Lately, my breakfasts have consisted of spiced pumpkin muffins, which are perfect this time of year. My healthy pumpkin muffins are made with fiber-rich whole grains, sweetened with real maple syrup and include some coconut oil for hold-over power.
The muffins are remarkably light and fluffy—believe me, these muffins have the magical power to convert whole-grain, naturally-sweetened skeptics into raving fans. (If you love them, don’t miss the blueberry muffins in my cookbook.)
Here’s how my mornings usually go. At 7:30 am, Cookie says it’s time to get up. She starts nosing under my arm to try to herd me out of bed. Sometimes she weasels her way under my neck and plants herself between me and the pillow, so I have no choice but to get up and feed her. Somehow, I don’t mind. That adorable mutt of mine has a finely-tuned internal alarm clock for meal time and walk time.
Once she manages to shove me out of bed, I grab my phone from the nightstand and pad into the kitchen with Cookie close on my heels. I scoop food into her bowl and she eagerly scarfs it down in one noisy, impressive inhale.
Then, I open the cupboard and pull out a mug for my daily cup of coffee. I like my coffee extra strong, black and freshly brewed. I feel super spoiled every morning when I make my coffee out of filtered water and quality beans.
Once my coffee set-up is complete, I start rummaging around for some basic breakfast supplies. I usually go for one of the following: defrosted homemade muffins or waffles with nut butter, toast with mashed avocado or peanut butter and honey, or granola and yogurt.
I wish I could say that I ate breakfast at the dining table like a civilized adult, but I actually eat breakfast sitting cross-legged on the couch. Cookie usually snuggles up under the throw blanket with me. I sip my coffee, look out the window and blink a lot as my morning fog lifts.
Eventually, I pick up my phone to check my website traffic and email, always pausing to read The Skimm, my favorite source of news. From there, I usually reach for my laptop and get to work on a post or a project. Cookie always reminds me to take her outside, too. Perhaps the best thing about having a backyard is that I can go outside and stretch in peace.
The coffee has a more interesting background. I didn’t have to travel far to buy it (just three miles to Target), but this Direct Trade variety came from Latin America, where it was sourced directly from individual farmers who are paid a premium for premium beans.
Direct Trade coffee buyers want to buy the very best coffee beans, so they work closely with ethical farmers to get them. The buyers help the farmers further improve their crops by sharing knowledge about soil science and U.S. coffee consumption. As the farmers produce even better coffee, they earn even more for their coffee. The direct business relationship and transparent pricing model provides stability for farming families, their businesses, and in turn, their communities.
There are quite a few certifications placed on coffee bags these days. Collectively, they’ve made great strides within an industry that has a deplorable history of child labor and poor working conditions. My bottom line? I want great coffee and I don’t want my dollars to support oppressive practices, so I reach for Direct Trade coffee from reputable buyers.
Target partners with Coffee Bean International’s Project Direct to source the Direct Trade coffee on their shelves. If you’d like, you can learn more about Project Direct here.
Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 23 mins
- Total Time: 33 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins
- Category: Baked Good
Easy, one bowl, maple-sweetened, pumpkin muffins made with whole wheat flour, oats, coconut oil and spices! These healthy muffins are as light, fluffy and delicious as their coffee shop counterparts. Recipe yields 12 muffins.
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil*
- ½ cup maple syrup or honey
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- ¼ cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves
- 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
- ⅓ cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease all 12 cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and didn’t require any grease).
- In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs, and beat well. Mix in the pumpkin purée and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.
- Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins**, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
- Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. For these muffins, it’s ok to fill the cups a little higher than you normally would. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats, followed by a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake muffins for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. These muffins are delicate until they cool down (you have been warned!). You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan.
- These muffins will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. They keep well in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months (just defrost individual muffins as needed).
Recipe adapted from my honey-sweetened pumpkin bread.
*Oil options: I love coconut oil here. I used unrefined coconut oil and can hardly taste it in the final product. Olive oil might lend an herbal note to the muffins, if you’re into that (I tested with California Olive Ranch’s “Everyday” variety and couldn’t even taste it). Vegetable oil has a neutral flavor but the average vegetable/canola oil is highly processed, so I recommend using cold-pressed sunflower oil or grapeseed oil if possible.
**Change it up: You could really go crazy with add-ins here. Fold in up to ¾ cup chocolate chips, chopped dried cranberries or crystallized ginger and/or chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts. Liz topped these muffins with my maple glaze from my pumpkin scones recipe, which sounds like delicious.
Serving suggestions: These muffins are great on their own, with a pat of butter, or spread with almond butter. They would also be fantastic with homemade pecan butter or coconut butter.
Make it egg free: Readers report that these muffins turn out well with flax eggs!
Make it vegan: Use maple syrup, flax eggs and non-dairy milk.
Make it dairy free: Simply use your non-dairy milk of choice.
Make it gluten free: Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose blend works well instead of the whole wheat flour.
Make it oat free: Simply omit the oats.
Make it lower in fat: I would argue that this bread contains a healthy amount of fat, but you can replace the oil with applesauce if you’re following a low-fat diet.
Update Nov. 3, 2017: I just changed whole wheat pastry flour to white whole wheat flour, which is easier to find and work with. This recipe originally yielded 10 muffins, which is admittedly kind of silly when it can easily yield a full dozen. So, I’ve adjusted the recipe to yield 12. If you loved it the original way, please carry on as usual.
If you love this recipe: You’ll also love my pumpkin oat pancakes, healthy banana muffins and apple muffins. You can view all of my pumpkin recipes here!
This post is brought to you by Target. I received compensation for my participation. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support C+K!