The approach of Halloween is the perfect excuse to indulge my love of pumpkin baked goods with some seasonally appropriate treats. These pumpkin muffins aren’t nearly decadent enough to satisfy any costumed kids looking for a treat (since they probably have candy in mind), but they do make a nice addition to breakfast on a cool fall morning.
The muffins start with a simple pumpkin base, to which I added a little bit of wheat bran for texture and some chocolate covered sunflower seeds for fun. They were moist and hearty, but not too heavy. The seeds were from Trader Joe’s and come in lovely fall colors (a mix of orange, green, brown and yellow) that made it seem as if they were just begging to be worked into a fall recipe. They made a good addition in this case because they weren’t overwhelming; the seeds were small and the amounts of chocolate and candy coating were, as well, so their flavor didn’t come close to competing with the lovely pumpkin flavor of the muffin overall.
I did run into one problem with these muffins, which was that there were a couple of sunflower seeds that seemed quite bitter when I bit into them. I don’t blame the muffins for that as it was clearly a fault of the package of chocolate covered sunflower seeds (there were only a couple of off ones in the box) , but I suspect that it might be a hazard when dealing with large quantities of sunflower seeds.
Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Covered Sunflower seeds
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1Â tsp ground cinnamon*
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tps ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chocolate covered sunflower seeds
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat bran, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour buttermilk mixture into the well. Stir until just combined, then add in the chocolate covered sunflower seeds (or your chocolatey add-in of choice).
Divide evenly into muffin tins and bake for 16-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top of the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool muffins on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 12 muffins.
* You can also substitute 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice for all the spices in this recipe.