Oh, Great Pumpkin, where are you?– Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I could use the Great Pumpkin right about now. Actually, I could use anything great. OK, I’ve had bad days before (who hasn’t), but this has been an altogether rough week. Various things keep pulling it down, to the point where I was driving around the cities and I was tempted to do that crazy bucket list item and go buy a random plane ticket. Alas, I didn’t…I need to work on being more spontaneous. But I’m pretty sure the world is out to get me…so I bake. I get to productively beat things and also get the satisfying pleasure of having something tasty to eat. And this weekend is my stepdads family reunion/gathering, so other people will get to enjoy the final product as well. From pain comes a pumpkin pleasure.

SUMMER 2012: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

The first step, as per usual, is mixing together your dry ingredients. Of course, the most important step is being able to open the packages of your dry ingredients. Seriously, sometimes it’s like I’m a 5 year old trying to get into something child proof…

Once everything is open, whisk together your flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

Then comes the wet ingredients. First to go in the bowl are the eggs and sugar.

Followed by the pumpkin. Pumpkin makes me think of baby food by the way. Actually, I was saying that throughout this whole process of baking. (Notice how the pictures aren’t all from my view- that’s because I had a friend with me :D). But yeah, pumpkin=baby food of a strange color.

And now comes the waterfall of oil. I’ve never had to add this much oil to something before. Originally I thought it was because this is actually a recipe for a loaf bread that I adjusted the time on to make cupcakes. I guess maybe in loafs you need a lot of oil…yeah, I honestly have no idea. (Please excuse the blurry photo).

After mixing that all together, you add your dry ingredients and continue mixing. Or as I liked to term it, beating. I needed to beat something. So batter and frosting worked out just fine. :)

When that is all mixed, it’s time to add the chocolate chips. I, once again, used the minis. If you have read more of these blog posts than just this one, you will notice I always use mini chocolate chips. I feel like the normal sized ones are just too much…and they always seem to sit in the same places in the cupcakes. So you get a crazy amount of chocolate, and then nothing for the rest of the cupcakes. So, yeah, I like the minis. :)

SCOOP!

SCOOP THEM ALL!! This ended up making 36 cupcakes for me so be prepared to scoop for awhile. Disclaimer: I’m including this picture simply because my photographer was clearly getting a little artsy while I was scooping…her name is also Sarah…YAY!

Eventually, you will have your pans scooped (or 2 of your pans as you don’t have another :D). The side note is that I have 2 bags of mini Oreos and orange slices on the counter…my chocolate is in the fridge…it’s been a rough week. I promise I don’t ALWAYS eat like a kid on Halloween…only 90% of the time.

Once you have them all scooped you pop them in the oven. Then you wait (by that I mean you watch the timer and have a minor panic that it is already 11:07…it wasn’t…that’s how much time was left :D). After you wait, which I would like to point out isn’t nearly as fun when there isn’t a window on your oven, they are ready to take out. Speaking of which, I figured out how my oven works! The “oven on” light turns off even when it’s on…it’s a little confusing but I think I understand now. But yeah, take your cupcakes out.

And if you are lucky, you will be a cupcake master by now. This means that before putting your cupcakes in, you can say “I’m thinking about 18 minutes”. And you come to find out that you were in fact, right on, when the minute you take them out, they are done. Like I’ve mentioned, this recipe was a recipe for a pumpkin chocolate chip loaf bread. But I wanted cupcakes. So I just had to change the time I was baking them for.  And I was right on. I’m awesome. Self-esteem boast right there.

While they are cooling (and my last pan was baking), it is frosting time. I decided to put a basic cream cheese frosting on these cupcakes just to give them something. First is your butter and cream cheese. And yes, I still hate the smell and feel of cream cheese.

Add your milk and your powdered sugar and start mixing…or beating to sound more aggressive!

Eventually, you will have some lovely frosting. Which the frosting is supposed to take 10 minutes to make…pretty sure I did it in less than that. Just saying. :)

FROST! I piped it onto my cupcakes. Bam. While saying an occasionally “ew, that one turned out ugly”. It was than countered by the other Sarah saying “I don’t think they’re ugly!” It was beautiful really.

Soon enough, they were all frosted. I didn’t even get lazy this time and I did circles the whole time. I’m getting fancy. :)

And time to taste! Exhibit A:

They were good, not as pumpkin-y as I had thought they would be. The batter was super pumpkin-y but the cupcakes weren’t that much. But I would still eat them…and my family will still eat them. By that I mean they probably aren’t award winning, but they get the job done. And the cream cheese frosting does add a nice touch as well. What have I learned this week: A slide backwards could simply be a way to prepare for a bigger step forward. The first bit of a cupcake after working at it for over an hour is pretty great. And having someone in your kitchen to take your pictures, do your dishes, and laugh with while baking is pretty great too. Always remember greatness comes in many forms. Not just from a pumpkin.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

(Adapted from Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread recipe from Taste of Home: Cupcakes, Muffins and More)

3 cups flour

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups canned pumpkin

1 ½ cups canola oil

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini)

1)      In large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

2)      Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan before moving to wire rack. Frost when cooled.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

¼ cup butter, softened

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

4 cups powdered sugar

1)      In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and 2 teaspoons of the milk with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.

2)      Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time. If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.

“You don’t believe the story of the Great Pumpkin? I thought little girls always believed everything that was told to them. I thought little girls were innocent and trusting”

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