This one’s for you. Because, maybe you need an ace up your sleeve in the coming weeks when you need a hostess gift, a holiday gift, or any-time gift where the experience is the goal. This one smells and tastes of spicy autumn-winter and dark nights and cold mornings spent curled up under covers with mugs of steamy drinks in hand.
It’s pumpkin muffins. Except, brilliantly, you don’t gift the muffins, you gift the muffin mix. If you look, you probably even have the ingredients in your pantry right now. Get a medium size mixing bowl out, and a wire whisk, plunk a sack of flour on your counter, and another of sugar, a box each of salt and baking powder, and jars of cinnamon and nutmeg and get to work, which feels more like play, because, measure, dump, stir. Even the littlest guys, if you have some around, can stand on a chair and help.
You could package the mix in a number of ways. Maybe in a pretty jar, or in a craft paper bag with a hand-stamped label, or you could do like we’ve always done, and seal the mix in a zip-top bag, then slide it, along with baking instructions, into a linen bag and a tie the top with twine. Hang a label from it, and there you go, a thoughtful, tasty gift, ready in no time. (Note: I've included instructions for sewing your own linen bag at the bottom of this post!)
All that’s left, then, for the lucky recipient to add are the wet ingredients: eggs, canned pumpkin, milk, and melted butter. All of it, along with the dry ingredients in a single bowl are stirred with a wooden spoon, then scooped into muffin tins and baked for 15-20 minutes. So easy. So very good. (And don’t think for a minute that the recipient shouldn’t be you!)
Spiced Pumpkin Muffin Mix
In a mixing bowl combine:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pour muffin mix into a sealed container for gifting. Include the following, printed on a card:
Spiced Pumpkin Muffin Mix Instructions
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Pour muffin mix into a large mixing bowl and add:
1/2 cup melted, cooled butter
1 cup pure canned pumpkin
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
Stir just until moistened. Spoon mixture into greased or paper-lined muffin tins, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Linen Bag Instructions
Cut a rectangle of linen or other suitable fabric measuring 7 1/2" x 20". Fold in half right sides together (so it now measures 7 1/2" x 10"). Sew the two side seams with a 1/2" seam allowance. (You could even hand-sew these seams with a running stitch). I've always left the top edge of the bag unfinished. Turn the bag right side out and press with a hot iron, if you'd like, and you're done!