12 November 2012

Eats: pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

I’m not sure what it is, you guys. Maybe it’s because I walk outside every day and get a nice healthy dose of sunshine (Mr. P calls it “recharging my solar batteries”). Maybe it’s because St. Louis temperatures truly are milder for longer, making this fall season longer than the one week or so of fall we got in Nashville.

Whatever it is, this year, I am finding it harder and harder to hate on the fall season as I normally do. I am even... dare I say it... getting in the fall spirit.

This is new to me. I’ve never loved fall. I usually openly disdain fall as the harbinger of the Cold and Dark Times. But this year... this year I wanted pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. And by golly, we had some.

I made this recipe up myself, though it was heavily based on the three-ingredient pumpkin bread recipe that heavily circulated last year (Katie from ABP was one of many who wrote about it). I too made it as a contribution to the family Thanksgiving smorgasbord – considering I was simultaneously writing and defending a dissertation, a three-ingredient shortbread (just canned pumpkin, spices, and spice cake mix) was about all I could handle. But honestly, Mr. P and I and perhaps the rest of the family didn’t love it that much, which is why I never wrote about it. It was a bit dry and the texture was weird, which made the allure of “only three ingredients”... less so.

So I added a few things to the recipe, as shown here, and gave it another try this year:

Spice cake mix, canned pumpkin, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, milk chocolate chips, and a bit of water. More than three ingredients but much tastier!

Oh! And please note that, in all photos below, I’m making a single batch, which uses just ONE box of spice cake mix. There’s two boxes shown in the photo above only because I decided to make two batches in one day. Do not let me mislead you, dear reader! I didn’t want half a can of pumpkin leftover and also I wanted two dozen muffins, dang it. But if you are okay with leftover pumpkin and just a dozen muffins, you only need one box of cake mix.

Ok, here goes! Start with a box of cake mix, then add half a can of pumpkin and a heaping teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

Added spice to spice cake mix, mmmm. (If you managed to find pre-spiced pumpkin, you can probably skip the extra spice.)

Then add two eggs and – don’t forget – a quarter-cup of water. That water is crucial, even if you can’t see it in the photo.

Once the eggs and water are combined, stir in half a bag chocolate chips:

And that’s it for the muffin batter! So easy, I didn’t even bust out the KitchenAid mixer!

Add the batter to a greased muffin tin:

These will puff up quite a bit, so if you’re a fan of muffin tops (the kind you eat, not the kind that result from eating), go ahead and fill up the pan. I stuck with mostly-full to get a little muffin top.

Then bake them as directed on the spice cake box!

Which....by the by... I threw away. So I can’t tell you here how I baked them. I think it was something like 350 degrees for twenty minutes? Hmm. That could be way off. Whatever, do what the box tells you.

After baking at some temperature for some amount of time....

Oh yes! That’s a reason to love fall, right there.

I am seriously reconsidering that “harbinger of doom” business.

Not only did these come together super quickly, they were way better than the three-ingredient version. A few eggs, water, chocolate chips, and – dare I say it – a little less pumpkin makes for a much tastier fall-inspired muffin.

Hope you can enjoy these and love fall a little more, too!