Monday, October 17, 2011

The Importance of Eating Muffins

JACK: How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins, when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.

ALGERNON:  Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.

JACK: I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.

ALGERNON: When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble, as anyone who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except food and drink. At the present moment I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins.

Muffins are irresistible to everyone, except celiacs, masochists, and people of that sort. Why else would a celebrated wit such as Oscar Wilde choose the muffin over an abundance of British tea time treats? What about bread and butter, teacake, or those queer, porous crumpets? Clearly they are all inferior.

There comes a time each year when I crave pumpkin. (Some call it “fall.”) My seasonal instincts are telling me to eat those bulbous orange squashes that grace the entrances of every supermarket. I thought a lot about making pumpkin muffins. I knew I needed to make pumpkin muffins or I would think about them day and night until that thought circuit became a reality. 

This vegan pumpkin coconut muffin recipe is adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe clip from the New York Times site. (Watch the video and catch the Milan Kundera joke at the end.) Rather than the usual half all-purpose, half-whole wheat approach, Bittman uses whole wheat pastry flour and a cup of produce puree. I veganized this recipe by replacing the stick of butter with a half cup of coconut oil, which I also rubbed all over my skin. Try not to get it on your cuffs.

Some say the best way to prevent muffin-provoked violence is to make enough for everyone. This recipe makes 12-14 muffins and one small bowl of vegan pumpkin pudding.

Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Muffins

2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
¾ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree (Bake and puree peeled pumpkin or buy it canned like a square. Your choice.)
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup melted coconut oil
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat to 375 degrees.

Combine the pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, coconut milk, coconut oil, and shredded coconut. Gently blend the two mixtures together and keep in mind that over-mixing will result in unpleasantly tough muffins. Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil or fill the tin with muffin cups. Pour in the batter.

Place the tin in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
As you wait, eat the remainder of the batter with a spatula. Rename the recipe “Vegan Pumpkin Pudding” and call it a night.

I try so hard not to look like one of those people who stuff their mouths incessantly, but it still seems like whenever anyone speaks to me I have a mouthful of corn chips. Call me Chipmunk Cheeks, but what can be done? Could I grow my own self-control with a green tablet in a tub of water and use the resulting spongy-thing to soak up my unbridled addictions? Probably not.

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