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      Mary Anne's Smashing Pumpkin Cupcakes

      2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, be sure to sift before measuring

      1 Tablespoon baking powder

      1/2 teaspoon baking soda

      1/2 teaspoon salt

      3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

      1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

      1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

      1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)

      1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

      2 eggs, beaten until frothy

      1 cup "smashed" cooked or canned pumpkin puree

      3/4 cup whole milk

      3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts

      • In a medium-size bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs. Blend in "smashed" pumpkin puree.
      • Stir in the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk, blending until batter is smooth after each addition; stir in toasted pecans or walnuts. Spoon batter into well-greased and floured or paper-lined muffin pan cups. Fill about 2/3 full.
      • Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Frost with cream cheese frosting, whipped cream, or leave plain. Cool and then frost.

      Makes about 24 cupcakes.

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      Cream Cheese Pumpkin Frosting

      1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

      1/2 cup pureed pumpkin

      1 teaspoon vanilla extract

      1 teaspoon cinnamon

      1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

      5 Tablespoons packed brown sugar

      2-4 Tablespoons powdered sugar, optional to thicken frosting if needed

      Toasted pecans or walnuts, for garnish, optional

      Candy corn, optional

      • For the frosting, combine the softened cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar and powdered sugar, if using, until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes. If desired, garnish with toasted pecans, walnuts, or candy corn. Serve and enjoy.
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