I rarely get crushes these days. Between my roommate, Taylor Kitsch and Beyoncé, my heart’s dance card is pretty full, and I can’t really afford to take anyone else on. That said, I occasionally meet someone that, for lack of a better phrase, “lights my fire,” and I crush hard. Anna Watson Carl is one of those people.
I first met Anna a couple months ago at Dana’s potluck. After discovering her blog The Yellow Table while furiously Googling everyone at said dinner party, I was immediately smitten. If you’re not familiar with Anna’s story, she decided to self-publish her own cookbook in a single year and document the entire process on her blog (I’m talking 100 insanely detailed posts, people). The project was completely funded by a Kickstarter campaign that Anna promoted through an incredible cross-country roadtrip, hosting dinner parties at the homes of different bloggers along the way. Impressive, no?
After reading “The Cookbook Diaries,” I was all like, “WHO IS THIS INCREDIBLE WOMAN?! I must befriend her.” (Unlike Beyoncé, who is more of a long-term goal, I actually had an immediate shot at this friendship. Exciting!) Thankfully, I was able to accomplish said (creepy?) feat, and I’ve had the pleasure of talking life, food, blogging, and Paris with Anna post-potluck. I also recently got my hands on a copy of The Yellow Table cookbook, and the end result is an absolutely beautiful compilation of 110 recipes accompanied by gorgeous photos, wine pairings, and Anna’s heartfelt commentary. She killed it.
Long story short, I find Anna inspiring, and she deserves to be showered with compliments for her passion, drive and resourcefulness. I know I know, this post is awfully touchy-feely, but this is the year of hearts and rainbows. I really need you to just get on board.
I’m pretty psyched to make a number of recipes from Anna’s book, but I was immediately drawn to her Sour Cream-Banana muffins. (You know how I feel about muffins.) As I didn’t have any super ripe bananas on hand, I decided to adapt the recipe slightly by using pumpkin puree and a couple extra spices (what is pumpkin without spice?), and subbing coconut oil for vegetable oil. And that, friends, is how these Sour Cream Pumpkin Muffins came to be…
I’m pleased to report that baking these muffins was quite a thrilling experience. First of all, the smell coming from my oven was intoxicating. I accomplished very little in those 20 minutes, as I felt deeply compelled to curl up in the fetal position and nap inside the pumpkin spice cloud. Needless to say, anticipation levels for the muffins were extremely high.
Unsurprisingly, Anna did not disappoint, and the first bite of warm Sour Cream Pumpkin Muffin was magical. Perfectly sweet and generously spiced with just the slightest sour cream tang, these are pure pumpkin delight. They’re also fabulously light and fluffy, which I dig in a muffin, and the teeny crunch from the pumpkin seeds gives them a little textural flare.
And dear God, they’re so…
wait for it…
These muffins are guaranteed to become one of my fall baking staples, and I urge you to follow my lead here, peeps. I halved the original recipe because I prefer small-batch baked goods (and I’d like for all of us to enter the holiday season as Gwyneth-like as possible), but the recipe can easily be scaled for a crowd. Make them for your Thanksgiving/holiday breakfasts, take them to work, bring them to your children’s sports events (cool snack parent!), or carry one in your purse/briefcase for festive on-the-go snacking. Pumpkin muffins=instant fall happiness. Truth.
If any of you are turned off by the squat nature of these muffins, let me explain! My muffin-tin is NOT regulation size. I didn’t have a regular muffin tin (GASP), and I have a cold (in my mind this prohibits going outside), so I ordered one from my local grocery delivery service. When my fancy new muffin tin arrived 30 minutes later (NYC!!), I noticed that its wells appeared rather wide and shallow. However, I am not a professional muffin-baker, so I didn’t over-think it.
It was only when I ended up with nubbin muffins that I realized the weird proportions of the tin. (The fact that the original recipe yielded 12 muffins, and I could only fill 10 of my wells halfway probably should have tipped me off?). Anyhoo, if you bake these in a conventional muffin tin, I promise you’ll end up with taller, normal looking muffins. Phew.
Just FYI, my roommate was very much on board with these pumpkin bad boys. His first response was, “Oooooh spicy! DANK, Swolfie!” He then proceeded to ask if I had ever thought about making just muffin tops, before launching into a soliloquy on how he would make these with cream cheese swirls and frosting, or as “muffin tops with CHEESECAKE filling!!” This upset me on many levels (mostly re: Dude Diet principles), but he did have a point. These muffins would be bomb with a little cream cheese, or slathered in cream cheese frosting if you want to go a more cupcake-y route. Snaps for Logan.
In closing: Make the muffins. Check out Anna’s cookbook. Thank me later.
Sour Cream Pumpkin Muffins: (Yields 12 standard muffins, or 18 mini-muffins, or 6 monster muffins)
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ cup liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup pure pumpkin purée (I use Libby’s.)
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 tablespoons pepitas (optional)
Preparing your Sour Cream Pumpkin Muffins:
-Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard muffin tin or line it with paper baking cups. (I go sans paper cups because I prefer muffins with a smoother, slightly chewier exterior.)
-In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
-Bake standard muffins for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out nice and clean. (Mini-Muffins will take about 13-15 minutes, and monster muffins will take about 25.)
-Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Go wild…
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole-wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup liquid coconut oil
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup pure pumpkin purée (I use Libby’s.)
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons pepitas (optional)
- -Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard muffin tin or line it with paper baking cups. (I go sans paper cups because I prefer muffins with a smoother, slightly chewier exterior.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
- In a second bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and brown sugar until well combined. Stir in the vanilla extract, pumpkin puree, and sour cream. Stir in the egg.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined. (Please don’t over-mix people! We don’t want crazy dense muffins.)
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each well a little more than 2/3 of the way. Sprinkle some pepitas on top if you like. (You could also do pecans, walnuts, pistachios, etc.)
- Bake standard muffins for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out nice and clean. (Mini-Muffins will take about 13-15 minutes, and monster muffins will take about 25.) Let muffins cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Recipe adapted from The Yellow Table Cookbook