Pork and Pickles

These are a few of my favorite things


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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Who doesn’t love pumpkin chocolate chip muffins? Nobody in my family, that’s for sure. And for a family where only half the members like winter squash, this is impressive. I’ve been using this recipe from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking for a few years now and it’s always given me good results, unlike some of the other recipes in that book. I prefer to eat baked goods that are made with whole grains, but some things really are better with white flour (birthday cake, I’m looking at YOU).

But pumpkin and whole wheat? Match made in heaven. Add chocolate chips and well, how can it be anything but amazing? Don’t answer that. I know how.

The cast of characters

The cast of characters: whole wheat flour, leaveners, spices, salt, sugars, butter, eggs, vanilla, pureed winter squash (probably butternut, but who knows)

These muffins come together in just a few minutes, provided your butter is at room temperature. I’ve never made them with melted butter or another liquid fat, but I have substituted coconut oil (solid at room temperature) for the butter a few times. It adds a lovely coconut fragrance to the finished product, but right now the coconut oil’s just too much of a pain to dig out of the jar. And besides, I had butter out. This recipe uses a typical muffin mixing method – cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated before adding the next, add pumpkin, add dry ingredients, add chocolate chips. Portion, bake, eat.

All portioned out and ready to bake!

All portioned out and ready to bake!

An important technique note with any muffin, cake, or quick bread is to avoid overmixing. However, it’s not a big risk with whole wheat flour, since the bran and germ fragments tend to slice through the gluten strands and therefore you don’t get a whole lot of gluten development. Or at least that’s how I remember it working – it’s been a while since I read about that.

A word about portioning the batter: I like to use portion scoops for this job. Mostly because it’s easy and keeps my hands clean, but also because it helps me make sure that the muffins are all about the same size and therefore bake at the same rate. You can purchase portion scoops online or from your local restaurant supply store. You can get them in cookware shops too, but they’re generally going to be much more expensive there. Each one will have a number stamped on the sweep or handle, which tells you how many scoops of that size it’ll take to reach a quart (32 fluid ounces). I use a #40 for muffins (two scoops per muffin), a #60 or #70 for cookies, and a #90 for… well, I forget why I have that one. It was something interesting, I’m sure.

Done!

Ready to eat!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

Makes 16-18 muffins

  • 2 cups (8oz) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (7.5 oz) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 oz) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (9.5 oz) pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
  • 3/4 cup (4.5 oz) chocolate chips (or dried fruit if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz) chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375° and grease muffin tins or line with muffin papers

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In mixer bowl, cream butter with both brown and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating one before adding the next. Scrape down bowl and beater between egg additions. Add pumpkin and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and stir until mostly incorporated, then stir in chocolate chips.

Portion into muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. A #40 portion scoop works well for this – two scoops fill the muffin cup to the right level. Bake 22-24 minutes and let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan. Store covered at room temperature.