Pumpkin Spice Sans Pumpkin Muffins

August 7, 2021


You were out of cinnamon and rosemary but then Penzey’s was giving away dried ginger. When it arrived you tasted it and realized that all previous dried ginger in your life was absolute shit. You’ve never had dried ginger with decent flavor, until now. But it’s early August - what’s a half-assed cook to do?


Prepare the filling

Pour an inch of raw cashews into the bottom of a blender and maple syrup to cover. Add a little sugar which in retrospect a mistake, and the end of a bag of pistachios which in retrospect you’ll never taste again. Add just a little salt. Start trying to convince them to blend all the way up to a high setting. As you go you’ll add about 3x more maple syrup, some tahini, and even a little of that most precious and rare ingredient, pistachio oil. As it starts to blend toss in about half a teaspoon (not that you’re measuring, but the literal teaspoon was in the front of the drawer and you’ve filled it about halfway) of ginger, a few dashes allspice, some freshly grated nutmeg, and some cinnamon. Also known as “pumpkin spice.” Eventually you get it into a pretty smooth sticky paste, though not quite as creamy as you were hoping.

Much like it’s chocolatey cousin, nutella, this sweetened nut butter is so calorically dense that you can see time bending around its event horizon. Unlike nutella it’s a little disappointing when consumed by itself. Luckily we’ve got bigger plans.

Prepare the Batter

Combine the following ingredients. You totally meant to mix the dry ingredients first but then you forgot and anyway it absolutely didn’t matter at all.

This recipe is o’vegan, which is Irish for ovo-but-vegan, meaning “vegan but with eggs and butter, so not actually vegan at all.” This isn’t true, but the ancient Irish clan of O’Vegan used to bake ginger muffins every August to celebrate the beginning of the harvest season, so this is actually a traditional seasonal recipe of indigenous peoples. You never again need to remain silent when some smug guy with a big beard and chunky glasses tell you that pumpkin spice is for basic bitches!

Some Assembly Required

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Melt some more butter in the pan from melting the butter. Chop an onion real quick and set it sauteeing in the butter. Don’t worry, you’re not adding onions to the cupcakes, it’s just you’re also making pizza because muffins for dinner is a bad idea. While the onion is sauteeing go find your muffin pan. The kitchen is a bit of a mess if we’re honest, with the pizza dough rising, various ingredients and utensils for two completely different dishes floating around, so we’re just going to try not to splash anything into anything else. What could go wrong?

You want to use up about half your batter and fill roughly the bottom third or half of each muffin well in the pan. It seems like there’s only going to be enough to make nine, not a full dozen, but that’s probably for the best and 9 is probably a significant number in Olde Irish harvest lore.

Remember to keep stirring the onion. After the onion is translucent add a generous pour of dried oregano and let it toast briefly before adding canned tomatoes. The grocery store had a sale on some fancy italian brand of grape tomatoes in tomato juice with marketing language about the Flavor of Summer so you’re hoping that it isn’t one of those “same factory line different labels” situations. This seems like a slightly less great idea as you realize that all the grape tomatoes are whole and a little too big to work with your pizza concept but also as you snip them in half with your kitchen shears they’re prone to exploding, sending little bits of pizza-sauce flying towards your exposed skin, light colored clothing, and ginger muffins.

Undeterred, you gloop a spoonful of pumpking-spice maple-nut-butter into the center of each muffin well. Top the muffins with the remaining batter and place safely in the fridge. Right? Fancy recipes are always telling you to chill the dough before baking, right? It’s probably because they were making pasta sauce on the back burner and assembling pastries on the front burner too, right? And the fridge is pretty much the bomb shelter of every kitchen: completely insulated from the tomatoes detonating outside, and full of well preserved provisions.

Bake and Bake


Look, I’m not going to bore you with the details but even though the dough was particularly un-stretchy you get it to cover the bottoms of both your cast iron pans, top it with the sauce (which also had spinach in it), cheese, and then some pepperoni and mushrooms as actual toppings. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 500 on one of the upper racks, and then turn the broiler on for the last 4-5 minutes so that your toppings get crispy and the cheese browns slightly.


When you remove the pizzas from the oven lower the rack to the middle and tell yourself the door being open has totally lowered the oven’s temperature. Set the oven the 350, which it will promptly inform you it already is, but since there’s no temperature readout of any sort you’ll just take the oven’s word for it. Now that the coast is clear, remove your muffin pan from cold storage and place it in the center of the center rack, briefly asking yourself how much of a temperature differential it would take to stress the metal into cracking.

Bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean, and then bake for 2-3 minutes more just to be sure.

About 10 minutes into the baking time you can start eating your pizza.

the gooey center Shown here: its body split down the midline, only gravity holds the cupcake’s gooey center in place.


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Hi mom!