Sunday, November 3, 2013

a bone to pick.


So. Baking in a foreign country!
Tip: Don't try it.

That's not fair.  You can definitely try it.  I've done it already and I'll do it again.  I made chocolate cookies last week and iced them up all nice and Halloweenish and they didn't kill anyone.  And yesterday I made pumpkin muffins because I'm going to La Mancha and need a hostess gift, and they turned out perfectly, all cinnamon-y and light.  But the cultural exchange that is my life in this house does in fact infiltrate the kitchen; until recently, I had never eaten a ripe chirimoya (oh my god I have been changed), and I had also never been told in a grocery store, "No, you are mistaken, there is no such thing as powdered sugar."

Things that aren't readily available in Spanish grocery stores besides powdered sugar: baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate powder, vanilla extract, and unsalted butter.  So like if you want cookies you should just fly home.

Conversely, Maldon sea salt, which is generally more expensive in the United States and comes in small boxes and tins, is sold in Madrid in large sacks.  Also they have more types of fruit than I have ever seen anywhere, like fantasy novel status varieties of fruit.

Things that aren't readily found in Spanish kitchens: many spices, electric mixers, whisks, measuring cups, ziplock bags.  I took ziplock bags for granted my whole life.  Also, and this is my favorite because it involves math: GRAMS.  Grams.  Measurements in grams.  See ya later late night chocolate-chip-cookie-making binges.  I don't even want to think about the kind of conversion ratios I'd use post-pitcher of sangria. 

HOWEVER.  Thanks to some internet tools, a calculator, a big spoon and some patience, 30 mini glazed pumpkin muffins came into my life.  And in about ten minutes, they will come with me on the train.  Is this a weird hostess gift?  Whatever I'm over it.

These are stupid easy and taste like fall.  I don't know what you're waiting for.


Glazed Pumpkin Muffins
made 30 miniature muffin nuggets, but could easily be big ones, or a loaf

for muffins:
1 can pumpkin puree (I bought mine at Taste of America, which is a place)
2 teaspoons vinegar (to make up for no baking powder)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
lots of cinnamon and nutneg (allspice and cloves too, if you have them!)

for glaze: a whisked together mix of:
1/2 cup powdered sugar (I used a thicker, vanilla flavored thing called Candy Glass, which worked, but you should use powdered sugar)
2 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or 175 degrees CELSIUS omg).

Mix all wet ingredients in one bowl, and all dry in another.  Add dry to wet, and stir to incorporate.

Fill a lined muffin tin (or greased loaf pan) with batter 3/4 of the way, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a fork inserted in the center comes out clean.  Wait until completely cool before drizzling with glaze.

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