Pumpkin Muffins

9 Nov

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
4 eggs
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:

Put all the dry ingredients together.  Smells good.

Now mix them together.  Simple.

Do the same for the wet ingredients.

Side note: Yes, I have my dry ingredients in a casserole dish, and my wet ingredients in a sauce pan.  Because that’s how I roll.

Add the wet to the dry and stir.

Your batter will look like this.  Smells like pumpkin pie, but better.

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.)

In to the oven for about 25 minutes at 350F.

And there you go.

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.


17 Responses to “Pumpkin Muffins”

  1. Jeanne November 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    They look so good. I do not like to bake. But I like having friends who do!

  2. NGS November 10, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    Put some cream cheese frosting on those and you can call them pumpkin cupcakes!

  3. Venus November 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    I’m glad you found something to bake despite the limitations of your new environment — you clearly derive so much happiness from making goodies! And personally, I’m all behind you on that one. I found you blog from the NaBloPoMo blog roll. I look forward to reading your other stuff! Have a great day!

    • Monique November 11, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      Hi Venus, thanks for dropping in! I’ll go check out your blog now — =)

  4. Sarah November 11, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    On facebook I’m jealous, but oddly here I drool. There is only a snippet, so only a gut reaction. Here is love, devotion, and creation, which, yes, equals drool. I’m just being honest. I want to follow you around your kitchen helping you bake, and everytime you bark an order at me I can bow slightly and say, “yes, baker mistress!!”.

    • Monique November 11, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      The only order I’d give you would be to sit down, have a coffee, and ‘try this’. I have to think about what you’re saying re: FB snippets and bigger context here. Food, devotion, drool, jealousy, covetousness, creation, possession … that could be a french novel.

  5. Zazzy November 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    They look delicious! Can you get other winter squash there? Puree of acorn or butternut squash or sweet potatoes should give you similar tasty muffins. And yes, baking food and giving in times of celebration or consolation seems absolutely necessary to me.

    • Monique November 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

      Thanks Zazzy! (Is it freaky in that nothing-is-secret on the internet way if I call you Nancy? The pic on your about.me page is great) I hadn’t thought of trying squash muffins, that’s a great idea. I don’t think sweet potatoes are an english thing and I’m not sure how I’ll replace that for thanksgiving — parsnip pumpkin soup, maybe?

      • Zazzy November 13, 2011 at 4:03 am #

        It’s funny because very few people call me Nancy online – I’ve been Zazzy almost since I started but a lot of people know my real name. I just don’t always recognize it LOL.

        No sweet potatoes? That’s just sad!

      • Sarah November 13, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

        Have you found sweet potatoes yet? Been looking? I got them in my veg box regularly last fall.

      • Monique November 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

        No way, cool! My source for all knowledge — Google — had told me they were not common in the UK — I’ll start looking.

  6. Kristy November 19, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Don’t know if you’ve heard yet, but Waitrose sell cans of pumpkin puree, and it’s the real damn thing – Libbys! I found it near the pie fillings on the baking isle, but it’s often sold out this time of year. I’m gonna have to try these muffins, I think. I’ve already made three batches of my favorite pumpkin bread. I’m in a pumpkin coma. It’s awesome!

    • Monique November 19, 2011 at 10:37 am #

      Pumpkin coma — wonderful! The whole of November should be one long pumpkin coma!

  7. Daily Presents August 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    You reminded me that the way we met was by trading recipes through Mom’s club for I believe your pumpkin chocolate chip cookies…I don’t remember what I gave you in return. I am not as good a baker as you are, but so happy to call you my friend. 🙂

    • Monique August 3, 2012 at 9:26 am #

      ❤ Your note fills me with warm ginger and pumpkin-scented happiness. It was such a relief to find you at Mom's club, what a gift that was!


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