Gluten-free pumpkin cream cheese muffins


Made some pumpkin muffins using coconut flour – turned out well. 🙂 Gluten-free, paleo, and yummy.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

3/4 cups coconut flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cups maple syrup
6 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 175C. Line a cupcake pan with liners.

Mix all ingredients together. Put the mixture into the liners (2/3 full).

Cream cheese filling
About 1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix cream cheese and sugar together.

Make small indentations in the pumpkin mixture and add dollops of cream cheese filling – you can swirl it in slightly if you want a bigger mixture.

Put the muffins in the oven. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, remove from pan and cool completely before serving.

Gone bananas: Banana oat cupcakes with Smil filling

Banana oat cupcakes stuffed with Smil/Rolo candy

Banana oat cupcakes stuffed with Smil/Rolo candy

A new experiment… I had three bananas ready to go and a bunch of oats that I just did not want to store any longer. I vaguely knew I wanted to make something with caramel. I had also intended to make some chocolate cookies stuffed with Smil (the Norwegian equivalent of Rolo) but did not want to make more chocolate stuff in the end, so I just threw a Smil into the center of each cupcake. It remains to be seen how these will be received, but hopefully it will be a successfully experiment.

How to go bananas yourself?

Preheat oven to 190c

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 mashed overripe bananas

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside. In another bowl, beat egg, add milk, oil and vanilla, then sugar. Add banana. Mix well. Add dry mixture until just mixed (do not overmix).

Place mixture into greased cupcake pans or into cupcake papers. I put a small amount of the mixture into a cupcake paper, added a Smil candy and topped it off with a bit more batter.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes.

I frosted with caramel Swiss meringue buttercream.

4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons unsalted butter
three tablespoons caramel/dulce de leche

Over a double boiler, whisk egg whites and sugar. When sugar is dissolved, transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer – beat with the whip attachment until soft to medium peaks form. Switch to paddle attachment, start beating and adding in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Once you have a frosting-like texture (which can take a long while – the mixture will possibly look curdled, like it cannot possibly come together, at some point, but it will come together – just keep beating), add the vanilla. When nearly ready, add the caramel and mix until well-combined.

Frost the cupcakes with the prepared frosting.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins with Streusel Topping


Photo to follow…

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Streusel topping

  • 1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (62g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (60g) melted butter

Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
  • 1/2 cup (100g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (227g) pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling

  • 6 ounces (168g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (36g) sugar


Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Line two muffin sheets with 14 liners. I made six large muffins. Set prepared pan aside.

Make the crumb-topping first: Add the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon to a small bowl and mix until combined. Add the melted butter and mix until crumbs form. Set aside.

Make the pumpkin muffins: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do NOT overmix the batter.

Make the cheesecake filling: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric handheld (or stand) mixer on medium-high speed until creamy. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract, and sugar. Beat until combined.

Spoon enough pumpkin batter into the cup to fill about one-third full (that is what I did with my big cupcake pan – but this would be about one tablespoon for normal-sized muffin cups). Layer with about 1 spoonful of cheesecake filling, then another tablespoon of muffin batter (or however much batter is needed to fill the cups all the way to the top). Sprinkle each muffin evenly with crumb topping and press the topping down into the muffin.

Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425F (about 210C) degrees. Keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the temperature to 350F (about 175C) and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Try not to overbake.  Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool until ready to eat.

Sin-o-matic (Okay – cinematic is what I meant…) and middle-aged sex lives


To accompany a stack of bureaucratic kind of stuff I needed to do this weekend but had been shuttling off to some dark corner for “another day”, I decided to watch a bunch of films (or half-watch, as was sometimes the case). Strangely when binge watching in that kind of succession, I don’t remember everything I watched. The other night I saw a decade-old Japanese film called Quill, about the life and training of a dog that went on to be a service dog (and its eventual death). I can only remark that the Japanese make fascinatingly weird movies and observations, and I am always astounded by how much Japanese I actually remember. (It is definitely a use-it-or-lose-it language, but its grammatical simplicity lends itself to quick recall – at least for me.)

As for today’s viewing, I cannot even remember what I watched. I remember In a World because it just finished now. I expected to hate it because Lake Bell normally grates on me hard – and a vehicle that is written and directed by and starred in by HER – could I expect something positive? Expect, no. But be pleasantly surprised – yes.

