I can't remember with clarity the first time I ever sampled these diminutive delights, but logic would indicate that it was probably the fall of my senior year of college. Those were halcyon days (at least I have come to reflect on them as such, with no small degree of nostalgia), in which our group of college friends was still tightly-knit, and living within a mile of each other. Now that we have scattered to the wind, we not only live on separate continents, we are barely even awake during many of the same hours. As much as modern communications tools like email, Skype, and Facebook make it easier to keep in touch than ever before, it still causes me no end of heartbreak to be so far away from the people who I came to love so much.
So, when I am reeling from a particularly acute sense of nostalgia, I often find myself overwhelmed by the desire to bake pumpkin muffins. I even hoard a supply of canned pumpkin during the fall and winter, so that I can indulge my habit year-round. Talking to Katherine might not be as easy as scaling a flight of stairs to her bedroom, but baking the muffins that she used to make recreates a little piece of her presence right in my kitchen.
This week's batch of pumpkin muffins, however, turned out to be a portend of good things to come. I had known for some time that Katherine would soon be moving back to the United States, although she never told me exactly when it was going to happen. Monday night, I was struck by a craving, baked up a batch, and when I emailed her to tell her of my exploits, I learned that her Japanese email account had been canceled. A quick email to Scott (for whose email diligence I am always eternally grateful) confirmed it: she was on her way back!
Now, if I miss my friend, I can give her a call, instead of plying myself with baked goods. To be honest though, I doubt I'm going to stop making these muffins. They are too darned delicious!
Ahem, I couldn't wait to eat one before taking a picture, so the plate bears the evidence of my gluttony. My bad...
Katherine's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Grease the muffin tin, and preheat the oven to 350.
2. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
3. Whisk the eggs, butter, and pumpkin together. Stir in chips.
4. Pour wet ingredients over dry, and fold together until just moist.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes.