Everybody knows that crime pays, and everybody loves it…*

*Lyrics from Bear HandsCrime Pays song off their album Burning Bush Supper Club. Jeff’s been telling me about these guys for a while now, and this song, well, it seemed relevant to the current mood in the world. At least some pockets of the world. (And it’s a great album – every song of theirs that came up on Pandora I ‘liked.’)

The smell of freshly baking anything is pretty much a guaranteed mood elevator.

I’ve been thinking non-stop about the events in Newtown (who hasn’t?), and considered joining the conversation. And then I heavy-heartedly sighed. So then, I thought, ‘maybe I should just bake something instead?’ Right? Much better idea. For as many legitimate discussions are cropping up due to the madness (and the sadness), and as opinionated as I am about it all, I think I’ll leave it, just as I’ll leave the emptiness alone. Sometimes, talking about something (or sharing countless images, or names, or candlelight vigils, or articles, or opinions) makes it worse, even when intentions are good.

So, for the latest installment of Kitchen Monthly (which I should really re-rename Kitchen Wheneverly), Pumpkin Pecan White (and Brown) Chocolate Chip Muffins, anyone? I originally made this recipe after Kirsten at Restored Style shared it last year. Her recipe, while delicious, was a bit more decadent than what I wanted to make, so I modified it (or modded, as the kids say) for more of an everyday muffin, instead of the sweet pumpkin bread version she made. Plus, I was out of some ingredients, and had to improvise a bit. Here’s what I came up with:

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yummy, not too sweet, just holiday-ish enough to feel like a special treat without derailing efforts to stay on track.

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • scant 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed pumpkin puree (this might have even been closer to 1 1/4 cups – I just used up some leftovers that I had)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup melted and browned butter (1 stick) **(The original recipe calls for vegetable oil, which would probably have worked well, maybe better, even. Since I had run out, I used what I had. Feel free to try it with oil instead.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Fold-in ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus twelve intact halves for top
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (could use all white, or all semi-sweet depending on what you like better with pumpkin – the volume should be about the same either way)

The mess is worth it, let me tell you.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray muffin tin with cooking spray, or line with paper liners. Whisk together dry ingredients. Melt and brown (and allow to cool) butter. Whisk together wet ingredients. Add dry mix to wet, folding gently until just moistened. Fold in nuts and chips. Spoon into muffin tray and top with one pecan half atop each one (because it’s pretty). Bake for 22-30 mins, or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Let cool in tray for a few minutes before letting cool entirely on rack. Enjoy warm or room temperature!

These would be great on Christmas morning, or New Year’s Day… you know, to sop up all the extra cheer we love to have during these darkest days of the year.

And, as a final note on the subject (of sadness and avoidance of sadness), I wanted to share something with you that really moved me, that made me happy, and made me feel hope. We all know that I adore music (der), and that I feel it’s essential in making a home feel like home. Music is, well, I’ll just let this video do the talking, er, communicating for me. Enjoy! xoxo

Understand Music from finally. on Vimeo.


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