Who hasn’t dreamed of being a chef? We’ve all had our Food Network fantasies—you’re in your kitchen preparing a box of KD, and you suddenly find yourself narrating your every action and smiling profusely into an imaginary TV camera. On the other hand, maybe that’s just me. My fantasies went as far as my nearly taking a spot in George Brown’s chef school. However, in the end, I decided to come to UTM and pursue the equally financially unstable career of acting.
I’m not alone though. Professor Will Huggon of the psychology department (and a UTM alumnus) had similar culinary ambitions. “Before I went into forensic and social psychology, I was actually going to be a baker and chef—completely related, right?” he says.
Nevertheless, he continues to cook and develop his own recipes, often with inspiration from his family, such as the recipe for pumpkin spice muffins below. “It’s my attempt at recreating the Starbucks pumpkin loaf without paying $2.45 a slice,” he says. “It’s a modified version of my mom’s banana bread recipe, with the spice profile of my mom’s pumpkin pie recipe.”
As university students we’re not only encouraged, but also often forced to “wear many hats” at once. Why can’t that include a chef’s hat too? (Even if it’s just in the privacy of your kitchen.)
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
MAKES 2 LOAVES OR 18 MUFFINS
- ½ cup (125 ml) butter, softened; or vegetable oil
- 1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) molasses
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
- 1½–2 cups (375–500 ml) pumpkin purée (about half a big can or a full small can)
- ½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk or Carnation evaporated milk
- 2½ cups (625 ml) flour
- 1½ tsp (7.5 ml) baking soda
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- ¼ tsp (1 ml) nutmeg
- ½ tsp (2 ml) ginger
- 1¼ tsp (6 ml) cinnamon
- 1 cup (250 ml) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) brown sugar
1.Cream together the brown sugar, molasses, and butter (or oil).
2.Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
3.Mix in the pumpkin purée and buttermilk.
4.In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon.
5.Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
6.Pour the batter into two greased bread pans or 18 greased or lined regular-size muffin tins.
7.Sprinkle the pepitas and brown sugar overtop.
8.Bake loaf in 350 F (180 C) oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or 15–20 minutes for muffins.