I remember my first snow day. I was 3 years old. Or maybe 4. We lived in a little trailer in Evergreen, Virginia, surrounded on three sides by soybean fields. The snow came overnight, and when I woke up the next morning the wind had left a swirled and rippled landscape. The snow came to the bottom of the tall window in our living room, and while my mom helped me pull on my snow pants, coat, boots and mittens, Dennis, my stepdad, popped out the screen.
I still remember his strong hands lifting me out of the window, setting me on the snow.
I stood perfectly still, the wind blowing against my face. The crunchy layer of ice on top of the snow felt fragile under my boots. I looked over my shoulder and Dennis smiled.
“It’ll hold you,” he said.
And I believed him. Found comfort in his words.
Today, more than 30 years later, another snow day. It’s different, in my Colorado town home, surrounded by pavement and mountains. But the swirls and ripples, they feel familiar.
Instead of pulling on boots and mittens, I pulled out pumpkin and ginger. I wasn’t lifted out of a window, but I did lift a heavy mixing bowl from a shelf in my kitchen.
The things that comfort me are different now.
But I thought of that little girl, in her too-big snow boots and heavy wool mittens, as I stirred together flour and spices this morning. I remember how she felt taking tentative steps across that snow. A curious blend of afraid and brave.
I added the pumpkin and carefully folded in the chocolate chips, smiling at the fact that afraid and brave are so woven together. As the streaks of flour disappeared into the batter, I wondered, does brave even exist without afraid?
Soon, my house filled with the smell of cinnamon and cloves. And I reflected back on the smells that snowy day 32 years ago. Of smoky oak and the hot spiced cider that bubbled in a pot on top of the wood stove. The wet wool drying against the cast iron.
I pulled the muffins out of the stove, lightly touching them, feeling them spring back beneath my fingertips. I carefully remove them, place them on a rack to cool. I feel bittersweet nostalgia as I listen to the wind blow.
Brave and afraid. Sweet and spicy. Ripples and waves outside my window.
Snow Day Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)
(makes 24ish muffins…I got 30 out of the recipe)
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of cloves
- 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz can)*
- 4 tablespoons egg substitute*
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons vanilla
- 1 cup plain yogurt*
- 2/3 cup plain, unsweetened coconut milk*
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 12 cup muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
- Add pumpkin, egg substitute, honey, eggs, oil, vanilla, yogurt and milk to a blender. Blend on high for 1 minute or until well combined, smooth and creamy. (Alternatively you can mix the wet ingredients together in a large bowl. But I recommend the blender method.) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
- Divide batter evenly into muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Cool muffins for 5 minutes then remove and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Muffins are best served warm!
You can half the recipe if you like. I doubled the original one because I hate not using a full can of pumpkin.
On that note, the original recipe (when doubled) called for two cups of pumpkin. A can is 1/4 cup short of that. Which is why my recipe added egg substitute, to make up the difference. You can either use the recipe as is, use two full cups of pumpkin, or get rid of the egg substitute and add another egg. I think any of those options should work.
You can use plain Greek yogurt here. I’m just kind of over Greek yogurt though 😉
I used coconut milk, but you can use whatever milk you like…regular, almond, soy, etc.