Wowza! I never use that word but it’s what blurted out after the first bite of these moist, spicy and healthy pumpkin muffins, a recipe from a reader. The recipe starts with 100% whole wheat flour and uses just 1/4 cup of oil – that's half the usual oil or butter for a dozen muffins. Plus the recipe somehow begs for adaptation: I made three variations – all easy, all with pantry ingredients, even one that’s a healthy makeover of the Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffin (pictured below).
And then I asked Kitchen Parade readers to try the muffins and play with their own variations. Just look at all the rave reviews!
"The liqueur-soaked currants made them sublime! " ~Rami
"... the Starbucks version of the muffins ... are delicious!" ~Judy
"This is a fantastic healthy muffin recipe!" ~Lindsay
"The recipe is already filed in our 'keepers' box and I've passed it on to friends." ~TBergen
"... they were delicious." ~Diane
"I agree, they are PERFECT! Is it the rest time? ... Even my husband, who is "iffy" at best about pumpkin, snarfed these down!" ~DLA
"... the pumpkin muffins are the BEST !!!!!!! I've ever made." ~Gloria BF
"... these were great! Some of the best I've come across." ~Anonymous
“Your Dorie Greenspan pumpkin muffin recipe looks pretty good, but I can do better.”
Them’s fightin’ words! I thought, when an e-mail arrived from Beth in San Francisco.
But I appreciated her confidence! No prevarication, no namby-pamby maybe-give-this- recipe-a-try-if-you-like introduction from her, thank you very much. The bold endorsement grabbed me as much as the ingredient list. Just a quarter cup of fat? One hundred percent whole wheat flour? All those fall spices, my favorites?
So Beth sold me, would she have sold you, too? Here’s what she wrote:
“I usually scoff at recipes calling for oil and water instead of buttermilk and, well, butter. But I do not scoff at recipes with stone-ground whole wheat flour that still turn out to be perfectly – and I mean perfectly – moist and utterly, utterly creamy and amazing in your mouth. They are easy but they always turn out. You can make them any size you like, they can be turned into cupcakes by adding cream cheese frosting. Take them to an event and everybody begs for the recipe.
“Give them a shot; they are one of the best recipes I have ever laid my hands on.” And so I did.
The first batch, by accident I used pumpkin pie filling instead of 100% pumpkin purée. Wowza. You know how recipes, including mine, always say, “Buy the pure pumpkin purée, not the pumpkin pie filling.”? Well, I’m here to tell you, pumpkin pie filling works just fine in this recipe, in fact, I might recommend the spice-forward and chewy-crusted muffins if you’re headed in the cream-cheese frosting cupcake direction.
I should have known. After all, didn’t Beth promise? “These muffins always work out.”
The second batch, I did a healthy makeover of the Starbucks Cream Cheese Pumpkin muffins that are oh-so-tempting looking but yikes, add up to 470 calories and get this! A total of 11 Weight Watchers points!
The third batch, I kept simple, topping only with a few pumpkin seeds. The fourth batch, I did four muffins of each variation! The fifth and sixth batches, I just enjoyed each and every muffin, straight out of the oven and even, get this, up to four and five days later, they’re still fresh!
So yes, I have a brand-new pumpkin muffin recipe – I've made pumpkin muffins four times in four weeks with the new recipe, versus one in four years with the old recipe, if that tells you anything. The new recipe has just half the calories, half the Weight Watchers points.
You heard it here, first: Wowza!!
PERFECT WHOLE WHEAT PUMPKIN MUFFINS
Resting time (see TIPS): 1 hour
Time to table: 2 hours
Makes 12 standard-size muffins
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour (see TIPS), fluffed to aerate before measuring or 250 grams
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 or 1-1/2 large eggs, see TIPS (if doubling the recipe, use 3 eggs)
- 1/4 cup (55g) vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup (60g) water
- 3/4 cup (185g, about half a 15-ounce can) canned 100% pumpkin puree (see TIPS)
- 1/2 cup (60g) dried cranberries or currants, optional but recommended
- Orange liqueur to cover, optional
FLOUR MIXTURE In a large bowl, stir together the flour mixture.
