Spicy Pumpkin Carrot Muffins Submitted by:Christie Ison

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2 sticks unsalted butter @ room temp
1 3/4 c. dark brown sugar, packed, divided
2/3 c. molasses, unsulphured
2 eggs, beaten, @ room temp
14 oz. can pumpkin (or equivalent amount cooked, pureed pumpkin)
1-3.5 oz. container carrot baby food (or equivalent amount cooked, pureed carrot)
3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 c. dried cranberries, raisins or currants
1/4 c. almond slivers; walnut halves or pieces; or pecan halves or pieces
1/8 tsp. cayenne powder (smoked if you have it)
Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If using fresh, cooked pumpkin, strain puree for at least 30 minutes in cheesecloth or a wire sieve.

In a standing mixer, cream the butter at medium-high speed until soft and lightened in color. Add molasses and 1 1/2 c. of the brown sugar, beating until combined and light in texture.

Add the eggs, pumpkin and carrot, and mix on medium speed until blended.

In a separate bowl or on a flexible cutting board, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into wet ingredients and gently fold together, being careful not to overmix.

Fold in the cranberries, raisins or currants.

Using a spoon or large disher (what I used), fill muffin cups three-quarters full. Place three almond slivers in the middle of each muffin top, pointing up slightly in a radiating pattern. (If using walnut or pecan halves, place one at an upward angle in the middle of each muffin. If using pieces, sprinkle a small amount on each muffin.) Sprinkle muffins with remaining 1/4 c. brown sugar and with cayenne to taste.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.

State Fair

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I really love the Arkansas  State Fair and for the next two weeks I will be rerunning shows from 2003 -2004. I hope you go out and try all the crazy food and see the contest in the Arkansas Farm Bureau Arts and Craft Building. This is a fun schedule of events Oct 9th through the 17th. Go out and have some fun!