Tag Archives: recipe

Pumpkin Muffins Master Recipe

It’s probably too early for the annual pumpkin invasion, but honestly, I couldn’t wait. I went on allrecipes.com and found a nice mix of recipes, and mixed it into one monster muffin recipe. (It was interesting, like comparative literature for baked goods.)


Vital Ingredients (per 12 muffins)

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 7.5 oz of canned pumpkin (half of one of the Libby’s cans)
  • 2 eggs
  • .75 cup vegetable oil

This is the least customizable part of the recipe, so tread carefully. Omissions, substitutions, and variations are going to be more risky here than anywhere else. Baking soda, baking powder, and salt are more or less a constant, as is the pureed or canned pumpkin. Eggs are also pretty necessary.

The easiest ingredient to substitute is vegetable oil.  Some recipes don’t include it at all, others use butter or margarine. Some people put in milk, soy milk, or yogurt instead. I am keeping the vegetable oil in the mix because it worked when I used it, and it means that the muffins are conveniently lactose-free. The flour can also be buckwheat or gluten free instead of all purpose, and some people use honey, maple syrup, or light brown sugar instead of white sugar.

Suggested Flavoring (per 12 muffins)

  • .5 tsp cinnamon
  • .25 tsp allspice
  • .25 tsp ginger
  • .25 tsp nutmeg
  • .25 tsp ground cloves
  • .25 cup molasses
  • .25 tsp vanilla extract

Not all of these are necessary to make the muffin tasty. In fact, all of these flavors combined might be overkill for a refined palate. Still, at least one of these ingredients should be included in the mix, though, because otherwise the muffins are going to be very bland. Remember that pumpkin doesn’t have much of a flavor; most of the pumpkin spice hype comes from allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Cinnamon is the strongest and the easiest to recognize, but the others round it out.

By the way, the McCormick pumpkin pie spice is a combination of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. It’s an option, but I like adding the spices individually because it gives me more control.

Pick an Addition (per 12 muffins)

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • .25 cup pecans (or walnuts, or basically any nut)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups apple chunks
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1 cup rasins
  • .25 cup pumpkin seeds

All of these ingredients together will be too much, but one or two together will be all right. I go by a two-cup limit, and scale back the portions if I need to.

How to Make It


  • Muffin tin
  • Nonstick spray (optional)
  • Muffin tin liners/papers
  • Two mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Rubber spatula

Heat Source

  • Oven

How You Do It

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s an option to spray the muffin pan here, but unless the muffins are monstrous mountains it’s more or less safe to leave the pan unsprayed. Insert the muffin liners here.
  2. Whisk the the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, the salt, and spices, if using. Basically, put in all of the dry stuff except for the sugar. (Note: some recipes suggest doing the wet components first. I prefer it this way because I only use one whisk, and mixing flour with a wet whisk irritates me.)
  3. Whisk the wet stuff and the sugar. Start with the eggs and the sugar, then add the pumpkin and vegetable oil. If using molasses or applesauce, add it in here.
  4. Add the dry stuff into the wet stuff and whisk them together until incorporated. If using vanilla extract, add it in here.
  5. Fold* in the extra component, make sure that it’s incorporated into the batter. It might be a good idea to set some aside, to insert manually into individual muffins, but most of it should go into this step.
  6. Using a .333 cup measure and a spoon, fill the individual muffin tins with batter. If using something like apples or nuts, put a little nut or apple chunk on top of the muffin. It’s a nice touch.
  7. Bake the muffins for twenty minutes or so. Rotating the pan after ten minutes is a good idea: the back of the pan usually cooks faster than the front. It’s pretty easy to tell when muffins are done, because when the tops are solid and dry the muffins can be taken out of the oven.
  8. Storage is pretty easy. Muffins can last about a week uncovered and at room temperature. Putting them in a container makes them last longer. Muffins don’t do well in the refrigerator, and while they may fare better in the freezer, it’s best just to keep them out in a dry, safe place.



There are so many people with pumpkin muffin recipes out there.

We have to start with allrecipes, because all of these pumpkin chocolate chip recipes were the inspiration for the article. Then when I was browsing for stuff to put in pumpkin muffins, there were recipes that included apples, bananas, pecans, raisins, everything under the sun. One recipe even did a banana-apple-pumpkin mixBarb suggested extra pumpkin instead of an oil or dairy component, the Southern In-Law brought up gluten-free flour and honey instead of sugar. Ellie Krieger said pastry flour and brown sugar. It was a little overwhelming.

* “Fold” is a weird term. Here’s a resource. It basically means you use the spatula make a little pocket of batter around whatever is being added, and then stirring the component around a little.


My Favorite Way to Make Top Ramen

There are articles upon articles devoted to what you can do with ramen. Even entire websites. When I cook ramen, though, it’s usually because I’m too lazy to actually prepare anything. Recipes that involve cutting vegetables or cooking meat are usually out. Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few ingredients I like to throw in every once in a while.

Rice Vinegar and Mirin

This one came from the Momofuku cookbook that I found at my public library. There’s an honest-to-goodness ramen broth recipe in there, which is way too involved for me but still looked delicious. The main thing that I took out of the recipe was that there is a magical substance called mirin that has enough sweetness to balance out the tang of soy sauce. Seriously, mirin is great: it’s this rice cooking wine that costs $3-5 if you get the cheap Kikkoman kind.

I don’t know how I ended up substituting rice vinegar for soy sauce. Maybe it was because another recipe, the sushi rice recipe in one of my cookbooks, mixed rice vinegar and mirin as a sauce. Maybe I was making ramen one day and I didn’t have any soy sauce. In any case, I tried rice vinegar-mirin ramen one day and loved it.

What I do is I make stovetop ramen in a little saucepan. Proportions vary, but I mix the vinegar, the mirin, and the water in the pan before adding the noodles and the flavor packet. Then I boil it as per usual.

Adding an Egg

I learned this trick long before I learned about the existence of mirin. It started as a fried egg on top of the noodles. Then I learned that you can boil an egg in ramen, and that was the best thing ever. Less dishes to wash, more flavor in the broth.

So, Ultimately, This Is How You Make It


  • Rice Vinegar ($3 for 12 oz)
  • Mirin ($5 for 10 oz.)
  • Egg ($2 for a dozen)
  • Top Ramen ($2 for a dozen)


  • Saucepan

Heat Source

  • Stovetop
  1. Mix the rice vinegar, the mirin, and the water in the saucepan. Add noodles, bring to a boil.
  2. When the mixture is actually bubbling, crack an egg on the side of the saucepan and drop it in.
  3. Keep boiling the ramen. If you’re impatient, stir the egg around to get little wisps of cooked egg in the broth. If not, let it sit for a while.
  4. When the egg is cooked, take the ramen off heat and let it sit for a while.
  5. Consume immediately.

A note about boiling vinegar: it can leave a strong smell in the air. So if you share a kitchen with several people, ask them if they are okay with the vinegar fumes. If not, open a window when you cook, or use a fan.