Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Muffins: perfection in four ingredients.

The vast majority of recipes that I bookmark are for sweets. I have a very strong natural attraction to anything frosted, sugar-coated, or fudge-dipped. I diligently label, organize, and set away each new recipe I stumble upon, dreaming all the while of how my new find will taste...

However, I am the victim of a great dilemma: Indulge in every sweet/treat recipe (which would, necessarily, call for a lot of taste testing) or keep my self-proclaimed title of health food junkie? Depending on the recipe at hand, this is seriously a question that has kept me up at night...

My solution is quite simple. I just take advantage of every opportunity to provide desserts for my friends. A party? I'll bring the cupcakes! A hard test coming up? Here, snack on some homemade cookies! Parents coming to town? Impress them with this pie! So the trend continues...

Really, I believe my system of bake-and-give is best for everyone: I get to indulge my desire to test new recipes, sneak in a small sample, and then give the rest away to eager and grateful college students... this is seriously a good way to make some loyal friends!

Despite a great collection of recipes just calling out to be tested, my most recent endeavor into baking was actually for my tried-and-true Pumpkin Spice Muffins. For weeks, I had festered away the necessary ingredients, ready to jump on any excuse to bake. Just as the final leave of autumn dropped from the tree branches, an opportunity appeared: new neighbors!

Without hesitation, I immediately gathered the ingredients. In no time, the muffins were ready. Fresh from the oven to the door of my latest friends (again, homemade treats are the best way to make new buddies!), with maybe a leftover muffin or two for me!

The best part about this recipe, even more than the spicy-sweet aroma that fills the kitchen or the delightful surprise of the cinnamon chips, is how simple it is to create. Just mix together four kitchen-staple ingredients and perfection is on a platter in no time!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins...
four ingredients, four stars.

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 can pure pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon chips
  • Preheat the oven according to cake box directions.
  • In large bowl, stir together all ingredients.
  • Fill greased muffin tin 3/4 full with batter.
  • Bake according to box directions.
  • Done! How easy was that?

My muffins wanted a little fresh air!
Note: they were sitting safely on a plate!

For a little explanation, I usually avoid recipes using boxed mixes. I prefer "getting my hands dirty" and baking from scratch. That way, I know exactly what is going into my creation, and I have better control over the ingredients I use. However, for the sake of this recipe, I usually concede my stigma against boxed ingredients a little.With only four ingredients-- and no additional eggs, butter, cream, or oil-- these muffins withhold a certain degree of purity.

I've learned that sometimes it is alright to make life a little easier. So, grab that boxed cake mix and enjoy a little simplicity with all the benefits of taste. Back to baking from scratch next time...


  1. I'm with you on the baking and giving theme....I asked my husband last night if he wanted me to make him a pecan pie, but he doesn't want to eat the whole thing! So I'm brining it along for Thanksgiving dinner. Great blog...

  2. What are cinnamon chips? I've never heard of these!

  3. They are just delicious little cinnamon equivalents of chocolate chips! I find them mixed in with the other "chips" in the baking section, but sometimes it is a bit of a hunt. I think they may only be offered seasonally. I use the Hershey's kind. Good luck in finding them... they are a tasty addition to a lot of baked goods!