Sunday, December 2, 2007

Greeting the morning, a pumpkin muffin in hand

Light is dancing upon my bedroom wall in beautiful ways this morning.

I hate drawn curtains (except when commonsense privacy calls for them), and I abhor blinds (there is never an appropriate time for these to be closed -- they should be banned!). My favorite thing to wake up to in the morning is light streaming into my room. It's as if the day has brought me its greeting before I have opened my eyelids. The world is waiting, so wake up!

This morning the world is in a bit of a frenzy, judging by the sunlight projected into my room. It is streaming through the millions of leaves on the oak tree outside my window, and the wind is simultaneously blowing them every which way. The resulting mobile art upon my wall is fragmented light with circular patches and varying gusts of emotion. Frenzy.

Strangely, the frenzy isn't contagious. I suppose the effect is like a thunderstorm -- it is outside my peaceful cocoon, so I am able to sit back and take in its wonder while remaining warm and dry and safe.

I am enjoying a quiet Sunday morning and pondering what do to with the remaining half-can of pumpkin in my fridge. I made half a batch of pumpkin muffins Friday morning in defiance of my better judgement (I had two hours to cram for a quiz, and I used part of that time to prepare these muffins). The quiz turned out fine, though, and the muffins even better. The thing is, I had not been looking for a new pumpkin muffin recipe. My mom has supplied me with plenty that are not only nostalgic but spicy, sweet, chunky, and (always) dreamy...her pumpkin chocolate chip muffins...oh my!

But thanks to my recipe-swapping friend and cooking companion, Katie, I happened upon these muffins. I think the first batch she shared with me had been baked a little longer than the second because it was not love at first sight. But when Katie and I had them together again, and we were agreeing upon their simplicity, sparks started to fly between me and that muffin. In fact, the rest of that morning I kept reliving its taste in my mouth. The straightforward pumpkin flavor, the nutty pumpkin seeds, and the near-gooey center that was almost like a spoonful of pumpkin squash.

I don't usually like to describe my muffins as gooey and that's not really the word I'm going for, but this muffin handles the concept beautifully. It may seem like I went a little overboard with the idea playing on my tastebuds because I put half of the can of pumpkin into my already halved batch (the original recipe calls for 1 cup total), but the result really was perfect! The outside was able to bake up well and hold form, but the texture within still satisfyingly melted in my mouth.

Double Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Women's Health Magazine
(also available online)

Makes 12 muffins.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can canned solid-pack plain pumpkin
3/4 cup skim milk
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons olive oil*
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Set aside.

3. In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, egg, and oil until smooth.

4. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture in 2 batches, stirring until just incorporated (a few lumps are fine). Stir in seeds.

5. Lightly coat cups of nonstick 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among cups (each should be about 2/3 full).

6. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean and tops are just turning golden brown, about 25 minutes.** (If using silicone, reduce baking time slightly.) Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin.

*I got a little nervous during the mixing process because I kept smelling the olive oil, but once baked it disappeared completely.

**To make sure these muffins were still soft in the middle, I pulled them out four minutes early.

Note: These muffins are not particularly sweet, but I like them that way. Nevertheless, I sprinkled some raw sugar on top for looks.


Caryn said...

Yummy delicious! My mouth is watering! And the dancing light sounds lovely!

brealrosey said...

pumpkin is such a good idea!

I made 2 batches of pumpkin soup over the past month based on the Joy Of Cooking recipe. the first time I basically followed the rules and the next time I tweaked them. I veganized it and splashed in some Tobasco. Oh so delicious.

The second time I did have come pumpkin left so one saturday I made pumpkin spice pancakes. Being without sryup I melted some brown sugar in a pat of butter. Good Lord.... what a deliight!

What should we make when you come over? Oh the options...

Lael said...

Caryn: It's lovely to hear your voice on my blog! thanks, deary.

B: Mmm, pumpkin, it really is wonderful, isn't it. Your invented syrup sounds divine, I'm going to have to try it with the pumpkin pancakes in my freezer!...I am so excited to wine and dine with you soon!

Rachael said...

hey, sweetie~
what size can of pumpkin?

Lael said...

oh dear, thanks for catching that mom. I'll be sure to adjust it!