The Good Kind of Muffin Top

All day at work I contemplated driving the whole mile to Dunkin’ Donuts and getting a pumpkin donut. All day at work I resisted this urge. It’s not that I don’t love a treat every now and then (or every day) but I know there are better options out there that won’t send me into sugar coma.

Needless to say, I went home on a mission to bake something pumpkin. My usual go-to recipe are these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I put my own little twist on them. I also think I took them out of the running of being called a cookie. They end up being extremely moist and light and full of pumpkin flavor. I’m not sure where you are from, but here in New Hampshire, we are all about the fall season and pumpkin spice and everything nice.

So first I gathered up my ingredients:

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The good news is that you probably have all of these ingredients at home. If not, there are plenty of substitutions that can be made. Except for pumpkin… which is why it’s always very important to have a stash for when you are feeling festive.

I start out by putting the margarine, apple sauce, and brown sugar in my Kitchen Aid and letter her go. This won’t get too fluffy so it’s important to just let everything marry together. I then add the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla extract and blend until smooth again.

Here’s the part where things get crazy: I don’t separate the dry ingredients and mix separately. I just start adding away. First I go with the baking powder, soda, and salt and I just let them blend in for a minute or two until I’m sure you aren’t going to get a baking soda surprise clump. In then goes the cinnamon and nutmeg. Lastly, add the flour. You should end up with a smooth batter somewhere between the consistency of your “normal” cookie dough and cake batter.

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How did I ever live without a Kitchen Aid? I survived. If you call living with clumpy batter surviving. When I’m done being fascinated by the mixer, I stir in with my own woman power a cup of something delightful. Today I used a cup of mixed white and chocolate chips. Any kind of nut would delicious if you are looking for a more hearty treat. I have also fiddled with the idea of adding things like chia seeds… let your imagination go wild. And then tell me what you used so I can steal your idea 🙂

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I’m not going to sit here and pretend like my kitchen looks like the latest taping on the Food Network. I also like to incorporate a little wine and Apple products into my routine (We have some running in there too… see right of picture). At some point during this process I preheated my oven to 350 degrees. While heating, I found my favorite baking pan that doesn’t burn anything and used a tablespoon measuring device and scooped out the pumpkin goodness.

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Now there’s a lot of things I don’t know in life. One of those is how long I baked these for. I want to say it was around 30 minutes. I also may or may not have waited until the oven was completely heated (living on the edge… I know). What you want is the bottom to be a light brown and the top of the muffin/cookie/cake object to start to look a little crispy around the chocolate chips and little whisps of dough sticking up. The thing to watch is the bottom. I’m pretty convinced you cannot overcook them because of the light airy inside, but you still can burn the bottom. And that is no way to make friends.

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See what I mean about the crispy whisps? I let them sit on the baking sheet a few minutes to ensure the inside has set. If you’re inpatient you can eat one without waiting and burn your tongue like I did. What you end up with is a pumpkin-full-flavored-better-for-you-than-a-pumpkin-donut-from-dunkin’s-baked-good. I’m not kidding when I say this is a healthier alternative to many sweets. The applesauce not only cuts out fat from using all butter or shortening, but adds sweetness allowing you to cut back on the sugar. This should probably be the part where I tell you useful things like amounts, etc.

Pumpkin Tops

Originally from Three Wooden Spoons

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (original recipe replaces first two ingredients with 1 cup shortening)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (original recipe has 1 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • `1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (I adjust all seasonings, including pumpkin, according to taste and consistancy)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of something fun

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Beat together margarine and apple sauce. Add egg, pumpkin, and vanilla extract. If you insist on mixing dry ingredients together separately, do so now and gradually incorporate. If you are me, add ingredients above in the order listed making sure each is incorporated. Stir in a cup of fun.

Drop by tablespoon onto an non-greased non-stick cookie sheet. Bake for approx. (and I mean approx.) 30 minutes or until bottoms and edges have browned.

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Enjoy!

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