½ cup unsweetened, unflavored applesauce (organic preferred)
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¾ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten slightly
1 1/3 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 cup canned pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/3 cups cornmeal (white or yellow)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon sea salt
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
Place a wire mesh strainer over a bowl deep enough to keep the bottom of the strainer from touching the bowl's bottom; add applesauce and set aside. Place the oven rack in the center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a standard-size muffin tin (or tins) with cooking spray; you'll need 18 muffin cups. Set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, eggs, buttermilk and pumpkin purée until well blended. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well. Measure 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) of drained applesauce and add it along with the melted butter to the bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Spoon batter into the muffin tins, filling each about two-thirds full. Slam muffin tin down on kitchen counter several times to release air bubbles. Place in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, turning pan 180 degrees after first 10 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the tops are set.
Makes about 18 muffins.
Nutrition values per muffin: 155 calories (23 percent from fat), 3.9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 25.9 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g fiber, 3.6 g protein, 44 mg cholesterol, 218 mg sodium.