Revisiting a great pumpkin muffin

I have prided myself on trying new recipes in this blog space. It’s as if it’s a better gamble or a more promising adventure if I have not made something before. We always have our eyes on the new, unnamed, undiscovered proposition.

Sometimes, though, with recipes, you shouldn’t turn your back on an old favorite.

This month — which was filled with dates where the temperature scorched above 80 degrees — I truly longed to bake. Not out of obligation, but true desire. And that desire was even more ignited when a work colleague shared some fabulous iced pumpkin bars, moist and delicious and full of fall flavors.

It got me thinking back to a particular pumpkin muffin recipe I made over and over each fall beginning many years ago, from a tiny little book, aptly named “Perfectly Simple Muffins” by Steven Stellingwerf (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1992).

These muffins were perfect, plump and moist with lots of canned pumpkin and cinnamon, cloves, ginger and a good dose of vanilla. I had made the recipe (which makes a TON of muffins) in all sizes, from mini muffins to jumbo versions. I had taken them to work to share to rave reviews.

As I pondered making them, I decided to take one new turn with them and add a sweet topping. Not frosting (too much sugary sweet did not seem to fit), but with a cinnamon-y, walnut-laced streusel, made with butter, oats and brown sugar.

For the muffins, the wet ingredients, which include four eggs, lots of oil and lots of canned pumpkin, are first blended. This mix also includes the salt, cinnamon and vanilla.

Dry ingredients, including baking soda, cloves, ginger and flour are then blended into the wet. Be sure and use a giant bowl!

These muffins work well with muffin pans sprayed with cooking spray, but since I had some festive fall liners, I used the paper cups to fill with batter. I filled 24 standard muffin cups really amply. , The recipe says it makes 30, which you could do if you did not fill them as full.

I sprinkled some of the crumbly streusel over each muffin.

Here was one of the first real treats of making these muffins…the smell. It was a rainy afternoon, and as they baked, it wasn’t long before all the downstairs was full of that fall sweetness and spice. They plumped up beautifully with perfect round tops.

And they were as good as I remembered…not overly sweet, but so moist and tender and full of that pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavor, extra enhanced by a crunch of cinnamon, sugar and walnuts on top.

My long overdue fall baking season was launched, at last, with a return to an old favorite. Sometimes, it is the tried and true that outshines the new.

Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from “Perfectly Simple Muffins” by Steven Stellingwerf (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 1992)

Makes 30 muffins (see note)

Preheat oven to 350°. In large mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, eggs, salt, cinnamon, water and pumpkin until well blended. Add remaining ingredients and blend well so that the batter is mixed thoroughly. Divide batter in greased or lined muffin tins. Sprinkle with streusel topping (below), if desired. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 4 eggs 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups pumpkin, cooked (or canned)
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts

Cinnamon-Walnut Streusel

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons chopped walnuts

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir with a fork until blended and crumbly.

Blogger’s Note: If you don’t want a high number of muffins, this recipe can easily be cut in half to make about a dozen. You can also make the full recipe and freeze some for later. 

Comments are closed.