leaving time again.

Now, this is my favorite season. I think that's a popular sentiment... it's pretty hard not to favor the 13-perfect-weather-Saturdays in a row. The unbelievable colors of the changing leaves. [If I'm in love with the fall flavor of Oklahoma, I try not to even think about how beautiful it must be driving along the roads of Tennessee right now.] That crisp scent in the air of leaves burning. The pumpkin patches and pies. The football games. & If you know me, you know the suitcase of scarves is being unpacked. While the weather is turning cooler, somehow everything seems so warm. just an excuse to share scenes around our cozy little 'home'.
...and an opportunity to share a new fall favorite from our kitchen table to yours:

-Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes-

{would you believe I have never made cupcakes before?...ok, don't answer that. We all know I'm no Martha Stewart in the kitchen. But, hey, I'm trying to learn slowly... I wasn't even sure how the little paper wrappers got onto the cake. see? cupcake-virgin. So, if I can do it, clearly there's hope for wannabe-bakers anywhere.}

I stumbled upon this recipe book, and even with my lack of experience, just had to have it... So far, i've just made these cupcakes from the book...but pumped to try out the rest of these cute little things! Turning each page we were like "oooh...ummm...oh!...yumm...yeah...that one!..." so, the inaugural run was definitely a hit! Aaron's requested another batch - as he licks his fingers - even before this one's out. Someone snuck one before I could even snap a picture....

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder. 1/4 teaspoon salt. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. 1 teaspoon ground ginger. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly. 1 cup sugar. 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling). 3 lg. eggs. 1/4 cup crystalized ginger (cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch pieces).

Preheat oven to 325F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners [see, it's a good thing they're thorough with cooks like me.]

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low-medium speed, beat melted butter, sugar, and pumpkin until smoothly blended. Mix in the eggs and crystallized ginger [<--le piece de la resistance, in my opinion]. On low speed, mix in the flour mixture until it is incorporated. The batter will be thick.

Fill each paper liner with a generous 1/4 cup of batter. Bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick in the center comes out clean, abou 25 minutes [It took me 30]. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Then, invert on the wire rack and cool completely top side up.

And for the icing on the cake...

1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp). 6 oz cream cheese (room temp). 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. 3 cups powdered sugar.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth, and thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar slowly, mixing until smooth, about 1 minute. Then beat on medium speed for 1 minute to lighten the frosting further. Then, put it all together and your mouth will wonder how he'll ever return the favor.

"Autumn. the year's last, loveliest smile." - wm. cullen bryan