Pumpkin muffins for president!
Go ahead. Call me basic all you want. Look, as soon as the temperatures begin to dip, you know you’re just as excited as me to break out your fluffy boots, oversized hoodies, and pumpkin-spiced-everythings.
And even if you’re not thrilled at the prospect, one mouthful of these baked goodies and you’ll be like: You know what, Fanny? I didn’t know the muffin man, but I’m glad you introduced me.
If you talk to me three months from now, I may have over-cinnamoned most of my meals and beverages and will likely need a break. But for now, I’m hopping on board with all the flavors of the fall season and I’m not even a little bit sorry.
And holy mother of moist, are these muffins fluffy.
(The above sentence doesn’t need a question mark at the end. It’s a fact.)
I prefer to steer clear of sweet baked goods for the most part, but these are definitely one of my very favorite exceptions.
Once you’ve got the technique down (mix the dry, mix the wet, and combine the two), the recipe possibilities are endless. I feel the same way about pancakes, which obviously aren’t baked, but follow the same delicious guidelines.
Other than those intensely aromatic ground spices like nutmeg and cloves, these airy mouthfuls are enhanced with the crunch of pecans. And since we’ve simply titled these “pumpkin nut muffins,” don’t let that stop you from reaching for walnuts or Brazil nuts, or even macadamias if the mood strikes.
I’m certain they eat these kind of muffins in Hawaii. My sister has lived on Oahu for fifteen years, and I know she still gets her fall fix even when it’s a balmy 75°F outside.
But anyway, back to nuts.
Thanks to their high oil content, pecans are known for having an especially buttery flavor. Pair that with a delicately crisp texture, and you’ve got a wonderful partner to any muffin.
If you’ve played with pumpkin in the kitchen before (and I don’t mean feeding it to your pup who has a bellyache), you’re well aware that Starbucks isn’t dumping it into coffee straight out of the can. The pureed fruit provides a distinctive orange color, but it needs some sugar and spice to give it everything nice.
That was a cheesy rhyme, but I think it worked.
Caramel-scented dark brown sugar gives the batter a bold kick of sweetness, and spicy cinnamon, nutmeg, and woody vanilla carry those fall flavors home. A good amount of butter and two large eggs add richness and moisture, making each bite literally melt in your mouth.
If those last few sentences don’t depict “everything nice” for you, I don’t know what does. Happy fall, y’all.Print
Spice up your life with these pecan-studded pumpkin muffins. They’re moist, fluffy, and packed with fall flavors like nutmeg and clove.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 15-ounce can 100% pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray (or line with paper liners).
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using an electric hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and the pumpkin and continue beating until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture a little at a time until it’s incorporated into the batter. Fold in the pecans. Evenly divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature for up to 4 days, or individually wrap in aluminum foil, place in a zip-top bag or airtight container, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Category: Muffins
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: pumpkin, pecan, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Mix the Dry Ingredients
Soften the butter by leaving it at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a standard muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. You could also use paper liners, if you prefer that option.
Grate the nutmeg, if you have the whole spice on hand. This provides the best flavor.
Sift the baking soda and baking powder. Baking powder in particular can clump up and the lumps won’t break down in the batter, so sifting guarantees that it incorporates evenly and you don’t get any large particles in your finished baked goods.
You can also sift the flour and spices if you like, which also helps to promote consistency in the batter.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Step 2 – Mix the Wet Ingredients
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using an electric hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy.
One at a time, add the eggs and beat until combined. Crack the eggs into ramekins or small bowls first, so you don’t accidentally get any shells in the batter.
The mixing process can also be done by hand if you don’t have a stand or hand mixer.
Add the vanilla and the pumpkin. Continue beating until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as necessary.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture a little at a time until it’s incorporated into the batter.
Step 3 – Add Nuts, Fill the Muffin Cups, and Bake
Gently fold the pecans into the batter.
Evenly divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes.
Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
You can store these muffins at room temperature for up to 4 days, or individually wrap them and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Playing with Pumpkin
If anyone tries to tell you that these light, dreamy morsels are just one more muffin to throw into the pumpkin spice recipe box, they clearly don’t know the muffin man.
A melty smear of salted butter (preferably whisked with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup) takes these treats to the next level, but even sans condiments and warm out of the oven, they’re as comforting as a pair of fuzzy socks on a cool, crisp day.
I find that the pecans folded into the batter provide all the texture I need, but any kind of streusel topping (like the one on this gingery coffee cake) would be a game-changer for those who swoon over especially crunchy things.
Pass the pumpkin, please! If you’re craving even more of this gorgeous gourd, these other seasonal recipes are sure to satisfy:
Slathered in homemade jam, or bathed in whipped butter? How will you boost each bite of these nutty muffins?
Share your sweet suggestions in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Jennifer Swartvagher on August 8, 2015. Last updated on September 20, 2021.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”