This morning, I ended 2011 on a challenging, thigh-burning, but fun note; I met up with a few of my cross country teammates, one of my cross country coaches, and two other friends for a beach workout. The bulk of the workout was sand hills. Although the workout was tough, I reveled in the (beautiful) change of scenery from the gym and the streets of my little town (where I now complete my longer runs), as well as the change of workout: I love to work my body in unfamiliar ways. Enjoying the beach scenery and sublime weather, moving my body, and being with friends was not only a great way to start the day, but a wonderful way to celebrate 2011.
Now a senior in high school, it is strange to think that earlier in the year, I was still a junior. Instead of measuring one year from January to December, I tend to look at one year as August to May, as I begin a new chapter of my life–a new school year–every August and end a chapter every May. Nevertheless, I have learned and experienced a lot in 2011, and I am so excited to welcome 2012!
My last baking endeavor of 2010 was blueberry pie, which, as it was the first time I made pie, was an intense, time-consuming undertaking. 2011’s last baking project was not nearly as involved, but it was certainly quite delicious: these pumpkin muffins are moist, dense, dunked in melted butter, and spun in cinnamon-sugar, which adds sweetness and a pleasing little crunch.
Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon-Sugar Topping
- 1 1/2 cups, approximately 12 ounces, pumpkin purée (I do not think using an entire 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée would hurt the recipe.)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- Cinnamon-sugar (I made a mixture of 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons white sugar & 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with muffin liners or spray with cooking spray.
- In a medium-sized bowl, using a whisk, combine pumpkin purée, sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
- Gently mix in dry ingredients.
- Fill muffin tins 3/4 full with batter, and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean (a few crumbs are okay, as this insures the muffins are moist).
- Allow the muffins to cool in muffin tins for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Once the muffins are almost completely cool, but still slightly warm, dunk the tops in melted butter and spin in cinnamon-sugar.
Have a celebratory New Year’s Eve and a happy start to 2012!