October 3rd. Jon's field trip to Bishop's Pumpkin Farm!
At that point, it would be too hard to ignore the season. We'd be surrounded by bright orange pumpkins, scarecrows, and corn mazes. Things like freshly pressed apple cider and deliciously spiced goods would be out for sale. I figured, alright, this would be quite the ceremonious way to say goodbye to my favorite season and say hello to the baking season. My first Fall baked good is inspired by this fun (and a bit chaotic) field trip!
|(Some of these photos were taken by my sister. She wants credit...Credit!!!)|
Do not let these pictures fool you. What looks like a bright sunny day was actually a bright, sunny, windy day. Before I left the house that morning, everybody warned me: bring a sweater because it might be cold. Of course, my stubborn self decided to trust the weather app's 75 degrees & cute cartoon sun forecast. So, of course, I was freezing once we arrived at the farm. The wind was even strong enough to kick up clouds of dirt and hay. It was like Mother Nature's way of laughing at me and saying, "Let's see if you can ignore Fall now!" Touche, Mother Nature.
However, the wind didn't seem to spoil the kids' fun. (Big sigh of relief - Every Parent.) Most of the kindergarteners ooh-ed & aah-ed over the big tractor and the orchards that we passed during the hay ride to the pumpkin fields.
Finally, it was time to hunt for the perfect pumpkin. We were told that we could pick any size that we wanted, as long as we could carry it out on our own. Jon and Jacquelyn had so much fun picking their pumpkins right off of the vine!
petting zoo! The goats are the stars here, and $2 buys you an ice cream cone filled with feed pellets, carrots, and apples. Watching Jon and his classmates try to feed the goats (then move on to the baby goats because they were smaller and not as scary) was one of the cutest things that I've ever seen. There were also donkeys, chickens, pigs, and one extremely loud and angry goose...
Our next stop was the train station. We boarded an old-fashioned train for a relaxing ride past the apple orchard, walnut trees, and jumbo pumpkins. (Not surprisingly, all of the boys wanted to be "locked up" in the cattle car, screaming about being zombie prisoners and whatnot...) Jon's teacher wrapped up the field trip activities, then it was time to sign the kids out and head off to lunch! While Barnyard BBQ's turkey legs and roasted corn on the cob all caught my eye (they even had churro bites!!!), the tri tip sandwich and garlic fries from PigaDeli Square absolutely hit the spot. We even got a picnic table with Valentina, Jon's friend, and her family. It was the perfect end to the afternoon, until...
After I walked away from the cashier, though, I immediately realized that I had made a mistake...I didn't buy the kids anything! Luckily, Bishop's has its own shave ice stand! Wacky Willy's Shave Ice Flavor Factory had a ton of flavors to choose from and a giant chalkboard on the wall even had combination ideas. (Bug Juice, for the save!)
At the end of the day, Jon and Jacquelyn had a blast and loved the pumpkin farm. (Jackie wins for Best Pumpkin.) And me? I got to sit back and, at long last, enjoy my Fall treats! The caramel apple was rich and sweet, and my sister and I loved the creamier texture of the caramel. It wasn't hard, sticky, or tooth-breaking! The pumpkin apple muffins, though, were the best thing that I ate all day! Good enough to try and make my own, you ask? Well, about that... ;)
I was able to get my hands on an easy recipe with a simple ingredient list, so I got to work in the kitchen the very next morning!
To make the batter, it's as easy as combining the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, and stir until everything is moistened.
Then, fold in the finely diced apples.
Many bakers will swear on their great-grandmothers' graves that the Granny Smith apple is the superior baking apple, so what I'm about to tell you may just shock you to the core...I do not bake with Granny Smith apples. (But, if this is hardly brand new information to you: well.) For this recipe, I used Gala apples, which are on the sweeter side and have a yummy flavor/texture even after baking.
Next, divide the batter into a baking cup-lined muffin pan. (PS. The color of the batter just makes you think of wonderful Autumn things, like caramel apples and pumpkin pie, doesn't it?!)
The streusel, which gives the muffins their sweet crunchy tops, is sprinkled right over the batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes. Afterwards, transfer them to a wire rack or serving platter.
Not just a breakfast dish, they're perfect for packing! They'd be great as a snack for a kindergarten class (school events or field trips!) or even as a gift for your child's teacher. Have a play date with some of your child's classmates? Surprise your fellow moms with some muffins! Even a little cellophane and ribbon could dress them up into a tasty hostess gift, especially with holiday parties coming up! Here's to a happy, Fall baking season! :)
Pumpkin Apple Muffins (makes 24 muffins; adapted from Libby's Pumpkin)
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 cups White Granulated Sugar
1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
1 1/4 cups Pumpkin Puree
2 large Eggs
1/4 cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
2 cups Finely Diced Apple (2 medium-sized Galas, peeled & cored)
2 tbsp All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup White Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 tbsp Unsalted Butter, chilled
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with baking cups.
- Into a large mixing bowl, add the 2 1/2 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Stir to evenly combine. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the pumpkin mixture. Then, stir to combine, just until moistened. Fold in the diced apples. Pour 2 tablespoons of batter into each baking cup of the prepared muffin pan.
- To make the streusel topping, combine the 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a small bowl. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture should be a coarse meal, and all of the flour and sugar should be incorporated. Next, top the batter in each baking cup with streusel.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pan for 2 minutes, then immediately transfer to a wire cooling rack.
- Serve warm with coffee or tea! Enjoy!