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Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds

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.

If you want to use something else, try other chocolate-covered candies, (mini) chocolate chips or, like Peabody did a few weeks back, chocolate-covered raisins.

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
1 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.

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  • Dee
    October 3, 2007

    Carrots and apples?

  • meeso
    October 3, 2007

    Never seen chocolate covered sunflower seeds but sounds good! I love this season for all the pumpkin flavored treats!!!

  • steamy kitchen
    October 4, 2007

    Living in FL, where it is still 95F outside, it is easy to forget that its fall! Love the pumpkin with choc covered seeds combo…i know my kids will like it!

  • peabody
    October 7, 2007

    Oh I love this idea. I will have to go to Trader Joes and get some of those.

  • Laurel
    October 15, 2007

    First…I love your blog and visit it daily. Thanks for all of your hard work.

    Second, I made these muffins yesterday and they received a hearty thumbs up at work today. I did have one problem though. The candy coating melted on the sunnies and looked pretty unappetizing, especially if they were close to the top of the muffin. Did that happen for you? I couldn’t tell from the picture.

    Thanks again.

  • Jennywenny
    October 20, 2007

    Thanks for the recipe, I tried these with choc chips and walnuts. I found them to be ok to begin with, but much better a week later from the freezer.

  • M.E
    October 29, 2007

    hi there,
    i’ve wondering for a long time about the muffin that i like so much by this one deli that have a thick crispy top. do u know why some muffins have that, while others have moist (non-crispy) top?! mine always turn out moist. could that be from the type of butter/sugar?

    thanks lots!
    love ur blog =)

  • Vanessa
    December 4, 2007

    Hi. I didn’t make this recipe, but I did make a pumpkin bread and put salted roasted sunflower seeds in it. It tasted great, but on the second day, bread surrounding the sunflower seeds had an odd dark green color. It looked very unappetizing, although they still tasted great. So Laurel, I don’t know if that is what happened to yours too, but I’d be interested to know. I’d also be interested to know if anyone knows why this happens and how to prevent it and if it is unhealthy.


  • liebe
    March 1, 2009

    Sie haben eine schöne Seite!

  • hostel berlin
    March 2, 2009


  • Lisa
    March 2, 2009

    I know this is long after the original post, but I tried this recipe today. Just wanted to mention that when to add the pumpkin puree was left out. I added it in at the end, just before the sunflower seeds, but perhaps it should be added into the recipe. The muffins were good, by the way.

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