Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins
Of all the recipes I’ve posted on this site, my mom’s Pumpkin Bread is probably the most popular. So many of you have emailed to tell me you love it, and it even made its way to Germany, where one of my readers (hi, Tamyla!) baked it for her kids’ teachers, who all raved and asked for the recipe. That’s what I love about sharing on this blog: a half-century old clipping from my mother’s recipe box made it all the way across the ocean, and is now being made in kitchens all over the world. How cool is that?
Anyway, since pumpkin bread is also my all-time most requested at home, I thought I’d reinvent the recipe as muffins this year.
Just like the loaves, these muffins are tender and cakey with bold pumpkin flavor. As they bake in the oven, they’ll fill your home with the inviting aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Of course, I couldn’t resist adding a crunchy nut topping. It’s a simple mix of butter, flour, pecans, cinnamon and demerara sugar (which is just raw cane sugar — the stuff in the brown packets at Starbucks). Raw sugar doesn’t dissolve like regular sugar, so the large crystals retain their crunch when baked. I was able to find it at my regular supermarket but if not, you can always get it at Whole Foods or just grab a handful the next time you get coffee :)
Finally, a few tips on making muffins…Use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tins; that way, you’ll get an even amount in each cup. Also, be sure to fill any unfilled muffin cups halfway with water to ensure they bake evenly.
For what it’s worth, my family voted these muffins even better than plain pumpkin bread, and that’s saying a lot.
Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins
For the Topping
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup demerara sugar (raw cane sugar, also called turbinado)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Muffins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 (15-ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin (I use Libby’s)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two standard muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.
- Begin with the topping: Combine the flour, butter, demerara sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Move on to the muffins: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at low speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; continue beating at medium speed until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary. Turn the speed down to low and mix in the flour mixture until just combined.
- Use an ice cream scoop to transfer batter to muffin pans, filling each muffin tin about ¾ full. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let the muffins cool on rack for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely (use a butter knife to lift them out of pan).
- Notes: When making muffins, always fill any empty muffin tins halfway with water; this ensures that your muffins will bake evenly. If you want to make these muffins without the nut topping, increase the sugar in the muffins to 1¾ cup. Reheat muffins by giving them a quick blast in the microwave.