Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A little taste of autumn

There's that moment every year. You know what I mean. You wait for it, wondering if it will be tomorrow, or the next day, and then suddenly - BAM! It hits you. That perfect moment when the last few leaves on the trees are all fiery reds, oranges and yellows, the fallen ones underfoot crunch that lovely sound, and the crisp wind bites at your nose and hints at the chilly winter ahead. Every year, I wait for this moment of true autumn to come - and then I make pumpkin muffins.

I love pumpkin in pretty much anything, but muffins are one of my favorites. I think it was the abundance of pumpkin muffins during my autumns in college, made by various roommates through the years with a little bit of extra TLC, that got me hooked.

My recipe has evolved over the years, and is now healthier and easier than ever. They're light and chewy in texture, moist on the inside, have a great pumpkin flavor and are just sweet enough. Feel free to substitute ingredients with whatever you have on hand or might prefer - I've included alternatives in parentheses in the recipe, and have had successful results with all of these options.

Incredibly Easy Pumpkin Muffins
(This batch made 24 mini muffins + 4 regular sized muffins)

1 1/2 cups flour (you can use all AP, I usually do 1 cup whole wheat and 1/2 cup AP but wouldn't recommend more than 1 cup whole wheat)
2 T ground flaxseed (or oat/wheat germ/bran - this addition is optional)
1 1/4 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg (I never measure nutmeg since I freshly grate it; just eyeball it!)
1/2 t ground cloves (or cardamom, or allspice, or ginger, or even Chinese 5-spice powder)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar + 1/4 cup honey (I'm trying to cut back on added sugars in my baking, and these muffins aren't meant to be overly sweet - so keep the total sugar to about 3/4 cup - you can use all brown sugar, or substitute maple syrup for the honey)
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk, or yogurt)
1 T olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray your muffin tins (whatever size you want, or loaf pans) with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium-size bowl, combine flour, ground flaxseed (optional), soda, salt, spices and stir to combine. Add the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, and honey to the bowl, and start to mix until the ingredients start to come together. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, then add to the medium bowl along with the buttermilk and oil. Mix to combine, about 20-30 seconds or until there are no more visible dry ingredients. An ice cream scoop with a spring-loaded handle make scooping perfectly sized muffins a breeze - but regular spoons work just fine too. Fill tins 3/4 high, and bake mini-sized muffins for 15 minutes, rotating the tin(s) once. If making regular-sized muffins, bake time is a few minutes longer at 18 minutes, rotating the tin(s) once. 
I like to enjoy a few for breakfast...sometimes with Nutella!


  1. I love this -- "This batch made 24 mini muffins + 4 regular sized muffins"

    My popovers recipe is awkward like that! Always exactly 11 popovers.

    These look delicious!

  2. You inspired me.... I'm making some this morning :-)