Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Yesterday I took my in-laws on a walk through the city, down the hill, over the highway, past the wooden boats, around the lake to Fremont, where we sat down at Fremont Brewing to rest our feet. While the warm sun shone bright on our faces we stuffed ourselves with pretzels and beer. We then found our way to Brent who gave us a lift home, because at that point I had already reached 17, 000 steps on my fitbit and thought screw it to walking. Also we were in no shape to get ourselves back up that hill. Completely exhausted, we plopped ourselves in front of the couch to finish watching season 1 of Silicon Valley, and if you've started watching this show and gave up after episode two, I encourage you to go back and finish watching the rest of season 1, because the characters become way more likable as the season progresses, and episode 8 Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency is hilarious. But if you've given up after episode two because you've decided to spend the final days of summer outside drinking beer on the font porch, I like you, and will you be my friend?

This morning I woke up and was delightfully surprised to see a few plumbers, even though they were smashing pipes around at 7 am, putting together our now full functioning sewer system. Today marks the first day in 2 weeks that I did not have to wake up grab a sweater (because that seemed easier than putting on a bra) run out the door in pajamas and slippers to the coffee shop 5 min down the street to use the toilet. On the bright side, the morning jaunt added at least 1000 steps to my fitbit! You will also be happy to know that I can now wash my clothes and start the dishwasher, which is a huge sigh of relief because there were some funky dishes left in it, growing some weird brightly colored mold that smelled like death. I am also pretty excited about the fact that I can wash my clothes, because a girl has only so many bathing suit bottoms she can cycle through before she has to turn to the weirds thongs she got as a bridal shower gift that are tucked away in the far back corner of the underwear drawer.

I am so excited to have a fully functioning sewer system. This means that I can now go back to testing recipes, which also involves dirtying every dish in the house, and I can wash the dishes in the sink, not the backyard. Which is a good thing, because I exploded the kitchen testing these pumpkin muffins. The combination of excitement and the supermoon/harvest moon (now they're saying that we will be able to see the Northern Lights!!!) I'm a little crazier than normal, which also means clumsy, which means that while I was in the kitchen preparing these muffins I had literally exploded a pumpkin all over the walls and blew up the cream cheese icing onto the ceiling. It was a disaster, but the muffins turned out fantastic, and that's all that matters in the end.

I don't even know what has come over me. Yesterday I walked into the grocery store, past the berries, right to the canned pumpkin and spices. I have been hit by a harvest spell, and there is no stopping it. The logical part of my brain knows that it is way too early for all-things-pumpkin, but the wild and crazy part of me (the more dominant side) says f-it to logic, lets start basking in the glory that is fall already, because I really want to make a fall wreath and decorate my house with corn husks and all that jazz, but really, who are we kidding, I will never get around to all that crafty stuff, so lets just stuff our faces with these pumpkin muffins and call it a day.

This recipe has been tested and tweaked a few times over the years, and each year I can't decide on whether I am calling it a cupcake or a muffin. Brent thinks that it is a cupcake because it has icing. I agree, but I also feel that its much more like a muffin in taste and texture. I went with muffin, because it felt right. They are full of smooth soft pumpkin and all the festive spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. I added dark chocolate to the mix, and topped them with a cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon because in my head that sounded amazing, and in reality it was even better. Oh lawd, let the pumpkin season begin.





makes 15 muffins

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

3/4 cup oil

1 - 15 oz can pumpkin puree

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 - 8 oz packs of cream cheese, room temperature

1 stick (1/2 cup ) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 ºF.

Line a muffin pan with 15 muffin cups.

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder,

baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and both sugars.

In a separate bowl combine the eggs, oil, and pumpkin puree.

Add the wet to the dry and combine. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.

Place the muffin pan into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool on a wire wrack.

In a large bowl add the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, and maple syrup. With a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat until light and fluffy.

Ice the muffins. Store in the fridge for 4 days.