Pumpkin Based Learning

Every Friday, instead of 4 hours of lecture in the morning, we only have one hour, followed by 3 hours of PBL — Problem Based Learning. In PBL, we’re given medical cases that are relevant to what we’re learning in lecture, and use critical thinking to work through the case. Ryan likes to refer to this class as “Brain Quest”, and it actually is a fun class. Each section of the class only has 8 students and one professor, which makes the atmosphere much more laid back than lecture.

One of the first things we did in PBL was each sign up for a Friday to bring in breakfast for the group. Definitely my kind of class. Tomorrow’s my turn, and with Halloween only 2 days away, I chose to do a pumpkin themed breakfast.

I don’t particularly like pumpkin baked goods, especially when I bake them myself and have to deal with pumpkin puree (babyfood, anyone?). But I think I’m in the minority with my feelings toward pumpkin, so I sucked it up, plugged my nose, and put together some pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pancakes, which I baked in mini muffin tins.

Today was a beautiful day, and with a few leaves still hanging onto the trees, I was able to get some great shots of these fall treats.

Orange and black liners, cute right? Festive, yet not obnoxiously so. (The obnoxiously Halloweeny goodies will make an appearance later this weekend, don’t worry)

The muffins came out really well, especially with their streusel topping. I love anything with streusel, even pumpkin things. Plus it’s fun to say — strreuusell.

The streusel’s not the only good part though! For those of you that love pumpkin, the muffins definitely have a distinct pumpkin flavor, but for those of us that don’t, the cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar, and molasses compliment the pumpkin flavor just the right amount so that it’s not overwhelming. I threw in some chocolate chips to the batter at the last moment, because everyone knows that chocolate chips make everything better.

The pancakes have an equally balanced pumpkin flavor, but I must say I prefer the muffins. Maybe because I didn’t put any syrup on the one I stole from the pan this afternoon. Or maybe because I chose to bake them, an unconventional way of cooking pancakes. I figured baking them in mini muffin pans would be an easier way for everyone to enjoy pancakes in a classroom, since they’re more like finger food, and Bakerella’s came out really damn cute. But then again, everything of Bakerella’s comes out cute….

I’d recommend trying the recipe out on regular pancakes made in a pan, but these little guys still came out seriously yummy.

So along with some OJ, that’s my haul for tomorrow morning. Quite a balanced breakfast if you ask me. Definitely some good stuff in there to power our brains for class. Chocolate chips are a super food, you know. No but seriously, who decided muffins and pancakes were an acceptable breakfast food? The ingredients are practically the same as a recipe for cupcakes or cookies, if not worse! Oh well, I guess Halloween’s a time for indulgence anyway. Plus, it’s not like I was going to bring cereal and fruit to class — booorrringggg.

Here are the recipes if you’re feeling in an indulgent mood this holiday weekend!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Streusel Muffins
(adapted from Buns in My Oven)

1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tbsp molasses
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rolled oats
2 tbsp butter

– Preheat oven to 375 degrees
– Cream together butter and sugars
– Add the pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs, and molasses and blend
– In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and chocolate chips
– Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until well mixed
– Put 12 liners into a muffin tin, and split the batter evenly between the liners
– Sprinkle the streusel topping on the batter evenly
– Bake for 25 minutes (or until fork comes out clean) and cool on a wire rack

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes – Mini Muffin Style
(adapted from Kaitlin in the Kitchen)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/4 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2/3 cup pumpkin puree

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees
– Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and chocolate chips
– Add buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and pumpkin and blend well
– Thoroughly grease mini-muffin tin and fill each cavity 3/4 of the way
– Bake for 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack

Lots of fun Halloween baking to come in the next 2 days, so check back!

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3 Responses to “Pumpkin Based Learning”

  1. #
    Nichelle_Nichole — December 4, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

    These look so good! I’m making them this morning. Quick question about the topping.. there is “2 TBSP listed without an ingredient attached. I’m hoping that’s just a typo and I’m not going to miss anything in the recipe! Check it out and let me know! LOVE YOUR BLOG! THANKS! :)

  2. #
    Erica — December 7, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

    Sorry about that – you’re right the extra 2 tbsp was a typo, you won’t be missing anything! Good luck, hope they came out well :)

  3. #
    MaryKate — October 7, 2013 @ 12:38 am

    These are delicious, Erica! I’m baking them for friends before our fixed pros midterm tomorrow morning. It’s not quite PBL, but it will be great brain food.

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