Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

It's that time of year favorite season by far. There is a bite to the morning air, the leaves are a gorgeous mixed array of red, yellow and orange....and there are squash, apples and pumpkins.  With the harvest comes an assortment of seasonally appropriate comfort foods that can be made.  For me, apple pie, curried butternut squash soup and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are what comes to mind...let's talk about the latter.

My first experience with this muffin was years ago (trust me, long enough that it makes me feel like an "old-timer" to mention) while living in Washington state. There was a bakery open for the early commuters and I would stop by most Fridays for an end-of-the-week treat. The bakery was very progressive for the area and era in that they focused on using whole grains, healthier fats and reduced sugars.  There were over a dozen different muffin selections on any given day along with cinnamon rolls, breads and soups.

For years I longed for the recipe on making these spice scented-chocolaty gems.  OK, again this was before the Internet and google searches. I eventually found it in an unsuspecting, cute little cookbook and I've been using it ever since.  I wouldn't declare this recipe as being particularly healthy, but they're good none the less.  I make these muffins only once or twice a year.  The recipe calls for the use of pumpkin pie spice. I never seem to have this spice blend in my repertoire.  And even though I've read many a substitution list providing the breakdown, did I ever write it down?? No, not until five years ago when I was tired of having to look it up each time. And yes, now I use google :o)  What I finally did was jot it down in the book on the page of the recipe!  Yeah, I know, crazy talk, right?? Seems pretty "normal" at this point in my life, but there was a day that even a butter smudge in my beautiful cookbooks were disappointing. Well, I'll have you know I'm way past that kinda "warms my heart" to stumble upon a recipe in a cookbook with splatters, stains and says...yep, it's a good one!!  So today is two-for one's a recipe for the spice blend and the delicious muffins I adore.

There are many recipes to be found online for this spice blend.  I use as a reference on a regular basis.  Other sites have mentioned cloves in place of allspice.  Make both versions to see what your preference is.


makes 1 tablespoon
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4    tsp ginger
3/8    tsp allspice
3/8    tsp nutmeg
Mix ingredients together.

If you want to make a larger batch, make sure to store in an airtight container.

This muffin recipe goes together within 10 minutes. Just think, in a little over 30 minutes you can have warm muffins with your Sunday morning latte! I provided the recipe just as it appears in the book. I seldom add the toasted almonds as they're perfect without the crunch. Most times I use Wheat Montana's Prairie Gold whole wheat pastry flour. And per the usual, I use organic cane sugar, organic unsalted butter and kosher or sea salt. High altitude adjustments can be found at the bottom of the post.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (I used Wheat Montana Prairie Gold)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease muffin cups or use paper or foil liners.  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix eggs, pumpkin puree and butter. Add chocolate chips.  Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.  Scoop batter evenly between muffin cups.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until puffed and springy to the touch in the center. Turn out onto a rack to cool.

High Altitude adjustments for 5,500 ft
  • Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees
  • Increase flour by 1/4 cup
  • Decrease baking soda by 1/2 tsp
  • Use half butter, half safflower oil

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