honest opinion!):

  • I wish there was more pictures. I’m a very visual person and I love my cookbooks to be jam packed with color photographs. I’m greedy–I want a picture of every recipe. However, the photos definitely make up in quality what they lack in quantity–they are gorgeous. (Photos by Tina Rupp.)
  • That’s all I have. It’s a good book!

The book’s stats:

  • Complete Title: Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
  • Authors: Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
  • Photos by: Tina Rupp
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang
  • ISBN: 978-1-58479-850-7
  • 35 color photographs/75 recipes/208 pages
  • Authors’ bio (from publisher): “Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito left their day jobs in advertising five years ago to open their bakery, Baked, in Brooklyn, NY, to immediate praise from fans across the country. The authors have been featured on Oprah, the Today show, the Food Network, and Martha Stewart. Their first book, Baked, was an IACP award nominee. Lewis and Poliafito live in New York City.”

Some recipes that I really want to try: 

  • Whiskey Pear Tart
  • Chocolate Mint Thumbprints
  • Orange Creamsicle Tart
  • Sweet and Salty Brownie
  • Maple Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I mean, really. How good do those all sound? In reality, I should just say that I want to try:

  • every
  • single
  • recipe
  • !

So, if you even have the smallest sweet tooth, make sure you order the book.

The recipe I tried was Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins and they did not disappoint. They are positioned in the breakfast portion of the book, and let me tell you–they are good. Especially if you’re someone who doesn’t love super sweet breakfasts.  They have the perfect balance of sweet and savory with a touch of cayenne to keep things interesting.

These pumpkin cheddar muffins are unique, surprising, and extremely delicious. They'll be a new fall favorite for breakfast or brunch. Get the recipe on RachelCooks.com.

The authors suggest topping with pumpkin seeds which would look beautiful and add a great crunch, but I used all mine for these recipes and didn’t have any left.

These pumpkin cheddar muffins are unique, surprising, and extremely delicious. They'll be a new fall favorite for breakfast or brunch. Get the recipe on RachelCooks.com.

Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins

These pumpkin cheddar muffins are unique, surprising, and extremely delicious. They’ll be a new favorite!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin purée
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (about 4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, optional

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with a little bit of vegetable spray and use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly along the bottom and up the sides of each cup.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and sour cream. Add the eggs and butter and whisk until combined.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and brown sugar. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well, and fold until just combined. Fold in three-quarters of the cheese.
4. Dive the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and the pumpkin seeds on top of the muffins. Bake them for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the muffin pan cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out the muffins. Serve them warm.
5. Muffins taste best when eaten fresh, but they can be made ahead of time and reheated in a 200-degree oven.

Recipe used with permission from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

All images and text ©Rachel Cooks.

Verdict: So tasty! I loved the flavor complexity of these muffins. They would be really great with the pumpkin seeds on top to add some textural variety.
Husband’s take: He never tried them. I think know he was a little freaked out by the cheddar-pumpkin combination. My parents were visiting and tried the muffins though and loved them. My mom asked for the recipe. Here it is mom!
Changes I would make: Not a single one. These aren’t low-fat, with a whole stick of butter plus the cheese, but they are a great treat. They would be fantastic for a brunch. Also–I have a good helping of butter on them for the pictures, but they really don’t need it. They are very moist and delicious without it. But…a little extra butter is never a bad thing.
Difficulty: Easy!

These pumpkin cheddar muffins are unique, surprising, and extremely delicious. They'll be a new fall favorite for breakfast or brunch. Get the recipe on RachelCooks.com.

UPDATE: GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER IS BIG FAT BAKER. CONGRATS! I contacted you via email. 

Disclosure: I was sent a free book to review and free brownies to try. However, all opinions expressed in this post are, as always, 100% my own. I was not compensated for this post other than the free book/brownies.

These pumpkin cheddar muffins are unique, surprising, and extremely delicious. They'll be a new fall favorite for breakfast or brunch. Get the recipe on RachelCooks.com.