It was the first day that I felt like hibernating. The kind of day that you want to spend in a kitchen, warm from the oven, fuzzy slippers padding beneath you, with a pot of hot coffee on the table and a friend with whom to chat. The type of day when the overcast skies outside my window were not a source of gloom, but welcome. Because inside, the smell of baking pumpkin made everything cozy.
I ditched my routine and did just that.
On that brisk day, I met with a friend – it was a get together that was months in the making, and we were finally able to spend the morning chatting about photography and children and life in general. I had planned to have Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip & Walnut Muffins ready by the time she arrived, but found myself still measuring ingredients and creaming butter as we chatted. I scooped some cinnamon chips and warned her that I was playing around with something new.
I’m glad she didn’t mind.
The aroma of cinnamon and pumpkin began to swirl in the kitchen, teasing our tastebuds. When they emerged, we called her little one over for a taste. Just when I thought her gorgeous blue eyes could not get any bigger, they brightened even more at her first nibble, and my heart melted. Her muffin disappeared and she asked for more. Here was a little darling who loved each bite of warm pumpkin, gooey cinnamon chips and morsels of walnut!
I hope you do, too.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip & Walnut Muffins
If you love pumpkin and cinnamon, this muffin is for you! The cinnamon chips bring that extra oomph to each bite and there is nothing better than settling into a cozy chair with a mug of coffee and one of these brown beauties. Actually, make that two. That way you don't have to get up for more.
3 C all-purpose flour
3 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp baking powder
12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 C light brown sugar
4 large eggs
15 oz fresh or canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 C milk
3/4 cup cinnamon chips
3/4 cup crushed walnuts
Preheat the oven to at 35o° F. Lightly coat 2 muffin tins with cooking spray.
Whisk or sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the brown sugar and mix. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla and milk, and mix well.
Add the flour mixture and slowly mix until just combined. Stir in the cinnamon chips and walnuts.
Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 22 minutes, or until it is a gorgeous brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let it rest for about 3 minutes before carefully removing from the tin. If they are not releasing easily, give it a little more time to rest then try again.
Adapted from Pumpkin Bread, Food & Wine Magazine, November 1998.