Hey Good Lookin’, What’s Cookin’: Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes (gluten free!)

I just can’t quite wait until Thanksgiving. Each year, autumn descends and I get that craving. You know the one. I start measuring my days by the calendar, and as we inch closer and closer to the last thursday in November, I make difficult decisions…If I make pumpkin pie NOW, and make another one around the end of October, will I be too sick of it at the big family meal?

Milla recently wrote a sassy and delicious post about, well, a lot of things, but two things primarily…1. What is up with Americans and our pumpkin pie spice everything and 2. Spicy hot cocoa. The hot cocoa is self-explanatory (and, I dare say, mandatory) and I’ll take a stab at answering question #1.

The serious answer:
1. Pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger!) are amazing immune boosting herbs that are perfect for the seasonal transition into fall. I think our bodies know what they want and (as I’ve written about before) if you listen to your body and begin to discern its cravings, you may find the key for staying in balance. Our bodies also crave eating in season, and squash is what gets ripe as the leaves start to fall. Finally, pumpkin pie, and the pungent smell of pumpkin pie spice, trigger sensory memories of feeling nurtured, being with family, satiation, slowing down and hibernation. Our bodies need these last things, especially.

The not-so-serious (and potentially more true) answer:
2. Pumpkin pie is FUCKING DELICIOUS. However, by the time Christmas rolls around, we are so god damned sick of pumpkin everything that it takes 10 months for our tastebuds to recover (or for amnesia to set in.) Wait, what’s that thing that happens this time of year…ooooo…yeah….pumpkin pie. Mmmmmm, why don’t I eat that more often? Why don’t I eat that RIGHT NOW?

Well, as a matter of fact, you CAN eat that right now, in small, bite sized amounts that will leave you with just enough craving for you to stuff yourself sick at Thanksgiving.

This recipe was adapted from a post on FB that went viral, from this page. Recipe is verbatim in directions.

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Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes, with Cashew Cream

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup coconut sugar (or 1/2 white sugar, 1/4 brown OR substitute with sucanat. I don’t think honey or agave would work too well.)
2 large eggs (these cupcakes would be vegan if you used egg-replacer)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
2/3 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I made my own, mixing 1 T cinnamon, 3/4 t allspice, 1 t ginger, 1/2 t clove. I hate nutmeg, but you could add 1 t.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin tin with silicone liners, foil liners sprayed with cooking spray or just spray the cups with cooking spray. Either of these three methods will make it easy to take the cupcake out after it’s cooked. Paper liners make it difficult to remove the cupcakes.

Mix the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and coconut milk. Add the flour, pumpkin spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda to the mixture. Fill each muffin cup with 1/3 cup of the mixture. Bake for twenty minutes and let cool for twenty minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Top with cashew cream and sprinkle more pumpkin pie spice on top and serve. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Cashew Cream

1 cup cashews
agave to taste
1/2 t vanilla extract (optional)

You can soak your cashews for 4-10 hours, if you plan ahead. However, if you’re like me and you decide MUST MAKE CUPCAKES NOW, then do this…

Cover cashews with water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain cashews and put in blender, along with fresh water…just enough to cover. Blend the shit out of it (highest setting for 2-3 minutes). When you have achieved a smooth texture, add in agave, a tsp at a time. Sweeten to taste, and add vanilla extract if you are using. Blend for 1 more minute.

You can use the cream right away, but if you let it chill in the fridge, it will “set up” a little bit, which makes for nice presentation.

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The cupcakes cook on the outside, but stay soft and gooey on the inside, very much reminiscent of pie with crust. They aren’t too sweet, and if you make them using my subs (coconut sugar, coco milk, gluten free flour) they hardly count as dessert. In other words, eat two and then eat another one 4 hours later.

Well I submitted my “manuscript” yesterday, and immediately had writer’s remorse. All the ways I felt expressively stuck released as soon as I hit the send button, and throughout the day I kept having A-ha! moments, which was followed by mentally kicking myself in the proverbial shin. I received notice that the publisher got my essay…and he’ll let me know in FOUR WEEKS if it’s accepted. Wow, talk about unsatisfying. Now I understand why professional writers are always freaking out about their craft and writing about the process of writing…trying to get published is an angsty process, totally different from blogging. I tell you what, it was intimidating to send my little heartfelt words out into the world like that. The online submission process converted my article into a PDF and splashed the publishers name all over it and put it into APA format. I felt like a kindergartner showing her art at the Met. My muse doesn’t really want to play with the big boys, or dress up in a suit and tie. This was good practice, and I may even dare it again, but I think in the future, I will search for entry calls that want more of what I got…poetic nature prose with personal, heartfelt narrative.

Speaking of which…huh, where’s that article I promised for today? Yup…you got cupcakes instead. No room of my own and all that jazz. I’ve received two guest posts already though, and I gotta say…I feel blessed to know these kindred hearts. And to everyone, blogger or not, frequent commenter or not, I do hope you’ll join in on the discussion next week. It’s a big topic, and the more voices, the merrier.

Have a good weekend! Pumpkin everything!

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2 thoughts on “Hey Good Lookin’, What’s Cookin’: Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes (gluten free!)

  1. Hahahhahahahahahhaha! Actually, pumpkin pie is handsdown my favorite american food. I guess I’m just a purist and don’t really get why those spices should be in everything, BUT since I like to keep an open mind, I shall make both this (tiny pumpkin pies!!!) and Arcadian Mermaid’s syrup. Pumpkin spice somethings!

  2. LOOKS DELISH!!! my craving is pumpkin chocolate chip cookies because i grew up with them. i am planning to make them for a party i’m going to this weekend, woo hoo…now i might have to try my hand at these little delectables as well. i am not even the HUGESt pumpkin flavor fan but i am a bit fan of your idea that something about this blend of spices and this squash is a natural leaning this time of year. i start craving all the root veggies too. all my best love and energies for your article submission!

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