Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pecan Pie Muffins

My favorite pie is easily pecan pie. With this cherry pie a close, close second. Anyway, I have a really sweet sweet tooth. Like, it's ridiculous. I love all things super, super sweet and if they're gooey, then I've died and gone to heaven. Take for example my love of cadbury eggs. I know that there are scores and scores of people out there who cannot stand the sugar, tooth-achinginy sweet cadbury egg. But, dude... thats my favorite seasonal candy. Oh, that and chocolate covered cherries. But... don't try to get all gourmet on me and give me the dark chocolate covered cherries from some fancy dancy chocolate shop.... no sir. I want the milk chocolate covered cherries made by Queen Anne and sold in your local wal-mart and walgreens. Yum. See, I love my super sweet chocolate and pure sugar fillings.

So, is it any wonder that my favorite pie and maybe my favorite dessert in general is the pecan pie? I also love pecans, so that doesn't hurt.

Now, pecan pie was one of those things that I usually only had at Thanksgiving and Christmas. If my mom was going to make a pie... it was almost always cherry because that's my dad's absolute favorite pie. But, when I went to my grandma's house for Thanksgiving and Christmas, there were always two pecan pies sitting on the dessert table. Each of them made by my Aunt Rita. My Aunt Rita was a very special person in my family. She was extremely intelligent and extremely silly. She didn't have any children, but was basically like a big kid herself. And while all the adult men sat at the kitchen table, the kids at the dining room table and the women (well... did the women even actually eat? I just remember them hovering over the kids and the husbands making sure we were all happy), Aunt Rita always sat with us kids. And we would all laugh and tease. She had a great laugh.

Tragically, my Aunt Rita passed away in a car accident when I was a freshman in high school. Her laugh and smile is something that we all really miss and that I can't help but think about at every family get together.

Since her passing, there have been empty spots on the dessert table where her pies used to be. The pecan pie was her contribution and I guess no one can bear to bring pecan pies, for fear of "stepping" on her memory? A couple of years ago, an outsider brought a store bought pecan pie and it sat untouched on the dessert table. Even with my love of pecan pie (yes, I even love store bought ones, I'm not picky with my pecan pie) I couldn't bear eat a slice of this "foreign" pie.

But, I've kind of decided, that after all this time.... almost 15 years now, that maybe making a pecan pie would honor her memory, instead of step on it. I'm still not sure, I've got some time before thanksgiving to think about it...

The memory of her and the pecan pies is something that makes me love pecan pies even more! Because, when I have pecan pie, I can't help but think about her and smile. But, pecan pie is one of those things that I just can't make for myself. I mean, I could seriously eat an entire pie at one sitting and still be craving more. So, you see how dangerous it is?

I saw this recipe ages ago on Recipezaar for Pecan Pie Muffins. Everyone raved over them in the comments section and they seemed easy enough, so I printed out the recipe, although, I was very skeptical that they actually tasted like pecan pie. How can a muffin taste like pecan pie?

Then, recently... Jennifer at Bake or Break made them. And let me just say... I have made a ton of the recipes she posts over there... and they are always delicious and always right up my alley. I kind of consider myself a Bake or Break stalker, actually. When I get a random 5 minute break at work, I always click on my favorites and she's at the top of the list, so I probably click on her site 3 times a day, just to see if she's posted anything new, or to look over some of her past recipes, to see if there's anything that sounds good for that day. I do that with Cookie Madness too and a few other blogs, but those two I definitely visit the most.

Anyway.. wow, I can get off on a tangent, can't I?

So, I made these muffins last week, and y'all... I have no idea how it can be... but these taste SO much like a pecan pie. I mean, they are obviously a little cakey-ier than a pie, but they are so delicious and so easy to make! They are chewy and gooey (although my picture doesn't really do that justice) and moist and sweet. Perfect! And so easy, too! I will definitely be making these again and again and passing this recipe on to lots of folks.

And while, it's not a pecan pie, it still makes me think of my Aunt Rita. I know she'd love these muffins and heck... maybe I can make these to bring to the holiday gatherings instead of an actual pie!