Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Past Is Never Really Gone - Maybe Not Pumpkin Spice Either

In January we always talk about fresh starts and new ways. There is truth there since each moment provides a place/time for change and really everything is changing all the time. Still, the past never really goes away either. What we each do or don't do, the experiences we have, the love we give...all that has led us to today, to now. I've been thinking a lot about this since my older brother died in December. How did I become who I am? Have I been a good person, wife, mother, friend? What experiences have led me to be who I am? Which ones do I value?

This blog is, for me, a gateway to the cooking and baking experiences that have led me to this point in time. They are something that I value. I can look back and see how and where I developed skills in the kitchen. 2011 was a year where bread was a big influence (enough so that I created a post with links to all the breads I baked that year) and in the fall of 2008 I tried my first sourdough starter from grape skins, which was huge; I became a much better bread baker since I had a starter 'toss off' to use every week! I've now been blogging more than 13 years and baking with sourdough starter for over 11 years.

The Daring Bakers began with a handful of bakers who wanted to make the same recipe, together. It started in the beginning of 2007. I joined in March of 2007 when there were only 16 bakers, but it grew quite quickly as a baking group and later as a cooking and baking group. I only started blogging in the fall of 2006, so this was the first group I joined. We had a monthly challenge. Without the Daring Bakers I would never have learned to make choux paste (for things like eclairs and profiteroles), to make French macarons, to make a mirror cake, and much, much more. I also made good virtual friends through that group...I bake with some of them as a Bread Baking Babe. Later I joined the Cake Slice Bakers for a monthly challenge. These kinds of groups can be lots of fun as well as stretching me in the skills department.

I was looking at past posts on this blog last night. Somehow I settled on 2013 and looked at the heading for just about every post that year, and often at the post itself. There were 92 posts that year, so I had a real treasure trove of recipes to look at and, of course, some I'd forgotten about and some I wanted to make right away, like last night! Since I've discovered that as my brain gets older I don't cook or bake as well at night, I ignored those impulses. Still, I hope to soon make some of those recipes, starting with this one: Spicy Pumpkin Muffins with Creamy Filling. Of course I'll have to sub plant-based cream cheese and ricotta, but that should make it more interesting. I guess that is one of the major changes - no dairy - which makes baking more of a challenge. Of course, I've always loved a challenge! Will add photos of the actual bake here once it's done.

Look on the blog in 4 days for the latest Bread Baking Babes post, too. Still baking with the Babes since July, 2010!

Spicy Pumpkin Muffins with Creamy Filling
started with basic muffins in Joy of Cooking, then went wild

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs ( or ½ cup egg substitute)
1 cup canned pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt (Almond milk yogurt can be found now)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 oz. softened cream cheese (cashew based cream cheese is delicious)
4 oz. ricotta cheese (Kite Hill almond milk ricotta is wonderful!)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Sparkling sugar (sanding sugar) for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour (or use baking spray) one 12- cup muffin tin. Set aside.

In a large bowl or on a large sheet of waxed paper, measure out all of the dry ingredients and spices: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg. Mix together with a fork. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, pumpkin, oil, applesauce, brown sugar, molasses, yogurt and vanilla.

Put the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture bowl. With as few strokes as possible, combine the wet and dry ingredients. Do not over mix

In a small bowl, stir the cream cheese, ricotta cheese and sugar together until thoroughly mixed.
Fill the muffin cups about one third full with the batter, then, dollop on about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of the filling, then top the filling with more batter, dividing evenly among the cups. Sprinkle the tops with sparkling sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven 20 – 25 minutes, or until muffins spring back when the center is gently pressed. Filling may peek through. That's O.K.

Makes 12.

1 comment :

  1. What beautiful reflections, Elle! I really like that you are encouraging us to hold onto the things we have learned from the past, even as we move forward to the fresh and new.

    These muffins look delicious. They remind me of muffins I made eons ago with a similar filling that included marmalade in the cream cheese... silly me for forgetting that recipe. Thank you for reminding me with your recipe.