Pumpkin may be an ingredient associated with fall but I love it too much not to use it other times of the year. I found this recipe for pumpkin pie muffins in Ellie Krieger’s most recent book, The Food You Crave, which I picked up from my library today. The James Beard Foundation recently nominated this cookbook for an award in its “Healthy Focus” category so I was really excited to flip through. I discovered there are a ton of recipes I want to try so I’ll probably be blogging about this book several more times before it’s due back to the library.

These muffins are so simple to make. I threw them together in just a few minutes tonight while I was making dinner. They baked up with the cutest domed tops! I don’t think I’ve ever made muffins that baked in quite this shape so I was excited :) Of course, I still needed to taste them because when I make anything with a “healthy” label I’m a bit skeptical. Fortunately, they were really good! They’re tender and moist and though they definitely aren’t as light as muffins made only with all-purpose flour, they aren’t heavy and dense like some muffins made with whole-wheat flour can be. I’m sending these to work with Shane tomorrow but I suspect I’ll be using the leftover pumpkin to make another half-batch to keep in my freezer!

Pumpkin Pie Muffins
from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life, by Ellie Krieger

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-grain pastry flour or whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup unsalted raw pumpkin seeds (I omitted)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray (or use paper liners).

In a medium bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, pastry flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a large bowl, whisk brown sugar, molasses, oil and one of the eggs until combined. Add the other egg and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk, until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full, and sprinkle the tops with the pumpkin seeds if you are using them. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Let cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes then run a knife around the muffins to loosen and unmold them. After cooling completely, the muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Makes 12 muffins.