It’s November. That’s pretty heavy autumn. In some places they’re getting into winter. I heard there was snow in parts of the States. But here in Provence, the weather is still warm. 17-21°C in fact. That’s the mid to high 60’s, low 70’s for those of you not using Celcius. Only today, out of the past three weeks, has it rained and the temperature dropped to a reasonable 14°C which means I can pull out a light sweater but not have to wear a jacket, except for fashion purposes.
I can’t really complain. It’s raining but I get to stay home in my apartment, snug as a bug. I don’t even have to go running if I don’t want to get wet. There’s an elliptical machine by the window, all set up for use. There’s no “case of the Mondays for me,” no office to run to, no colleagues to deal with. I’m just listening to music, finishing off that second cup of coffee and wondering what to have for lunch.
Such is the non-explicit, semi-positive, non-despairing life of the unemployed. It sounds ideal when you don’t take bills, loans, and mortgages into consideration.
On a more positive note, November is National Novel Writing Month and I’m once again participating, albeit at a much slower and more thoughtful pace than the 100,000 word monster-mess that I wrote in 2011 and is now in the re-write phase. For those of you who like to write out there, it’s only November 5th and not too late to start. I love NaNo because the community spirit is motivating and inspiring. A welcome change from the drudgery and isolation that is part of being a writer. Sans-emploi, I’m free to spend my November writing away and enjoying the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people all over the world doing the same thing. It’s nice to be part of a team again.
Not very upbeat, today. Are we? You might be thinking right now.
Blame it on the rain.
Sometimes you just need a cupcake to keep yourself going. These are made with pumpkin butter from Trader Joe’s that I smuggled back into France and allspice. I dipped them in chocolate, because it’s raining and it’s chocolate.
The pumpkin butter was sweeter than I expected and though really good, I was afraid they would have that teeth-hurting sweetness that is alright the first bite but then after just sickening. They did – just a tiny, tiny bit – but that was the beauty of dipping them in dark chocolate. That cut down on the sweetness by supplying a touch of bitter cocoa taste. And when it cooled it gave a nice variation to the texture. Craquant as the French say.
And that’s today. Cupcakes, rain, and words.
- 60g butter
- 135g granulated sugar
- 125g flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup milk
- 4 tbsp Pumpkin butter
- About ½ tablet of dark chocolate, as high in cocoa as you like
- Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F Butter up your cupcake tin or line it with liners. Set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, all spice, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Add egg to the butter, sugar mixture and beat until smooth and light. Alternately add the flour and milk, mixing all the while to keep the batter smooth, beginning and ending with the flour. Add in the pumpkin butter and beat just until the batter is homogenous.
- Scoop the batter into the cupcake tin, about ¾ full each. Bake about 20 minutes or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool.
- Start a water bath for your chocolate. Melt in the water bath. Dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes and swirl around a bit to get the chocolate to cover the entire top. Cool completely. Enjoy with rain.
- Makes 12 small cupcakes