Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2-on-Tuesday: Clandestine Pumpkin Muffin Caper

It was a balmy, autumn Sunday morning. 

Walking into the foyer of the church, I was quickly pulled aside into a corner. With a fake bush masking the informer's face from the cheerful passersby, the Italian looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Remember these 3 ingredients for the best pumpkin muffins," as he counted each of the ingredients on his fingers.

"One box of Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix, one can of Libby's Pumpkin Solid Pack and one bag of Hershey's Cinnamon Chips."

"That's it?"
"Yep, that's it."

Thinking he forgot something, I added, "So, you make the batter according to the package and..."
"No!" he snapped, "Empty all three into a bowl and mix together."
"What? No eggs?"
"No. Just those 3 ingredients." With that he disappears into the crowd. 

I was unprepared. I was skeptical. How can 3 ingredients and no eggs create "the best pumpkin muffins"? He didn't even tell me how long to cook the muffins. Or did he? I don't remember. My mind was reeling.

Throughout the week, the clouded conversation is never far from my mind. My empty glass-domed dessert plate stands there in silence as if it, too, knows the secret. I stare into it's emptiness as the realization of the brief encounter with the Dark Chef washes over me. This was no chance meeting.

The Mart-of-Wal is where I suspected the 3 ingredients may be tracked down. The pumpkin pack and the cake mix were easily acquired. My hand was on the bag of Hershey's when almost too late I was aware it was a decoy! Not cinnamon, but chocolate chips. This could have derailed the entire operation.  

Once I've retreated to the seclusion of my kitchen, it is only then I dare to open the packages and proceed with the suspicious orders, "Empty all three into a bowl and mix together." The mix is thick...too thick, I think. But, I proceed as directed and prepare the mammoth-muffin tin with a spray of Baker's Joy and a coating of cinnamon sugar in each cup. With the oven preheated to 350 degrees, I decide to bake the batter for 30 minutes. <Ding> The center of the muffins are jiggly. Not good. The decision is made to add an additional 15 minutes to the baking time. <Ding> When the toothpick test helps to determine the pumpkin muffins are almost ready, they are baked for 10-ish minutes longer.

<Ding> The aroma is inviting. And, with the quick reflexes of years of turning-out baked pastries, each hot muffin was deftly flipped upright onto a wire rack to cool. 

The ticking of the clock seems to slow and echo in my head. I can't wait. I must know if what the operative divulged is true. I split the muffin down the center and inspect the inside. So far, so good. I inhale the still warm, cinnamony heart. My mouth waters and pulse quickens. Now, for the end-all and be-all...the taste.

I couldn't believe it. Why would the man known as 'Micco' risk everything, life and reputation, to reveal the guarded formula to me? 

With that one muffin, I understood...I must have another. 
With that second muffin, I understood...it was, now, my mission to reveal to the world the 3 ingredients to "the best pumpkin muffins."

Written by Samalee Allen


  1. Replies
    1. Why, THANK YA! THANK YA, VER'MUCH! It was fun!

  2. I'm not good at baking, but this sounds so easy I think I will try it. Hopefully I wont mess it up! If it turns out good I'll let you know. If you don't hear back from me, well.....

  3. hahaha, making these right now and as I was mixing it, your whole story ran through my head! I'll let you know how they turned out!

  4. Awesome -- awesome ... love your mind Samalee! I'll give it a shot and impress my guy!

  5. Awesome --- Love your mind Samalee ... I'll have to make these for my guy: He'll be so impressed ... not sure what that pumpkin stuff is but maybe someone will help me... :)

    1. If you're looking for the pumpkin stuff, it's by Libby's and is called "100% Pure Pumpkin." I think the old fashioned name for it was "pumpkin pack." Be sure NOT to grab the Libby's Pumpkin PIE filling. I bet your muffins will be magnificent!