COOKING ADVENTURE #68: Pumpkin Muffins
Let me be clear: I made a batch of these delicious muffins last week. So why didn’t I write a Cooking Adventure then? Because I ate them all and didn’t take a picture. Yup, you heard right. I ATE THEM ALL. It also literally took me ten minutes to whip up the batter and a half an hour to cook them the first time… so I didn’t really think there was much narration that could happen from there. But, I knew I had to stick with it and if sticking with it means that I have to make another batch of scrumptious muffins… well, who can say no to that? I probably should have. This 2nd batch as it turns out was the more difficult of the two, resulted in more errors, and was for all intents and purposes, a true “adventure”. The one before? A mere frolic. I will say though, these muffins were to die for. I will most definitely be making these again in the future. One is a perfect amount to take with you in the morning on your commute to work. And… it’s pumpkin. It rocks because of that fact. Need I say more?
I had been dying to make some pumpkin muffins ever since I picked up a couple from the local supermarket the other day. They were amazing, moist, but cakey, and didn’t fall apart… the perfect consistency. I figured that I was going to have to find a pretty kick ass recipe if I wanted mine to be as good as those. And while I didn’t find one that was quite as moist, the one that I did happen upon only used one egg which was ideal for me… because I only had one egg.
The first time I made the recipe it was before work last Wednesday morning. I literally put all of the ingredients together and baked them just before I had to be off and there was nothing better than bringing a warm, just-out-of-the-oven muffin to work. But as I said, I loved them so much that the fact that it had been a cooking adventure at all completely slipped my mind. Before the end of the week, I’d eaten them all and realized I’d have to make another batch. So on Monday afternoon, after doing the ridiculous pile of dishes in the sink, I set about doing the task.
I managed to injure myself before doing any kind of measuring, mixing, or cooking. If you’ve read other cooking adventures, you know that I seem to have an affinity for doing this.
My kitchen is pretty small. The drawers that hold all of my kitchen utensils are above a set of cupboards that have my mixing bowls. There’s about a 1/4 inch space between the two. I had rested my thumb on the top of the cabinet and pulled out the drawer over it with significant force in order to get to my measuring cups. Instant burning pain ignited the base of my thumbnail on fire. I ran to the bathroom and immediately dowsed it in icy water. It bled. It reeeeeeaaaallllly hurt.
After taking care of the injury, I returned, somewhat timidly plucking the measuring cup from the open drawer and pushing it closed. Into one glass mixing bowl, I measured 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 1/3 cups white sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda (which I managed to spill all over the place), 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, and 1 tsp cinnamon… and then some. The original recipe calls for adding pumpkin pie spice… but I’ve already stated in an earlier cooking adventure that it’s pointless to buy a bottle of spices that you already own. While I sifted all of these things together, I listened to an enthralling episode of “Destination Truth” in which they searched for a yeti. Little known fact, I am very, very into cryptozoology and love all of the corny reality television shows where people try to prove that they exist. But mostly, I watch Destination Truth for the humor of Josh Gates. Sexy adventuring guy searching for a yeti. That’s what fueled my muffin mania that day.
After I had all of the dry ingredients mixed, I pulled out a smaller glass mixing bowl and mixed together 1/3 cup of oil, 1 egg, and some canned pumpkin. I say “some” because I have no idea what the exact measurement was. The original recipe only calls for a cup. That’s not NEARLY enough for me. I added probably 2 to 2 1/2 cups of it and then whisked it all together. Then, dumping (I originally wrote “dumpking”) that pumpkin goo into the dry ingredients, I carefully stirred everything together until I got a smooth paste, that smelled of fall. I’m one of those people who misses fall all year round. Even if its autumn I miss it because I know it will be gone soon. Don’t judge me.
Retrieving my muffin pan from the cupboard below the devilish drawer, I put it on the stove and began spooning my batter into each cup. The first time I made this recipe, I made just enough so that all of the cups were full to the top with batter (I like it when my muffins are bigger on the top. (Why did that sentence seem strange to me?) This time however, I had just enough to fill ten of the cups leaving two empty. I put it into the oven at 350 and baked them for 30 minutes.
While I waited, I decided to test out some of my new tea that just arrived from Adagio Teas. In an earlier post, I talked about how I’d come up with some Monstrum Chronicles inspired tea blends for my book series. I have ten, each one based on a character from the series. I’d ordered three of them to test out. I was really excited to try Torrent’s blend which is a honeybush/blood orange blend with notes of coffee and chocolate in it. I let it steep for about five minutes which is the recommended time for a red tea. But after tasting it, I was sad to discover that it tasted kind of bitter. However, after adding a bit of honey to it, it turned the tea around and it tasted 100% better.
Soon, the timer went off and I opened my oven to a warm rush of heat, allowing the scents of nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin to invade the kitchen and the rest of the apartment in a matter of moments. I let them cool for a few minutes before prying one out of the tin and tasting it with my tea. The top was crispy which is one of the things I love about muffins. The rest of it was warm and kept its shape well. Just the right amount of spice to really heighten the pumpkin flavor. I would really love to get a muffin tin with bigger cups so that I can do some bigger pumpkin muffins at some point. That would just be incredible.
Next week on Cooking Adventures, I’ll be attempting a daring Panamanian Pink Potato Salad recipe from the Foy Update blog. Stay tuned!