The falling orange-yellow leaves make poets and dreamers of us all. There is the slightest nip in the early morning air as you walk out the front door. The sky is an intense expanse of azure, interrupted only by the occasional pillow patches of silver tinted clouds. The ground is moist from the newly fallen dew, visible droplets still hanging on the balding tree boughs and clinging to shy, late blooming petals. The monotony of those vapid summer days is supplanted by the mellow breezes that whisper through the leaves, and the leaves, in turn, whimsically dance to greet the wind. Like I said, the transition of the seasons make poets of us all.
This reverie has me longing for some comforting companions – warm cider and spiced pumpkin goodies; hot coco and a good novel; quilted blankets and plush cushions – I’m all set for a day inside, as my window is illuminated by a contrasting scene of colored leaves ready to leave the branch with a grey sky backdrop. And if I’m daring, I’ll even step outside to catch the breeze, smell the damp earth, and step on that extra crunchy leaf. If you haven’t yet guessed it, autumn is upon us.
And to mark the passage of the seasons, this entry begins my celebration of the season’s best flavors – warm and deep coffees. Rich and creamy pumpkin. Spicy and bold ginger and cinnamon. Decadent dark chocolate. Sweet and crunchy persimmons. Oh, what joy awaits us! (Wordsworth)
Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes
I found these on Patent and the Pantry. This is a wonderfully delicate alternative to a denser pumpkin muffin r cake, and not too heavy on the palate. It leaves room for a nice large mug of white chocolate mocha or spicy apple cinnamon cider, if that is more to your taste. Over the weekend, Kari and Piggy managed to clean out half the batch, without any help. Good thing I had already packed a few for Jamie & Hai, or else no one would have gotten any. These can be accompanied by a cream cheese frosting, but are beautiful standalone. I absolutely love pumpkin, and this recipe really showcases the pumpkin taste. The spices really complement the pumpkin, adding depth and complexity to such a simple recipe. Also, I glazed mine with a honey/powdered sugar, as I am not a huge fan of frosting, BUT these would be delicious with your favorite cream cheese frosting.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I doubled this because I love nutmeg.)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice [didn’t have, so used cloves instead]
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 350F.
In one bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and the spices.
In another bowl, whisk together butter, both sugars, and eggs. Slowly add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Add pumpkin puree last, and fold in thoroughly.
Fill prepared muffin pan (either cupcake liners or buttered) 2/3 of the way with batter. Bake for about 18-22 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops spring back when touched. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to rack to cool completely. Frost if desired. If not, EAT and ENJOY.
So this begins the first of many autumn entries. I know that our hectic lives can sometimes overwhelm us, and we can don’t even noticing the voluminous clouds overhead or the virginal mossy soil waiting to be stepped in. So stop for a moment – and appreciate the autumn leaves. They are calling to us. They are reminding us. They beckon us to remember and appreciate the present. The changing of time is swift, and many things in life are transitory and ephemeral, just like those leaves. But stop, just for a moment, and surrender yourself to it. And just for that moment, feel the entire world at peace. Feel the entire world, with all its worries and stress, held at bay.
Fall makes dreamers and poets of us all.
Fall makes dreamser, poets, and philosophers of us all.
Farewell Fall Foodies!