Pumpkin Rooibos Muffins

After my Pumpkin Tea Set post last week, some readers asked me what would become of my pie pumpkins. Well here they are, transformed into homey, humble little muffins…Rooibos Pumpkin Muffins to be exact. Just when you thought those pumpkins had met their last tea pairing with chai, rooibos shows up in baked form!

Rooibos, also known as red bush tea or red tea, is a plant native to South Africa. You’ll find the short, slim stalks of this caffeine-free herb in many tisanes where it lends a mild, aromatic sweetness and gorgeous coppery orange color. I love that you can enjoy the soothing effects of this tea anytime of day.

Pumpkin and rooibos tea are natural partners—both ingredients evoke the warm, earthy flavors of fall. In this recipe, lightly toasting the rooibos before adding it into the batter helps it to release more of its lightly malty flavor. After toasting, I also give the rooibos a light steeping in hot water to help it soften and release even more of it’s rich aroma and essence.

Whether you are drinking or eating them together, rooibos and pumpkin make a delicious culinary match. I like to enjoy these muffins with a pure rooibos-only blend, as the simple taste of the tea will help the spicy cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove flavors to shine. Enjoy these muffins for breakfast, along with a light meal, or as a simple mid-day sweet treat.

Pumpkin Rooibos Muffins

Makes 10 muffins.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp rooibos, about 4-5 tea bags, lightly toasted for 1 minute in a dry pan

1/3 cup hot water

8 oz. pumpkin purée

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp clove

Equipment:

standard muffin tin

10 cupcake liners

2 mixing bowls

cooling rack

Directions:

1.)  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rip the rooibos tea bags open, then brew them in 1/3 cup of hot water.

2.)  In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, vanilla and egg. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

3.)  Gradually add the dry flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until everything is just moistened. Mix in the rooibos tea (along with the leaves), until the batter is homogenous. Spoon 1/3 cup of the batter into each of the cupcake liners in the muffin pan.

4.)  Bake cupcakes for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick barely comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack to cool before serving.