The Law of Shortages

January 30th, 2010

Remember back in October when everyone was freaking out over the supposed pumpkin shortages? That was a little scary. I remember thinking to myself, “hm, better go get some pumpkin so I can make my annual pumpkin cupcakes, plus a little extra.” So I bought two cans. Because I am poor and have very little cabinet space in my Brooklyn kitchen.

Baking up so nice and puffy.

Baking up so nice and puffy.

I finally got around to cracking open that can this morning when I decided to make muffins for breakfast as kind of a celebratory thing after graduation from pastry school yesterday.

Hello muffin.

Hello muffin.

Let me tell you, it was really nice to just bake something simple and delicious in the comfort of my own kitchen, without having to wait for ten other people to finish measuring out their flour before I could have a crack at it. Though the extra workspace in the school’s kitchens will be missed…

Wishing I could present these in smell-o-vision.

Wishing I could present these in smell-o-vision.

This is an idea I had a few months ago, originally intended to take the form of a simple loaf, but turned into muffins because, well, I almost never make muffins, and muffins are great!

Crunchy yummy nutty topping!

Crunchy yummy nutty topping!

The best part about switching to muffins? I added “muffins” to the end of my search on Google and was able to find THE PERFECT recipe that I only tweaked a little bit.

If you're trying to hide, muffin, it won't work. You WILL be devoured.

If you're trying to hide, muffin, it won't work. You WILL be devoured.

I added some of the awesome gingerbread spice blend I still have lying around, which made the apartment smell AMAZING while these were baking. It was really exciting walking into the kitchen, smelling them and knowing that breakfast was totally going to rule.

Buttery, sugary pecans? YES.

Buttery, sugary pecans? YES.

I had wanted to add a streusel topping but didn’t feel like actually making one, so I crumbled up some whole pecans and coated them in melted butter and brown sugar. These need probably about double the amount I put on them, but I only had a little brown sugar left after mixing the batter. They’d also be great plain, but when the choice is between buttery, sweet toasted nuts or none at all…yeah.

The finest muffins that ever graced my muffin pan.

The finest muffins that ever graced my muffin pan.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins (adapted from RecipeGirl)

  1. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  3. 1/4 cup molasses
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 cup pumpkin
  6. 1 3/4 cup AP flour
  7. 1 tsp baking soda
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 1 1/2 tsp gingerbread spice blend

Preheat the oven to 350. In a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer, beat the butter with the brown sugar and molasses until creamed and fluffy. Beat in the egg, scraping down the bowl after incorporating it, then add the pumpkin and do the same. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk to combine, then add to the rest of the batter and mix slowly until just incorporated. The batter will be thick enough to scoop almost-full ice cream scoops into a line muffin tin.

Buttery Pecan Topping

  1. 2 Tbsp butter
  2. 1/4 cup pecans, crumbled into large pieces (I don’t like to chop if there’s not a huge quantity because of all the dusty little pieces of nut you get from chopping)
  3. 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

Melt the butter (I just put mine into a microwave-safe pint container and zapped for 30 seconds) and stir in the pecans to coat. Stir in the brown sugar, breaking up any clumps. Sprinkle over the muffin batter just before baking.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before eating. Makes 12 muffins.

These muffins are pretty much the best muffins ever. They have a soft, almost cakey texture when warm and fresh, and are a little denser once fully cooled. They’re irresistible and fragrant while hot, but the pumpkin and gingerbread flavors are much more pronounced after they’ve been sitting on the counter for a while. All around awesome and a great way to start any day!

9 Responses to “The Law of Shortages”

  1. Feeling poor with limited kitchen space…I feel ya! The food in your photos always manages to look really cute…like it knows something we don’ know and is being all coy about it.

    ps: Congratulatioins on your graduation!

  2. Yayyy! Glad they turned out, and thanks for the nice tweets too :)

  3. Y says:

    Looks so agonisingly tasty! How I wish there was smell-o-vision too!

  4. jenny says:

    congratulations on graduating from pastry school! that’s so exciting. someday i hope to go, but for now i’m waiting to graduate regular college… only 4 months to go!

    i also stocked up on pumpkin when someone told me it would go away, and i still have a can. perhaps i’ll break these out. look delicious =)

  5. Connie says:

    I will eat anything and everything pumpkin! And the topping looks so good!

  6. Hannah says:

    Ohh congrats about pastry school! And these look lovely… especially the topping. I think I’d make that to eat on its own :D

  7. LunaPierCook says:

    They do look tasty, and I assume were best when warm with a nice glass of cold milk. Congrats on the graduation!

  8. Ana says:


    did you give a big speech all about what sugar now means to you?

  9. Congratulation on gradutating from pastry school! These sound delicious! I love the idea of topping them with buttered pecans instead of an icing! :D

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