It’s November! Just last week, kids (and many adults, myself included) were getting their costumes ready to dress up as something other than themselves for one day, and now it’s time to prepare for Thanksgiving. While there are many inventive recipes for the season (e.g. pumpkin pie is too ordinary, it should be salted caramel pumpkin macarons or something snazzy like that instead), I am pretty eager for the traditional turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Creativity is certainly appreciated, but maybe there’s a part of me that wishes life didn’t change so much or so quickly, that we could still hold on to some part of our memories and customs and not worry about trying to do something unconventional or new all the time. Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are like that for me–a kind of sentimental time for reflection–and food is such a significant experience in celebrating that I can’t help but associate it closely with the symbolism of the season.
But I digress. I made these pumpkin muffins to bring to a dinner before Halloween with some friends and their kids. Despite the many pumpkin desserts on all the food blogs out there, I’m still not sick of pumpkin yet. And even though muffins are typically a breakfast item, the cream cheese frosting gives it the right touch to make them a delight after a warm meal on a chilly evening (for us in California, that means below 70 degrees). There is nothing fashionable or innovative about this recipe; they’re pretty much your customary pumpkin muffins. But they are gratifying, and when sharing with good friends, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to mess with a good thing.
Recipe notes: While this recipe is simple, the Bouchon Bakery cookbook does recommend letting the batter rest overnight, which will allow the flavors to develop. Given all the spices in this recipe, that’s a good idea, so that when they come out of the oven, you can have warm muffins with more matured flavors. My friends also thought they muffins could be a little sweeter–which is surprising, since I find most recipes to err on the side of being too sweet. (I could tell that the kids weren’t that excited about the muffins, which is a sure sign that something isn’t sweet enough). The proportions I provide are what I used, but you can try adding just a little sugar if you’re not having the muffin with the frosting (which would also add sweetness).