Ovens in Autumn ~


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel


-- To Autumn by John Keats



When autumn comes round the seasonal wheel, with its winds & cooler mornings & lengthening nights, I get the inspiration to re-meet my oven, to fill my kitchen with the warmth of something roasting, slow cooking, or baking.


It is not that I don't use an oven during the warmer months, but in summer it is much less common for me to roast roots, bake a pie, or slow cook a dinner. In summer, the hearth of the world is lit from without & as we enter into the colder, darker months, it becomes up to us to be the ones who keep the hearth lit & warm from within.


This week in early October, I found myself visited by the desire to disrupt my normal morning ritual of reading on the patio with a cup of black coffee & instead decided to bake something lovely. I honestly cannot recall the last time I baked anything, it feels like ages ago. So I took a glimpse at my pantry, a little slim on baking supplies but on the shelves: pistachios, rolled oats, baking powder & soda. And of course, the cherries in the freezer...


About an hour later, I was pulling fresh muffins out of the oven & the kitchen smelled sweet, warm, & lived in. I had almost forgotten the feeling of baking something, of experiencing the very real transformation of a liquid becoming solid & rising with the heat. Ever since I was little, I loved to bake & follow the instructions on the flour dusted pages of a cookbook, seeing how far I could push past their guidance before I totally changed the exact alchemy of a recipe into something inedible.


And so it is that every fall I remember my love for creating for the sake of enjoyment, I recall my love for sharing something delicious with my loved ones & friends, & I rejoice in the feeling of connecting to so many memories I have wrapped in the scent of cardamom & vanilla extract wafting from an oven.


Perhaps you enjoy baking at this time of the year, & perhaps you'd like to try your hand at the muffin recipe I half-concocted/half-followed? Find my recipe for these simple, gluten-free, autumnal muffins below:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oat flour (I blend 2 cups old-fashioned oats to make the flour)

  • a heaping 1⁄3 cup of maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ cup applesauce

  • ½ cup milk of your choice (I like macadamia milk for this recipe)

  • ¼ cup olive oil oil

  • 1 large egg

  • 3 drops of your favorite autumnal flower essence

  • 1 cup of chopped frozen cherries

  • ½ cup - ¾ cup chopped pistachios


Recipe

  • Preheat the oven to 355º F. Lightly grease muffin tin cups with softened butter (or line with muffin papers). The batter will make 12 muffins without mix-ins, and up to 15 muffins with mix-ins.

  • Thaw your frozen cherries for a bit to make them easier to cut + use a mortar & pestle to make a coarse grind of your pistachios.

  • I make my oat flour by blending 2 cups rolled oats in my coffee grinder! Alternatively, your can use a food processor. The consistency of your flour should be fine & powdery.

  • Add the 2 cups of oat flour into a large mixing bowl.

  • Next, add cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, & salt to your flour--mix together with a whisk.

  • Push flour to the sides of the bowl to make a little valley of flour. Into the center of this valley, add the: egg, applesauce, vanilla extract, flower essence, milk, oil, & maple syrup. Blend well into the flour, scraping down the sides halfway through with a rubber spatula. I like to add a dash more milk into my batter if it is looking too thick.

  • Stir in your cherries & pistachios to the batter with the rubber spatula.

  • Immediately divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups (the batter will thicken as it sits). I typically fill each individual tin about ¾ full to allow them room to rise while baking.

  • Bake for at least 20 minutes, rotating pan at the 10 minute mark.

  • Depending on how large your muffin tins are, it may take a bit longer for them to bake thoroughly! You can tell your muffins are done when the tops are set & a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Once out of the oven, let your muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes before enjoying with softened butter & tea or coffee or saving for later in an airtight container.


May these fill you with nourishment & delight ~