Sunlight dappled trails. Cool breeze. Warm, soft golden light. My skin tingles with excitement, my legs pound the ground with renewed energy. Summer is at an end which means one thing: the most wonderful time of year is about to begin.
Fall is sliding into Yeosu with the beautiful gentleness that makes me love this season so much. A few leaves here and there have turned from brilliant green to warmer colors and fallen to the ground. The intense heat of summer is now just a memory, replaced by a calm, cool breeze. And the air, it smells so perfect, the scent of nature preparing for a long slumber, winding down after a gorgeous summer.
My heart soars.
This shifting of the seasons has me thinking about a lot of things, but first and foremost, it has me dreaming of baking again. My last few years at university I loved nothing more than to wake up and bake on a weekend morning in the fall. Warmth spreading from the oven. The smell of sweet breads wafting around the apartment. The pure joy of sharing a delight hot from the over. It is the perfect kind of morning and one I can’t wait to have again.
One of my absolute favorite things to bake is pumpkin muffins. I love pumpkin in baked goods and just thinking about it is enough to make my mouth water. Plus, muffins are so perfect. They are self contained, require no cutting and can be taken with me just about anywhere. Unfortunately, Korea does not have many ovens, so baking is sort of out of the question. Fortunately, however, I will be heading back to the states in two months and the first morning back I’m going to hit the kitchen. Pumpkin muffins are in order!
This is my recipe for pumpkin muffins. If I remember correctly, it was adapted during my short time as a vegan when I was allergic to dairy, so no eggs or milk. I also do not like cooking with lots of butter or too much oil, so I try to cut it in half with applesauce, which works perfectly. This recipe makes a ton of muffins (or three giant loaves of bread), which freeze well, if you don’t eat them all first!
2-2 1/2 cups sugar (it is up to you, less works out just fine too!)
1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil)
1/2 -3/4 cup of applesauce
2 cups pumpkin, or one can (15 ounces) of pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3 cups flour
1/3-2/3 cup oat bran
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ teaspoons salt
optional: raisins, cranberries, nuts, seeds or chocolate chips (I prefer raisins and almonds)
Mix together sugar, oil, applesauce, pumpkin and water until everything is no longer separated. Add in dry ingredients. The batter will be like cake batter. Pour into muffins tins or three greased bread pans and bake at 350°F, 20-30 minutes for muffins, 60-70 minutes hour for bread, or until golden brown.