Friday, November 4, 2011 / 28 Comments / ,

Best Ever Quick & Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

    For my daughter's 4th birthday I did a baking project with her preschool class. Since these were 4 year olds I knew it needed to be a simple recipe that could be completed quickly and easily, without the use of my beloved KitchenAid mixer. I love that my daughter's school discourages cupcakes on birthdays in favor of healthier treats. These muffins are much healthier than your average bakery muffin and I don't use any refined sugar. Raw turbinado sugar gives them an even richer flavor and moister texture. 
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) add crunch, fiber, and protein.

Best Ever Pumpkin Muffins 
Makes 12 muffins 
1 1/2 cups White Whole Wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon raw turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put liners in muffin cups.
Whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside. 
Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in any additions, such as cranberries, nuts, or chocolate. 
Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with additional sugar and pepitas. 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.
Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.
adapted from American club, in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet Magazine via Smitten Kitchen

Delicious Variations
Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Muffins (my favorite adaptation!)
Stir in chopped chocolate or chocolate chips at the end (probably about 3/4 cup?)

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Stir in 3/4 cup fresh or dried cranberries at the end (I prefer fresh cranberries because they are so moist and tangy!)

Low-Fat Pumpkin Muffins
Replace oil with 1/3 cup applesauce + 1 Tbs oil

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