Pumpkin Muffins with Mini Chocolate Chips

If you love fall as much as I do, you will find yourself making anything apple, pumpkin, cinnamon and squash related. I can’t help it. It’s basically automatic as soon as that first chill of Autumn is felt in the air. This pumpkin muffin recipe makes the most tender, moist and delicious muffins. I made pumpkin muffins before, but they more donut-y than muffin-like. If you’re looking for a breakfast pumpkin muffin, this is it.
Mini chocolate chips are better than regular chocolate chips. I don’t need to go into depth about this, they just are. I encourage those of you who bake often to keep whole wheat pastry flour in your pantry. It can be used in place of or with all-purpose flour, and you won’t be able to taste a difference, but you’ll be adding some whole wheat. I added some bran cereal as well because a little bran never hurt anybody.
If you aren’t looking for a breakfast muffin, add a little cream cheese frosting (or just add it anyway…). With some pumpkin pie spice. And a cup of hot cider alongside.
Ingredients:
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup bran cereal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsulphered molasses
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (can also use regular chocolate chips)
How To:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a regular muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil and eggs until combined. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and whisk to combine. Stir in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Add mini chocolate chips. Do not over mix, just make sure everything is incorporated.

Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup to almost the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and remove from pan.

Advertisements

Morning Blueberry Muffins

I must be on a muffin kick…I saw blueberries in the market and immediately thought of muffins (not a buckle, cobbler, pancakes or smoothie). I’ve had trouble with blueberry muffins before, so I needed to find a great recipe that would put these blueberries to good use. I believe I found that great recipe.

Blueberry muffins need a little lemon zest. They also need a little sweetness but not too much so they feel like a dessert. They are supposed to be a breakfast food after all. And the crumble…oh the crumble. I am now sold on the idea all muffins should have a crumble topping.

My issues have been blue muffins and dry muffins…these are neither. They are moist, the right “muffin” color, and have a tye dye blueberry pattern. They make me want to wake up and eat one. Any muffin that can do that, is worth baking. I think we all know this, but they don’t need to be morning only muffins. They can be morning, noon and night blueberry muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups flour (I used a mix of whole wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour)
  • 2/3 cup milk

for topping

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

How To:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 12 regular-size muffin cups.

For topping, mix together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add in cubed butter and process with hands or with a pastry blender. Set aside.

Sift together baking powder, salt and flour; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon zest and mix. Fold in half of sifted flour mixture then half of milk; repeat. Gently stir in blueberries. Spoon into muffin cups (about 3/4 full) and sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons topping onto each muffin. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.

Chunky Monkey Muffins

With its title, this recipe had me right away. The term chunky monkey actually means “the object of a chubby chaser’s affection,” (according to the Urban Dictionary) but in my dictionary it means food with bananas, chocolate, and peanut butter combined.

These muffins are actually most healthy, but don’t let that turn you away. They taste decadent and hearty, perfect for a chilly morning when its too late in the season for oatmeal and the berries have yet to arrive.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chips)
  • 6 ounces low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 medium overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Coat liners with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine flours, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Mix together the yogurt, bananas, egg, vanilla extract, oil, and milk in a separate bowl until thoroughly combined (but banana chunks are ok).

Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. Spoon the prepared muffin cups 1/2 full. Add 1 teaspoon peanut butter on top, then sprinkle with a few chocolate chips. Fill up the cups with more batter until 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops of the muffins look dry and they spring back if touched. Allow to cool for several minutes, then take muffins out of tins and place on a wire rack to fully cool. Let the affection begin, in the form of noshing.

Cinnamon Sugar Coated Pumpkin Muffins

Try saying that three times fast. The first words out of my mouth when biting into one of these were “holy baked donughts!” Because that is what they are, and the exclamation was to express my utter delight in their sweet cinnamony exterior and inner plush pumpkin layer. Perfect for a Thanksgiving morning – guilty tasting while being moderately not bad for you.

And when its fall, I want the flavor of pumpkin to be infused into just about everything. One little bite makes me feel like I went to the cider mill, ate doughnuts, and picked out pumpkins. It’s almost magical I tell you.

Cinnamon Sugar Coated Pumpkin Muffins Adapted from Everyday Food

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (check out how to make buttermilk in the How To’s section)
  • 1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs

for the sugar coating:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 24 mini muffin tins or 12 regular muffin tins (I used a spray oil then floured, you can also use butter). To make the batter, sift together dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl fluff butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs. Add flour mixture in three parts, interchanging with buttermilk/pumpkin in three parts.  Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, spoon batter into muffin tins, about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick come out clean, about 20 minutes for mini muffin tins, and 25 to 30 minutes for regular muffin tins. Let cool on a wire rack.

When muffins have cooled, combine sugar and cinnamon for coating. Melt butter. Brush butter onto one muffin, dip muffin in cinnamon sugar coating making sure to get all sides. Set on rack. Continue with the rest of the muffins. Serve immediately! Or watch them mysteriously disappear as soon as you set them on the rack to cool.

You can make the muffins ahead of time and coat them just before serving. I found the sugar mixture melted off and the muffins were soggy after 24 hours.

