browned butter pumpkin chocolate muffins

Monday, February 4, 2013

I just returned home from the first of two Atlanta trips (where I'm guest-starring on a TV show) and the very first scene I shot required facial prosthetics for my character. Yep, you heard me correctly: facial prosthetics. People assume that being an actress is all glamour and beauty and maybe (probably) for some it is. But for me? I am the actress who constantly winds up looking like a freak. On various TV shows/movies, my afflictions have included:

-going blind due to lizard venom

-bleeding from the eyes

-being overtaken by a flesh-eating virus

-a gut-stab by pocketknife in an alley

-a gut-stab by butcher knife in a living room

-getting my throat-slit in a drive-in movie while wearing a prosthetic cleft lip 

-being pecked to death by a parrot (BTW, this was a comedy)

Some less serious afflictions (mostly just painful infringements on vanity) have included:

-bad "temporary" hair color (it's NEVER temporary)

-creepy wigs

-really bad hair styling

-zero hair styling

-horrifying clothes

-not enough clothes

Glamourous, huh?

Anyway. Back to last week: I arrived to work and reported straight to the makeup chair where the nice people began affixing latex pieces to various regions of my face (using super fume-y solvents and glues and then applying makeup on top) to make me look horribly swollen from a severe allergic reaction. This took nearly three hours. After which, I could not do any of the following:




-open my eyes fully

-talk comfortably

-stop taking pictures of myself

This was physically a small nightmare. Also important to note: It wasn't just uncomfortable for me--I looked FREAKY. Like something was really wrong with my face. When people looked at me they couldn't suppress an involuntary flinch and what followed was a blurted "Oh, wow!" or "Holy mother of God!" Even the makeup experts who had ADMINISTERED the horror were averting their gazes. And did I mention it was my first day? I hadn't met the director or any of the other actors yet. When the time was right I was transported to set with my giant face and had multiple awkward introductions. I tried to make jokes and make people feel comfortable but this promptly failed. (Try making jokes and inspiring comfort in others with one droopy eye and a swollen mouth incapable of mirth.) The show's creator came up to me to say hello and I said, "Thank you so much for having me here!" But imagine the lockjaw, emotionless, creepy-eyed, freaky-person version. I gave up after that. It was a nice serving of discomfort for all involved.

Thankfully, the scene went off without a hitch and after the sweet relief of the latex removal, I made it back to the hotel. It had been 8 hours since I could eat and I was ravenous. I made a beeline for the lobby lounge and ordered a giant glass of wine and a pepperoni pizza. Over the next hour the waitress kept coming over and asking me if I wanted a box. "Nope," I said. "I plan on eating the entire thing." And I did. Sometimes Comfort Eating is imperative. And it's always important to celebrate your normal face. Even if you're rocking a little post-latex chemical burn.

If I'd have been home, I probably would've whipped up a batch of these muffins too. They are kinda perfect for the comfort-eat sweet:

Browned Butter Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins
yields 12

If you like pumpkin and chocolate you will exponentially love these. I can't think of a better accompaniment to a cup of coffee. Plus, you deserve one (or three), facial prosthesis or no.

1 stick unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups flour
7 T packed brown sugar
1 T pumpkin pie spice
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I had mini ones on hand)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350.

Brown the butter by melting it in a skillet over medium heat. Shortly after it melts, it will foam and then the milk solids will begin to brown. This will happen pretty quickly (and it can burn easily) so keep an eye out and swirl/whisk often.  When the butter is nuttily fragrant and brown, set aside.*

Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, pp spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the chocolate chips and toss to coat. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin and slightly cooled browned butter. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Divide between 12 paper-lined (or greased) muffin tins (I use a mini ice-cream scoop for this) and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

*here's a great step-by-step to browning butter (with photos!)


P.S. I should've kept the prosthetics on and tried to find this guy in the lobby bar again.


  1. ummmm...what oven temperature and approximate cooking time?

  2. yeeks! thanks for bringing that to my attention! it's now included above.


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