Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and a Major Award

A few weeks ago S. saw an advertisement for an amateur photography competition at the library.  "You should enter it," he said, encouragingly.  I laughed, and thought little more of it, until he came home with registration forms.  "We'll both enter," he told me.  So I chose one of my favorite non-food photos, which S. enlarged, found a cheap frame at the local box store, and left the rest of the doing in S.'s capable hands, assured that I wasn't even in the running.

Today, I got a half slip of paper from the library, asking me to come accept my prize on Saturday the 16th at 1:30.  Apparently, I'm one of their winners!  (All I could think of was that scene from A Christmas Story, when the father gets news that he's won a "major award.")

Now, it could very well be that I'm the only person who entered a photo in my category, or that the other entries are terrible, or that I've won fifth prize, but still ... the idea of winning was, well ... exciting.  Someone else thinks my photographs--or at least one of them--is worth looking at!

Since the soup pictures have been less than beautiful recently (and, dear reader, there are more to come ... we are now hurtling headlong into soup season), I thought I'd post another "pretty" picture in honor of my win, which means baked goods! 

I've already mentioned that the pumpkin is here ... and that I've bravely roasted ours, and am now dealing with the pulp.  It's interesting to me that in Australia it seems one mostly eats savory pumpkin dishes, not sweet ones. While I did make a curried pumpkin soup, too (fear not, my faithful Australian readers! that post will be coming soon, in your honor), the requests I got from the other residents of this house were mostly for baked goods.

Ian (wearing his poofy chef's hat, of course) helped me to make these, and I brought them to the class I'm teaching this semester, whom, I jokingly tell them, I am trying to bribe into giving me--and the course--good evaluations.  I don't think they take that seriously, but I will admit that there has been more than one comment about cupcakes (quantity, quality, flavor, etc.) on my teaching evaluations in the past.  Well, so be it ... when I was an impressionable graduate student at a not-so-small fairly-well-known university in California, my teaching evaluations included commentary on the shape of my eyebrows and need for a waxing.  Cupcakes are harmless, comparatively speaking.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

1 c. canned pumpkin
2 T. canola oil
2 heaping T. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. soymilk
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin or a 24-cup mini muffin tin with paper liners and mist lightly with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, oil, applesauce, sugar, soymilk, and vanilla.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gently mix together with a whisk, fork, or spatula. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake for 22-24 minutes for regular cupcakes. When done, let sit in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Frost as desired, either with (vegan or not) cream cheese frosting (my preference) or a cinnamon-powdered sugar glaze.
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  1. Anything with cream cheese frosting is a winner! :-) Isn't it bizarre the things people put on evaluations sometimes? I know they can be boring to do, but seriously some people don't think that although it's a boring exercise for them there is a person at the other end of the evaluation. So cupcakes to give a focus for the the bored, thoughtless commenters is a good strategy.

    That photo is gorgeous - I love the texture and the shades of the wall and the splash of colour in the window. I love that it makes me think about being inside and looking out past that vase and through those flowers. I love the calm, rather orderly (but not antiseptic) feel of it. It looks like life, just as you'd want it to be. I just plain LOVE it and can certainly understand why you won!

  2. Congratulations on your win, how exciting! I think the photo is lovely - just like a dream country farm house.

    It's true about the pumpkin. We don't eat pumpkin desserts, as TasIVFer said previously. But these cupcakes look delish. :) Hmm, I wonder what other exciting recipes TasIVFer and I can tempt you in to. LOL.

    As for the evaluations,sadly that last tale rings all too true. Honestly, who would write such a thing on a teaching evaluation...sigh.

  3. They talked about your eye brows? People still amaze me. Congrats on the win, now you'll have to post the winning photo for us and mmmMMmmmmm those cupcakes look good.

  4. So do you get a lamp? Should we worry about Steve accidentally knocking it over with the Hoover?

  5. congratulations! your pics are very nice I must say... are you going to post the one that won?

  6. your posts are making this gluten-free girl SALIVATE!!! luckily, a few months ago, i found a gluten free bakery near my office, so at times like this, i just go running to pick up some sweets :o)

  7. BRAVO!!!! That is exciting (and really lovely photo, by the way!).


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