alcohol | cinnamon | coconut | ginger | halloween | muffins | orange | pumpkin | recipe | seasonal

Coco-rum pumpkin muffins.

October 16, 2010

Well, it’s that time of year isn’t it? Pumpkin is everywhere- every grocery store you go into has canned pumpkin on sale, on display, etc. Not to mention the whole pumpkins for sale as well. I love this time of year, and while I’m not a huge fan of eating it, I do love baking with it for others. And once in a while I do get a hankering for pumpkin-y delights. Like the double chocolate pumpkin cupcakes I have on the blog, or pumpkin bread. One of my favorite things to make this time of year are pumpkin muffins made from the cut-out jack-o’-lantern pieces that I’ve had since Kindergarten, when my teacher Mrs. Blach passed out mimeographed dittos of the recipe. Have I mentioned how much I love carving pumpkins? I do. That one over there I did a few years back. Unfortunately, Frankenstein’s left eye got a bit fucked up. But he looks more rugged that way, doesn’t he? Anyway, this recipe has some awesome elements: browned butter, rum and pumpkin with spices.

This is a recipe I’ve had for a looong time and it’s just been sitting there in my Bible getting no love. I can’t even remember where I got it from, so if you read this and it’s your great-grandma’s recipe, then by all means let me know and I’ll give credit where it’s due.



Coco-rum “balls”
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rum (*I’d suggest a dark rum, I used light & next time I’d definitely use dark)
  • 1 ½ cups dessicated (dry) coconut
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin (or squash, pureed, if you prefer)
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. First, make the buttered-rum coconut “kiss” by melting the 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, watching very carefully, until the butter turns nut-brown (this is called “buerre noisette”) and is very fragrant. Be careful not to burn. Immediately remove from heat and add sugar, rum and coconut. Combine well to mix butter and rum throughout and to cool slightly. Stir in egg, combining well. Using a rounded teaspoon as a measure, separate the coconut mixture into 12 portions and roll them into balls, resembling meatballs. Space apart on a plate and put in refrigerator to firm up while preparing the muffin batter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. For the muffins: Cream butter for 1 minute. Add sugar and beat 4 more minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, orange zest and juice and sour cream.
  4. In a third bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir 1/3 of the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture; mix in ½ the pumpkin puree mixture and add another 1/3 of the flour mixture. Stir in remaining pumpkin puree and flour and mix well.
  6. Distribute batter evenly among 12 well-greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Place a coconut “kiss” onto the top of each muffin and press in so nearly half the kiss is immersed in batter.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin batter comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy!

Okay a few things. One- I didn’t use dry coconut. I used regular sweetened coconut you buy in the supermarket. Also, I only used one cup of it. Because of this, my mixture was a bit “wetter” and didn’t stick together as well, so what I did was I just spooned it over the top of the muffins. Because of this, I ended up with amazing, coconut-y, crunchy tops on the muffins instead of a “kiss” in the center. So either which way you decide to do it, it’ll work out for you. I also used canned pumpkin, because that’s what I had. I ain’t gonna be choppin’ up pumpkins & pureeing them for muffins, ya heard? The liners are by Reynolds, the people who make the aluminum foil. Yes, I got them in the supermarket. They’re foil-lined, so the grease doesn’t seep through. I really like them, I wish they had more patterns. For $2.50 (or something like that), they were worth it.

These are, I’m told, some fantastical muffins. I should’ve stuck little vintage pumpkin toppers in them… eh, hindsight is 20/20. If you’re into pumpkin, I have a few recipes involving it, take a peek. And again, if you missed it, check out my “best of” Halloween post for more ideas. And have you seen my True Blood Velvet cupcakes? I’m excited for Halloween, aren’t you?

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  1. Whoa — these look awesome, and I am totally making them the way YOU made them. The tops of those muffins are making me drool!

  2. These taste great. However the batter seems to require 24 individual cups not 12. I followed the recipe exactly and the muffins, during baking, flowed over. They are also a little crunchy inside from the cornmeal (and I used fine ground). I think next time (and I’ll make these again cuz they are tasty) I’ll make 24 muffins and change my ratio of wheat to cornmeal. I’ll knock the cornmeal down to just 1/2 cup and add 1/2 of wheat flour. I think it’ll make a more balanced grit. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Amy- some of mine overflowed too, I assumed because of the way I did it (without the “balls” but just with the topping). Thank you for the input, I’m sure it’ll help anyone who’s looking to make these!

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