The digest version

Hi there,

It's been awhile, but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice to say, there was some of this.

And occasionally this.

And then a trip to Cuba that came and went in the space of a blink. Water so green and skies so blue—surely a mirage.

There, a niece(!) got hitched.

And I started (and finished) this.

Just in time for Air Canada to take us home.

There was John Hamm on SNL in a hotel room near the Toronto airport (and a few flakes of snow just to remind us where we were). Then one more plane ride back to my favourite rainy city.

Where this was waiting in the mail.

So I made these Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins.

The idea of pumpkin and cheese together in a muffin seemed odd at first, but then I ate one. And another. And before long I was making a second batch.

If that's not a good sign, I don't know what is.

Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins

1 cup pumpkin purée
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
115 grams (4 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, grated*

* Apparently this works out to be about 1 1/4 cups when grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and sour cream. Add the eggs and melted butter and whisk until combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper and brown sugar.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients all at once. Stir just until combined. Fold in about three-quarters of the cheese.

Divide the batter evenly among the 12 greased muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let the muffin pan cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing the muffins to cool completely.

Best eaten fresh from the oven, but they hold their moisture quite well for several days.

Source: Slightly adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, p. 25.

Notes: After making the recipe as published, I reduced the amount of black pepper and halved the sugar in my second batch. Skipped the pumpkin seeds both times.

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