A few days ago, Abby whisked herself into my kitchen, opened one of my old cookbooks (this one, in particular, was given to me as a wedding gift, and was a collection of Amish recipes from Ohio, where Abby and I learned to eat) and stirred up a recipe loosely based on (I repeat, loosely based on) one entitled “Pumpkin Cake.”
This cookbook was out on my counter for a reason. I had a million and one pieces of diced apple in my refrigerator from an overzealous attempt at snack duty for my daughter’s preschool. I woke up that morning thinking maybe I would find a recipe for Apple Crisp, or Apple Muffins, or something that required little pieces of diced apples that people who bake a lot could whip up into something tasty and warm. Soon after I breezed through almost every “traditional” cookbook I have, I gave up, as I was feeling like baking, (1. rarity) but I was NOT feeling like ruining yet another perfectly good, wheat-filled recipe trying to substitute gluten-free ingredients (2. common incident). Plus, the majority of recipes in this particular cookbook were so overly simple and not-so-healthy I decided it was a lost cause. Cookbook closes, chef sighs and leaves kitchen (3. common incident).
Enter Abby. I went out for a not-so-fun errand and yes, while I was away, my sister got her hands on this Amish cookbook and decided to whip up some muffins to put in those muffin trays that were patiently wishing for some good use on the counter.
When I arrived home, the scent of freshly baked sweetness filled the air, and there were those pans, happily boasting warm, plump, chocolately pumpkin muffins ready to devour, and smugly looking at me, so content that my sister had so easily filled them with her expertise and used them to their fullest potential. For most recipe entries, I will probably politely tell you that I “tasted” a recipe and loved it, but this time, I’ll readily admit that over the course of the day, I ate FOUR of these muffins. Yes, FOUR. My husband ate SIX, and Abby’s husband Eric (truly, truly my long-lost brother) ate SEVEN. We are not ashamed. For the baked goods-deprived, these were absolute heaven, and from now on I will make them for Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and any time I need the warm-smelling-welcome-home-just-baked goodness my sister lovingly provided for me. And if there is a best way (of many) Abby can remind you of how much you love her, it is definitely, most definitely, when she feeds you.
pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (gluten-free)
3 cups Organic Sucanat
1 cup Canola Oil
2/3 cup Coconut Milk
4 free-range eggs (farm fresh if you can get them)
2 cups Organic Canned Pumpkin
3.5 cups Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour
2 t Non-Aluminum Baking Soda, heaping
1 t Salt
1 t Cinnamon
1 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 T Ginger Juice
3/4 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 T Coconut Milk
4 T Coconut Oil
2/3 bag Pamela’s Gluten-Free Vanilla Frosting Mix
1/2 T Ginger juice
1 pinch Sea Salt
Mix sucanat, canola oil, coconut milk, eggs, pumpkin and ginger juice in order given. Mix in sifted dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips. Pour into greased muffin pan or muffin pan with muffin cups (as shown). Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350.
Mix all icing ingredients and spread over muffins when cooled (or, lick from the spatula when no one is looking).
Recipe Copyright Chef Abby Fammartino, 2009. Based on the recipe “Pumpkin Cake,” Granny Annie’s Favorite Recipes, 2005.