Project Muffin: Chocolatey Pumpkin Muffins

Dear Caitlin,

These are the chocolatey muffins that I am totally devouring in obscene quantities on December 9.  I’m racing a half-marathon December 8, so they’re on the no-go list until then.  That’s why we make muffins in two kinds, my friend.  For the running.

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These muffins are crazy delicious.  They start with almonds toasted in butter and brown sugar – and, impossibly, they get better from there.

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Instead of hearty, whole wheat flour, we use delicate white flour in these.

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But it’s the same delicious spices, and the same delicious pumpkin.

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These are definitely treat muffins.  The kind of thing that keeps you going around Mile 11.  December 9 can’t come quickly enough.

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Recipe
Adapted, once again, from Joy the Baker‘s Pumpkin, Millet, and Chocolate Muffins.

Toasted Almond Ingredients
1 Cup Raw Almonds, Toasted
1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter (1/2 Stick)
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Muffin Ingredients
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar (don’t reduce this time – it’s not a virtuous kind of recipe)
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup Canned Pumpkin Puree
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips

(1) Start by preparing your almonds.  I do this the night before.  Melt butter over low heat in a saucepan on the stove.  While that’s melting, chop up the almonds roughly.  Add brown sugar, vanilla, salt and almonds to the pan once the butter is melted, but before it starts to brown.  Toss periodically until almonds are crunchy (about 5-7 minutes).  Set aside, spread apart, on parchment paper.  If you do not spread the almonds, you will end up with almond brittle.  Not that that’s a problem.  Just… know that’s what’s going to happen.

(2) When you’re ready to muffin bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with muffin liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

(3) Combine all dry ingredients except chocolate chips and toasted almonds.

(4) Combine all wet ingredients except buttermilk.

(5) Combined dry ingredients with wet until just mixed.

(6) Fold in buttermilk, chocolate chips, and toasted almonds.

(7) Bake 15-17 minutes, or, until a toothpick/fork comes out clean.

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