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Pumpkin Jacks and Pests

December 3, 2011

Exciting news! Tart to Heart now has its own domain name! You will be automatically redirected to the new address, but feel free to update your links to Thanks again to all my readers and subscribers for your support. Please remember to share this blog with your friends 🙂

It’s amazing how one teeny tiny little thing can deter me so wholeheartedly from using my kitchen, from doing what I love best: baking. Then again, it wasn’t one teeny tiny little thing, it was hundreds of teeny tiny little things, each equipped with six legs and the ability to creep and crawl into every nook and cranny of my kitchen. I’m talking about ants, people. I moved into my new apartment here in Portland two weeks ago, excited to have my own place to unpack all my things, only to find little black bugs all over my new kitchen counters.

I went into crisis mode. I meticulously sorted through all my baking ingredients, my bags and bags of assorted flours and sugars and nuts, making sure they were ant-free and quickly securing them in my refrigerator where I knew they’d be safe. Then it was time to kill. These ants were going down. Poison traps were put out and I watched the ants consume their doom. And waited. All the time, I was yearning to use my oven. Fall was in full swing, Thanksgiving only days away, and it was torture. I was nearly in tears when I realized I couldn’t make the Thanksgiving pies I had planned. Thank goodness I work at a bakery that had some extra pies for me to bring to dinner.

So, that’s my long-winded explanation for why I haven’t posted here for more than two weeks. But the ants are gone! My kitchen is restored! And last night I finally broke out the bowls and measuring spoons to bake the pumpkiny treat I’d been craving.

These little muffins may look familiar to you if you’ve checked out one of the earlier posts on my blog. These are a riff on one of my favorite treats: Sailor Jacks. Heavily-spiced muffins turned on their heads and dipped in a sweet glaze. This time, I used pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice for a new twist. With a steaming cup of coffee, these Pumpkin Jacks are a great start to a crisp fall morning. Besides, I know your pantry still has a few cans of pumpkin tucked away.

Pumpkin Jacks

adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

Yield: 1 dozen


  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugars, spices and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flours, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the pumpkin, egg, oil, and sugar mixture. Whisk gently until just combine. Do not over mix.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin to 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
  6. Immediately flip the cupcakes upside down onto a cooling rack. Press down gently to flatten the tops (now the bottoms) slightly (you can leave the muffins right-side-up, but they are traditionally served upside down). Cool completely.
  7. To make the glaze, whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl, adjusting the consistency as needed with either more powdered sugar or more milk. Dip the cooled muffins into the glaze, letting the excess drip off before setting on a wire rack to set (place a baking sheet under the rack to collect the drips).
  8. Once the glaze is set, serve with a hot cup of coffee and enjoy!
5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2011 7:43 pm

    My husband would LOVE this. Saving this recipe!

  2. Edie permalink
    December 4, 2011 8:01 am

    glad you conquered the ants! these remind me of the trips cannon beach where we had to have sailor jacks from the bakery there! yummy!

  3. December 4, 2011 8:34 am

    Glad you’re settled. I hate being away from my kitchen for that long. These look wonderful.

  4. December 4, 2011 12:17 pm

    Congrats on moving to your own domain name! Also, on conquering the ants in your kitchen – YUCKY! These Pumpkin Jacks look delicious.

  5. December 5, 2011 1:15 am

    Ugh, kitchen infestations are so frustrating! I recently had a beetle infestation in my cupboards that started in a bag of mung beans. Glad that’s over with!

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