I like to bake.
That’s an understatement. I’ve hopped up at 11:30 at night and thought to myself “I could go to sleep, or I could make scones.” And I make scones.
If I wake up before the kids on a school day, I’m as likely to make them muffins as put out cereal for them. I lie. I am way more likely to make them muffins.
When we’re snowed in back home, I set out boots and coats for the kids, then I make clafoutis.
I force my family to celebrate the Feast of the Kings, just so I have the chance to make a galette des Rois.
I get excited about bake sales.
My head tells me it is not true, but my heart (and my stomach) believe that yes, you can create happiness out of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. You can give love by giving food. It’s a sacred contract that defies all recommended caloric intake restrictions.
I’m not fussy about it, either. I don’t sift. I don’t fret about exact amounts. A coffee cup full of cherries, a handful of almonds, teaspoons measured in the creases of my palm, cinnamon added by smell, not by measure … it all works out. If it bakes up weird, I turn it into trifle. Baking works.
I’ve struggled the past several weeks without my kitchen, my cookwear, my spices … The last thing I baked in our US home was corn muffins. On September 15th. Because I remember these sorts of things. Because I am insane. It’s been almost 2 months since I baked anything.
Last week I was whinging and moaning about being homesick and not having pumpkin puree. A local American, who shall be forever known to me as Pumpkin Angel, gave me four 15oz cans of pumpkin puree. This … this was a sign. Time to make do with whatever I could find in our makeshift kitchen and make my son’s absolute favorite in the world pumpkin muffins.
They’re not fancy, although you could fancy them up with chocolate chips or pecans or an orange glaze frosting or soak them in rum or … well, let’s not get carried away right out of the gate. The basic batter is dead simple and if I can make these muffins in my kitchen with no mixing bowls, not knowing how the oven heats, unfamiliar with the local ingredients, you can make them too.
First Child’s Favorite Pumpkin Muffins:
3 1/3 C flour
2 t baking soda
2 C sugar
1 t salt
1 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t ground ginger
Mix dry ingredients and add:
1 C oil
2/3 C water
2 C pumpkin
Preheat oven to 350F. Fill greased muffin pan 2/3 full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until center pops back when gently pressed. Makes about 2 dozen larger muffins or approximately 40 mini muffins. These freeze and reheat very well, so you might as well bake extra so you can serve them up with breakfast later.
Let’s review those steps:
Muffins 2/3 full.
(I don’t usually use muffin cups, and with all the oil this batter is not going to stick, but I wasn’t sure about this new muffin tin or how everything would bake, so I was being cautious.)
I pop them out and let them cool on their sides for about 10 minutes before I let the children
devour eat them.
Happiness tastes like pumpkin today. I’m going to have one right now. Happy baking.