Pumpkin Spice Muffins

I’m a bit of a pumpkin fiend. I think it’s a result of shying away from pumpkin pie for most of my childhood (the thought was too radical for me, so I stuck with my chocolate mousse and apple pies). Now that I know how great all things pumpkin are, I’m always trying to make up for lost time.

Since my favorite past time is abusing free wifi privileges at cafes, I’ve been exposed to my fair share of pumpkin muffins. For the most part, they’ve been delicious. But I do have my complaints. I’m a firm believer in cream cheese frosting on cupcakes, but I don’t really want it in my muffins. I especially don’t want it in there if it’s going to be distracting from a perfectly good pumpkin flavor.

These pumpkin muffins are no frills. Of course, you could thrown some chopped nuts, dried fruit, or chocolate chips in there. Next time I make them, I plan on going with pecans, cranberries, and dark, dark chocolate. But there’s no need to mess around and turn this into a kitchen sink muffin because the pumpkin speaks for itself. This is a light, moist, and flavorful cake that is just short of a cupcake-like sweetness. The spices on top lend a little crunch, but if you wanted to gussy it up, you could go the cream cheese route (I’ll forgive you).

These are great alongside some granola and yogurt for breakfast, or paired with a hot latte.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Yields 16 medium muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking power
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Put oven in middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Put liners in muffin cups.

2. Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

3. Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

4. Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

5. Cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

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