Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Please Pass The Cupcakes

My memories of Thanksgiving don't match up with current reality. In my childhood, Thanksgiving was a wonderful time when we brought out the very best of everything. The linen, china, and candles made the dining table a glittering, shimmering tableau of beauty. The heavenly smells wafting from the kitchen had us all drooling with anticipation for the coming feast. My mother sternly warned us not to snack, but black olives were always pilfered from the cut glass bowl in which they resided. When the perfectly browned turkey was carried out and set on the table, and the plates were loaded up with slices of meat, great globs of mashed potatoes and stuffing, over which rivers of gravy were poured,  it was torturous to sit patiently through the grace. 

My current reality is that I spend 3 days baking and then collapse at the table while everyone eats. Is it just a lot more fun and special when someone else does all the work? In a word, yes. I know this to be true because this year we had two Thanksgiving dinners. (My, that does sound porky, doesn't it?)

The first dinner was an early Thanksgiving feast that we put on as a send-off for my son who's on his way to boot camp (he joined the Naval reserves). He and his wife came over to break bird with us and give thanks for our blessings. While I didn't go all out (no pies, to everyone's disappointment), it was still essentially a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. 

For our second dinner, we were invited to my daughter's house. She and her husband did all the work, cleaning, baking and prepping for two days ahead of time, then serving us a beautiful meal. All we brought was wine and gravy. That was much more like it! So, apparently, the key to a happy, relaxed meal is to have someone else fix it for you. 

The only downside to eating at someone else's house is the lack of leftovers when you get home. Normally I hate leftovers clogging up my refrigerator, but Thanksgiving leftovers are as much a part of Thanksgiving as the main meal is. How can you properly watch a football game without a turkey-cranberry sandwich or a plate of turkey and stuffing, with extra gravy? Can it be done? 

More importantly to me, what do you eat for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving if there is no leftover pumpkin pie? Pumpkin pie has squash, milk, and eggs, so what part of that doesn't say healthy breakfast to you? But if the leftover pie is languishing in someone else's kitchen, you either have to suck it up and have oatmeal, or bake your own pie. Or cupcakes.

Yes, I said cupcakes. These beauties are even healthier than pie because there's no crust. They're just delicious pumpkin pie taste in cupcake form. So there's no fussing to get straight edges when you cut a piece of pie (you pie nibblers out there know what I'm talking about!), just single-serving goodness, ready to go. Plus without having to make a crust (my pie downfall), they're a snap to make. I'd say, "easy as pie," but they're easier!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
  - adapted from Baking Bites
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 15-oz. can pumpkin pie puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract 
3/4 cup half and half or evaporated milk 
Whipped cream (for topping)

1 - Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the cups of a mini muffin tin with paper liners. (You can't skip the liners, or you won't be able to get the cupcakes out neatly.)
2- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

3- In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half until well combined. Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.

4- Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full. They won't really rise.

5- Bake for 11-14 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan. They will sink as they cool.
Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Makes 24, possibly a few more.


RecipeGirl said...

Yum! Pretty much my favorite holiday flavor for a cupcake!

Adam said...

Thankfully it's rarely up to just one person to do everything for our big family events. It gives us all a chance to enjoy the food before we pass out :).
As for leftovers, if there's not enough to take with you, you need to make more :).
The cupcakes look great. I did something similar for Thanksgiving as well. Unfortunately they really didn't last until breakfast :).

Marysol said...

I've been cooking up TG dinners all by my 'little self' for years. And you're right, by the time I finally sit down to eat, I barely have enough energy left to gnaw my way through the first course.

Lucky you, to have your daughter and her husband cook a beautiful dinner for you.

Btw, I love your use of leftover pumpkin. The cupcakes look delicious with their little cloaks of whipped cream!

Katie said...

I just cooked two huge pumpkins last night and have about 30 (30!) cups of pumpkin in my fridge waiting to be pureed and frozen or immediately made into something tasty. I think I found my "something tasty" to bake today. 2 cups down, 28 to go.

grace said...

i'm still eating leftover pumpkin pie, and i don't mind too terribly. :)

eatme_delicious said...

Mmm I love pumpkin cupcakes! And Thanksgiving leftovers. We had Thanksgiving (back in October) at my mom's house and everyone brought a few things, and I got to go home with lots of leftovers. Such a delicious few days!

Mini Baker said...

just found your blog! these look delicious and so pretty!! :) one of my fav holiday flavos! ill be back soon!!

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