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Nov 3, 2009 07:26 PM

Why do pumpkin muffins use oil?

Well, it's that time of year again -- the canned pumpkins are blossoming on the trees around us, and pumpkin muffins are everywhere. I just have a simple question: why do pumpkin muffin recipes almost always use oil instead of butter? Is it because the pumpkin puree would weigh down a cakier, butter-based recipe? But if that's true, then why does the yogurt used along with butter in many muffin recipes not weigh them down?

I'll be pretty happy if you can answer any or all of these. Thanks!

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  1. I don't think pumpkin muffins are different from your run-of-the-mill "regular" muffins. Some prefer oil, others butter, and then there are those that use buttermilk or yogurt -- or some combo of all of the above.

    Personally, I always use either buttermilk or yogurt for muffins.

    1. You can always substitute applesauce for the oil. I do, with the pumpkin muffin recipe I use.

      1. If you aren't familiar with this already, read up on the cake-method v. the muffin-method.

        If the recipe uses the muffin-method, and melted butter, then substituting oil should make little difference, especially in a highly flavored pumpkin bread.

        I've been regularly making a pumpkin bread, following a recipe from Joy of Cooking, except that I white whole wheat and other whole grain flour, less sugar, and oil instead of butter. My aim was to produce a hearty, moist bread that I'd be happy eating for breakfast. I just looked again at the recipe and realized that it uses the cake-method (creaming butter with sugar before mixing it with the pumpkin etc), while I switched to using the muffin-method. At least on one occasion I forgot the oil, without adverse results.