Pumpkin Muffins

11 Nov

I have developed an amazing ability to avoid my most important research paper.  I have it sitting next to me with my professor’s appalling chicken scratch all over, and all the requisite documents open on my computer… and then I spent about five minutes looking out the window, five more writing e-mails, god knows how long reading China blogs…

I don’t know what it is about this paper.  I wish that whatever it is would stop.  My goodness.

But as part of my grand avoidance scheme, I am writing this post so it’s not all bad…  Maybe?

Can you believe that after this recipe I still have pumpkin purée left?  I am seriously running out of ideas that involve pumpkins.  I have moved on to other ingredients, scheming recipes with blackberries and chocolate and oranges and things.  Not good.

I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and messed with it just a tad.  So here you go.


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cinnamon-sugar for sprinkling over muffins
  • crystallized ginger chips for sprinkling (optional (but not really–these are so good, you should definitely buy some))


First, melt your butter.  Unless you have already.


That’s a lot of butter.  Don’t panic.

Mix everything except the cinnamon-sugar and crystallized ginger chips in a large bowl…


…until just combined.


Divide evenly among muffin tins (it should fill twelve easily) and fill tins 3/4 full.


Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and ginger chips.


Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until puffed up and golden-brown.


Like so.  Delicious.


Also, how about those adorable halloween tins?  I have the absolute greatest collection of cupcakes tins thanks to my mom.  I kind of cupcake’d myself out, actually, which is why I’ve been making a lot of muffins lately.  Purely for these tins.


Okay, I did say I would talk about that book that I’ve sort of hyped up for a month or two, didn’t I?


All right.  My reluctance comes from the fact that I have so much to say about this book and the circumstances surrounding it, but my book recommendations have grown out of control…

So I will keep this short.  The Man Who Stayed Behind.  This is a book you need to read.  Right now.  It’s by an American GI, Sidney Rittenberg, who went over to China at the tail end of World War II, stayed in the country, and became the only American member of the Chinese Communist Party.  He ended up, thanks to various political purges, going to prison twice for a total of sixteen years, all of which he spent in solitary confinement.  He was pretty close to the upper echelon of the Chinese government, having met Mao on many occasions, been friends Zhou Enlai, and getting tangled up pretty severely in Jiang Qing’s schemes.  He moved back to America after many, many years and now lives in… North Carolina?  In any case, I know about this book because Rittenberg was a lecturer at Chapel Hill for a little bit, and one of his students was my advisor.

Even if you’re not interested in China or Chinese history, you should read this because it’s fundamentally, I think, a story about idealism and wanting to change the world so badly that you get hopelessly tangled up in its problems.  What’s really amazing is that not once did Rittenberg really lose hope in communism and in the CCP.  Certainly some aspects of it, but he seemed to consistently believe that it could change the world for the better. And it’s also amazing to think that he spent 16 years in solitary and came out with his mind intact.

There’s also a documentary called The Revolutionary about him but I don’t know where it would be available.  I saw it at school, so you could check your local universities.


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