Bran Muffins

On some mornings, you really need an excuse to get out of bed. While bran muffins may not sound so interesting and delicious, the smell of this recipe baking in the oven is enough to bring the deepest sleeper to consciousness. At the very least they can sleep walk their way into the kitchen and if they are really talented (or on ambien), sleep-eat.

I added raisins and chopped dried dates to my batch because I like a punch of sweetness first thing in the AM. Bran muffins can also be so-so unless there are some added ingredients of interest. You can get away with using one box of bran cereal, although the recipe calls for two different types. If you aren’t a normal bran eating person, why buy two boxes of bran cereal?

Finally, don’t eat more than several of these in one day. They contain a lot of bran…

Bran Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 3 cups white sugar minus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil
  • 5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups kellogg’s all bran
  • 2 cups kellogg’s bran buds
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 quart (4 cups) buttermilk

How To:

Pour water over Bran Buds and let set. Mix oil, sugar and eggs. Add milk. Stir until well combined. Add Kellogg’s All Bran. Sift flour, baking soda and salt. Combine with creamed mixture. Fold in soaked bran.

Bake in greased muffin tins for 15-18 minutes at 400 degrees. You can also keep the batter for up to 6 weeks tightly covered in refrigerator. Leave space at top of container as batter may grow.

Rosemary-Lemon Muffins

I love foods with a secret ingredient – whether I can taste it or not. It’s like a food who-dun-it or a little tasty mystery that leaves you madly reading through the recipe. I’m not a mystery book genre gal, but in terms of food – I do love a good puzzle because most often times the ingredients we don’t first realize make whatever we are eating taste better. You can use the secret ingredient in other recipes that call for similar items. The herb thyme brings out a certain freshness to chicken and turkey and espresso brings out chocolate flavor (thank you Ina Garten). Sometimes it is apple sauce or sour cream in cakes and honey in breads. I can’t say the same is true for processed foods – that they have an awesome hidden ingredient. Usually it’s the opposite. I’m talking only in terms of home cooking.

This brings me to Rosemary-Lemon Muffins. The name seems plain yet intriguing enough to be an absolutely delicious brunch item. But read on in the ingredients list and you will see pumpkin and polenta! I made these thinking I would actually taste pumpkin, but nope. They taste like amazing little corn bread sweet and savory muffins that are looking to entertain. There is so much flavor hidden (or maybe right out there?) you will be asked “what’s in this?” which usually translates to “these are so utterly amazing, what did you put in here?” And there is your little who-dun-it mystery brunch all because of a wonderful little muffin.

p.s. I also love using powdered sugar instead of granulated. Just something fun that doesn’t always come about in muffin recipes.

Rosemary-Lemon Muffins Adapted from California Olive Ranch

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary*
  • 2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée, canned or homemade
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar

*Having trouble mincing rosemary? So did I, thus the blender idea below. If you can’t mince it with your knife throw it in the blender for a few whirls, then slowly add the zest and olive oil.

How To:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2  standard muffin cups with paper liners.

Measure out olive oil. In a blender combine rosemary, zest and about 1/4 cup olive oil. Blend and then slowly add the rest of the olive oil.  In a large bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, flours, polenta, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Create a well and add eggs. Mix until just combined. While hand mixer is on low speed, add rosemary mixture. Mix until combined. Add pumpkin and beat until smooth, about 1 minute longer.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with raw sugar and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature. You are able to store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Alternately wrap tightly and freeze for up to 1 month.

Makes 24 muffins.

Pumpkin Bread Two Ways

If only the internet could be scratch n sniff…

I’ve been on a real pumpkin/squash kick lately as evidenced by prior recipes. Why not keep going? This past weekend I attempted and methinks succeeded in baking pumpkin bread with chocolate [for good measure]. The “two ways” title alludes to the two different types of chocolate used- semi-sweet and white. I am making this into a competition because I made two loaves and each had a different chocolate. The winner is…pumpkin bread with white chocolate! The two go together incredibly well and makes the bread into more of a treat than a breakfast loaf. I only have pictures of the chocolate pumpkin loaf because…the white chocolate went really fast.

The chocolatey bits evenly melted into the bread leaving the loaves almost marbled throughout. You don’t really need any butter or jam, the chocolate does it all while not being over-powering. I added a fruit element to the original recipe, so if you don’t have oranges in the house you can definitely go without the zest. This might just be the best gift you can bring to Thanksgiving if you aren’t doing the whole shebang yourself.

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups pumpkin (canned or fresh puree)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 cups spelt flour (you can use all-purpose, whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips (or semi-sweet chocolate chips, but seriously, the white chocolate is where it’s at)

How To:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease about three small loaf pans or one large loaf pans with non-stick spray or safflower oil.

Mix pumpkin, sugar, egg, milk, oil, applesauce, vanilla and zest until combined – no electric mixer necessary! . In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly add to dry mixture into wet until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter evenly into loaf pans (or dump into large loaf pan). Bake for approximately 30 minutes (40 minutes for large loaf pan) or until tester comes out clean. Enjoy the scent while your loaves bake!