When you don't want your pumpkin in loaf form, try it as muffins.
This recipe is adapted from The Quick Recipe, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine. Even though their recipes undergo rigorous testing, sometimes I feel the need to make adjustments based on my individual preferences. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of dark brown sugar, but I find that the muffins are already really sweet, since the recipe uses pumpkin pie filling, instead of plain canned pumpkin. I've reduced the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup, and that works just fine -- the muffins are flavorful without being cloying. If you only have light brown sugar, that'll work. The dark brown sugar adds a bit more molasses flavor, but it's not critical to the success of the recipe.
If you like more stuff in your muffins, you can add up to 1/2 cup of nuts, pumpkin seeds, dates, dried apricots, or raisins.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 18 to 22 minutes
Yield: 12 standard muffins
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin pie filling
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Optional: up to 1/2 cup chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, dates, apricots, or raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin (12 muffin-size) with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Whisk together the egg and brown sugar in a large bowl until combined. Add pumpkin pie filling to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Add the butter and stir vigorously until thick and homogeneous. Add half of the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the two begin to come together; then add the remaining dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. (If using optional ingredients, add now, stirring gently.)
Use an ice cream scoop or a large spoon to drop the batter into the greased muffin tin. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes (rotate the muffin tin from front to back halfway through the cooking time). Cool muffins in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack; cool for 10 more minutes before serving.