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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

October 9, 2015


The title of this post is so New England in autumn it hurts. Summer tans are all but faded and the last nice days are slipping away as the chill sets in. Heavy blankets, fallen leaves, my loud and constant complaining – these are just a few sure bets for fall in New England. Another thing you can put your money on is pumpkin. Pumpkin has seeped into almost every aspect of life, from stoops to lattes. I even saw a pumpkin coffee drink on a menu in London last weekend (just when I thought I’d escaped!). So, like my cries of woe, the pumpkin must be embraced ’cause it’s here to stay.

In that strain, I present you a pumpkin recipe so good you may forgive autumn and give in (but never, ever to the latte). This recipe is just a variation on the Actually Squash Cake I used to make on the regular when I lived in Sydney, where fresh pumpkin is a mainstay of the local diet. To be honest, it wasn’t the season so much as pure supply that inspired these muffins. The whole wheat flour (so rarely seen on The Shortlists) came about because we’re staying at my parents’ house where the flour supply is unreliable; the canned pumpkin because their pantry is a five-cans-deep nuclear winter storeroom.

Before I start going on about how cold I was last night, let me cut to the chase and give you the recipe – arguably the only pumpkin muffin/bread/loaf/cake recipe you’ll ever need. Moist, light, flavorful, festive and at least nominally healthy. Everyone who tries them loves them. Meaning fall just got a little more bearable. If only because my mouth is too full to complain.

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You can use white instead of whole wheat flour but I think the whole wheat really makes a difference. Feel free to mess around with additions like spices, dried or fresh cranberries, pecans, raisins, etc. This recipe makes enough for 12+ muffins, two layers of a cake or two loaves. I doubled it and made 12 muffins, a loaf and one 9″ cake, which I’m planning to frost with cream cheese frosting but it would be great with chocolate frosting, too. 

2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

spices optional (but recommended!): 1 teaspoon cinnamon, some nutmeg, some cardamom

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 cup oil (canola, sunflower, etc)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 can (15 oz. or 2 cups) pumpkin

optional: chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease a muffin tin, two cake pans or two loaf tins or a combination.

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients: the whole wheat flour, the sugar, the baking soda and powder, the spices and the salt.

In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients: the eggs, oil and vanilla.

Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just barely combined. Then gently fold in the pumpkin puree and anything else (chocolate chips, etc.) until uniform.

Scoop the dough into prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (I just eyeballed it; but for the muffins I’d guesstimate around 12 minutes; loaves around 30 and cake around 40. Just check as you go!). When the cakes are done, carefully remove the cakes/muffins/loaves from their pans and cool on a wire rack. Devour or freeze once cool.

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