Fall has officially begun, and October is just a few days away, but in so many ways, it still feels like summer to me. The days are still (very) warm, the trees are still green, and I’m still drinking mostly iced coffee in the mornings, as the cozy feeling of a warm latte doesn’t quite beckon me yet. But I can’t deny that it is technically fall, mostly for the reason that fall means pumpkin baking season, one of my absolute favorite times of year. The season is such a short one that I really try to embrace it full-heartedly, because even though you can bake with pumpkin any time of year, this is the only time when it actually seems fitting.
I think that what made me fall in love with pumpkin in baking was Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. We used to buy it at my favorite bakery in town, and it was always such a treat, with its moist crumb, chocolate chips scattered throughout, and warm, aromatic blend of pumpkin and fall spices. Since then, I’ve learned to enjoy pumpkin in so many other ways, but that bread has probably always been my favorite. So this year, when I opened up my first jumbo can of pumpkin, I couldn’t help but remember that bread and crave it once again. It only seemed appropriate to fulfill that craving with some homemade Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, but in the form of muffins – individually sized for easy eating.
I ate my first muffin straight out of the oven for breakfast, and at that moment, it was easy to believe that fall was beginning. That warm, moist, spicy muffin, studded with melted chocolate chips, was exactly what I was craving, and it felt so perfect just soaking up that sense of coziness that fall baking brings as I munched on a muffin that morning. When I went to take photos of the remaining muffins, I could still smell the blend of pumpkin and spices the entire time I was photographing, and it was that smell that really transported me back to the days when I first enjoyed Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. Even though I didn’t realize it until I smelled it, that familiar scent was the final test for these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins that told me these were the ones I was yearning for. It may still feel like summer in many ways, but at least I can enjoy a warm muffin in the morning and have a sense that fall has arrived.