PUMPKIN MIXTURE In a second bowl, whisk the egg until well combined, add the remaining ingredients and whisk until just combined.
COMBINE & REST With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Let the batter rest at room temperature for an hour. (Now’s a good time to set a timer for 45 minutes to remind yourself to heat the oven.)
DRIED FRUIT If the fruit is dry, soak in liqueur to plump up while the muffin batter rests. Just before baking, drain off the liqueur and gently stir into the batter.
BAKE Heat the oven to 400F/200C. Lightly spray a muffin tin or line muffins tins with (my favorite) silicone cupcake liners. With two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape, fill the muffin tins, then gently smooth the tops. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes before gently removing from the muffin tin and serving.
CREAM CHEESE PUMPKIN MUFFINS
CREAM CHEESE MIXTURE
- 4 ounces (115) low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), room temperature
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 12 toasted pecan halves
Mix the muffins (recipe above) and let rest for an hour. Skip the dried fruit.
While the muffin batter rests, stir together the cream cheese, brown sugar and vanilla. Spread the mixture onto a piece of waxed paper, it should be about a half-inch thick (see photo below to see how). Wrap the waxed paper around the mixture and freeze.
Just before baking, fill the muffin tins with the muffin batter. Cut off a small piece of cream cheese and barely push into the center of each muffin, leaving the top exposed. Top cross-wise with a pecan half.
Bake same as above.
My Recipe, Per Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffin (like Starbucks), see my recipe above: 173 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 24mg Cholesterol; 356mg Sodium; 24g Carb; 1g Fiber; 18g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 5
Starbucks Recipe, Per Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffin (from Starbucks): 470 Calories; 24g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 85mg Cholesterol; 420 Sodium; 60g Carb; 1g Fiber; 28g Sugar; 6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 11 & Points Plus 13 (Data Source NutritionData)
The cream cheese mixture needs to be frozen before getting slipped into the muffin batter. Just spread the mixture on a piece of waxed paper, wrap and then freeze while the muffin batter rests. Then cut it into twelve pieces. The cream cheese mixture will keep in the freezer for a few weeks if you want to make a mixed batch, some with cream cheese, some without.
Easy Measuring by Weight, Not Volume
Careful readers perhaps have noticed that for awhile now, I include metric measurements for some ingredients, especially for baking. I've especially learned to appreciate recipes where no measuring cups are needed, when the ingredients can be added one at a time using a kitchen scale. That's why, for example, in this recipe, I show the weight of the water and the oil in addition to the volume. It makes mixing these easy muffins such a snap!
More Muffin Recipes
More Favorite Pumpkin Recipes – Savory
More Favorite Pumpkin Recipes – Sweet!
"My idea for modifying the Perfect Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins is ... ".
Leave your e-mail address too, feel free to code it so that the spambots won't find it, something like
so-n-so AT hello HYPHEN kitchen DOTDOT com.
For TEN entries, make the muffins, either as written or your own variation. Then leave a comment telling everyone how you liked them, how you adapted the recipe. Again, please leave your e-mail address.
Just to be nice, maybe you'd share the news about this giveaway with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter? I'd appreciate it much!
The contest will close Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at end of day CST. This is plenty of time to make the muffins over Thanksgiving, yes? I'll select and notify a random winner on December 1. If that's you, and I can't reach you or don't hear back from you in 24 hours, then I'll select another.
Your choice of cookbooks! My fellow food bloggers are raving about two new cookbooks, I own one (can you guess which one?) and have the second on my wish list. So, your choice, either:
Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers by Pam Anderson who cooks with her daughters at the food blog Three Many Cooks.
Legalese This give-away is funded by me-myself-and-nobody-else. Winners must have mailing addresses in either the U.S. or Canada.
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