But what else? I was in and out of the house all day, doing these bureaucratic tasks and baking some muffins – meaning that the films weren’t really my priority. And there were some tv shows thrown into it just to mix things up (and mix up my memory). I saw a German film called Lore (since World War II stories so ably buoy one’s spirits…). And a French film called Sexual Chronicles of a French Family. And then… what? There was something earlier that completely slipped my mind until I was semi-immersed (when I was not in the middle of making a frittata, anyway) in the Sexual Chronicles film – the discussions on middle-aged (and older) sex lives made me feel a kind of strange melancholy, made me think a bit of a poem from Howard Nemerov (“Reading Pornography in Old Age”*) and then took me back a few hours to the film I had seen earlier in the day – Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini (one of his, if not the, last roles). They are two regular, divorced, middle-aged people navigating the dating world, which – by their portrayal – makes it look just as awkward and fraught with missteps as dating at every other stage in life (even if things start out auspiciously enough – as though they have both gotten past insecurities and issues that tripped them up in earlier life). Yes, middle-aged, divorced dating movies, despite the sweetness of this one and its charming, funny and self-deprecating dialogue, depress me.

Hmm. And that’s enough said.

I leave you in Nemerov’s capable hands.

*Reading Pornography in Old Age

Unbridled licentiousness with no holds barred,
Immediate and mutual lust, satisfiable
In the heat, upon demand, aroused again
And satisfied again, lechery unlimited.

Till space runs out at the bottom of the page
And another pair of lovers, forever young,
Prepotent, endlessly receptive, renews
The daylong, nightlong, interminable grind.

How decent it is, and how unlike our lives
Where “Fuck you” is a term of vengeful scorn
And the murmur of “sorry, partner” as often heard
As ever in mixed doubles or at bridge.

Though I suspect the stuff is written by
Elderly homosexuals manacled to their
Machines, it’s mildly touching all the same,
A reminiscence of the life that was in Eden

Before the Fall, when we were beautiful
And shameless, and untouched by memory:
Before we were driven out to the laboring world
Of the money and the garbage and the kids

In which we read this nonsense and are moved
At all that was always lost for good, in which
We think about sex obsessively except
During the act, when our minds tend to wander.

Baked Goods in B2B: Experimental kiwi and coconut muffins


Earlier this week my manager at work celebrated his birthday. Because the number of native North Americans now outnumbers the Scandinavians in our team, we have decided to follow our North American birthday traditions. In the US and Canada, the birthday boy/girl is feted by colleagues, often as a surprise. The colleagues come together and bring a cake, ice cream, sign a card, etc. In Iceland, and indeed here in Norway, the tradition is that you, on your birthday, bear the responsibility of providing some kind of treats for everyone! We North Americans find this incomprehensible. Why should you, celebrating a special day in your life (maybe even a depressing one if you’re hung up on aging) providing for others and making an effort? Without meaning to sound culturally insensitive and judgmental, it’s just backwards! Haha.

Thus, I decided to bake a few simple things. I made chocolate cake (the recipe was provided in this blog already), peanut butter cups, some soft, chewy chocolate cookies that were supposed to form a sandwich for a caramel filling (I ran out of time and energy and ended up making sandwiches using melted milk chocolate… not the same thing at all), and these kiwi-coconut muffins. I saw a recipe like this on a blog somewhere and decided to give it a try… it was unusual and they were all eaten in the end, but I do not actually know how they turned out.


Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C

2 finely diced kiwis (about 1 cup—use firm kiwis that will not add too much moisture to the mixture)
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup coconut milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 large egg and 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons orange blossom honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut

(3 tablespoons sweetened, shredded coconut can be used as topping, if desired. I did not use this.)

Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray or put paper liners in the tins.

Peel and dice kiwis. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).

In another bowl, whisk coconut milk, melted butter, and eggs. Add the orange zest, honey, and vanilla extract, and whisk until just combined. Add to the flour mixture, and stir quickly until well combined. Fold in the kiwis and toasted coconut. Spoon the batter evenly into the molds.

Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with 3 tablespoons shredded coconut.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffin and placing on a wire rack to cool.