The Japanese do not seem to bake at home often. The stores have a very small supply of baking ingredients. Slowly, I have stock-piled a nice little stash of flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. I found canned pumpkin at the foreign foods store in town and bought all three of their cans. A friend sent me chocolate chips. I still cannot find more than 1/4 of powdered sugar in packages at stores though.
I adapted this recipe from All Recipes, and I baked them in muffin liners without a muffin pan – I still do not have one – so they came out looking like irregular little loaves.
I took them into work, all mashed up from the bumpy bike ride that morning. I am not sure the teachers are used to ugly little homemade baked goods, instead of their beautifully packaged omiyage? They got eaten up pretty quickly, but I am still giggling about it:
I came in an hour before work to practice with recitation students and set out the muffins in the teachers room. Another teacher comes over,
“So big! I cannot eat so big a piece!” She decides to split a piece with another teacher. “I cut? I will share my big piece with other teacher.”
She ended up cutting all of them up into small bite-size pieces and setting out tiny toothpicks for people to use.
All right. I had, uh, two whole ones this morning.
Pumpkin-Ginger-Chocolate Chip Muffins
Slightly adapted from All Recipes
Makes about 16 muffins. Hard for me to tell the exact amount over here in the land of ad-hoc baking.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (for sweeter muffins, add 1/4 cup granulated sugar)
- 1/4 vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger (optional, but I LOVE ginger)
- 1/4 water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips, dusted in flour so that they don’t sink to the bottom of the muffin
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (200 degrees C.)
2. In a medium size bowl, whisk sugar, oil, pumpkin, eggs, ginger, water, and vanilla extract.
3. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing just until the flour is incorporated. Overmixing causes tough muffins.
5. Add chocolate chips. Stirring gently to distribute evenly throughout the batter.
6. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake about 20 minutes or until tops spring back when touched lightly. You can also test with a toothpick.