pumpkin chocolate chip muffins with crystallized ginger topping

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins – with crystallized ginger topping (optional)

Woo hoo, it’s finally fall! The best time of year for those of us who love Halloween and all things pumpkin!

In celebration of this wonderful time I thought I’d share my recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Of course before posting it online I figured I should probably work out a more specific set of quantities than ‘pinch of this’ and ‘bit of that’, which is normally how I make these muffins. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Use a spoon to measure instead of the palm of my hand and just write everything down, right? Wrong.

Oh my. After this past week I have a new-found respect for test kitchens and for anyone, anywhere who writes recipes. I was shocked by how many batches of ‘trial’ muffins I had to make in order to get the recipe to a state for publication. Shocked. Why did it take so many batches? Well, partly because I started by using my homemade applesauce, which I always spice to taste a bit like apple pie, before realizing that it would affect the flavor of the muffins for anyone using plain applesauce. Ok, no worries, just stick those in the freezer and start another batch with extra spices to account for the applesauce.

I clearly WAY overdid the spices, though, because that batch just tasted weird. It might have been the cloves. Anyway, on to batch number three. This was the batch where I replaced 100% of the oil with applesauce in an attempt to make these a bit healthier and, I confess, I was playing around with the amount of sugar, as well…

Tip: Remember back in Chemistry class (or really every science class) when we learned about ‘controls’ in experiments? Oh yeah, that. The little bit of wisdom that says you only change one thing at a time so that you can see the effect of that one thing? Yup, remembering that got me back on track, but necessitated several more batches of muffins as I adjusted everything incrementally.

pumpkin, chocolate chips, spices, and equipment for muffins

Of course all of these batches resulted in lots of notes, some on post-it notes and some in the margins, so that at one point I actually got mixed up looking back and forth between them and forgot to add the baking soda! At least these muffins tasted good, despite not having risen, but I should have taken the time to re-write the recipe after each batch instead of drawing lots of circles and arrows and additional notes like I did instead. Lesson learned.

So finally, at long last (and amazingly I still love these muffins), I give you:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (w/optional crystallized ginger topping): 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

For topping (optional):

finely chop 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, set aside

Sift together then stir with a whisk:

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (rounded)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (rounded)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Mix together in a separate bowl:

1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup plain applesauce (no sugar or spices added)

Combine the wet and dry ingredients just enough to dampen, but do not mix too much. A few lumps are ok and over-mixing causes large air bubbles or flutes in the muffins (the taste will still be fine, though, so don’t let this cause you stress).

Stir in:

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pour into greased or paper-lined muffin tins (makes 12 large or 15 regular muffins).


sprinkle crystallized ginger onto top of some or all of the muffins.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

muffin batter in muffin tins, some with ginger topping, some plain

To make your own pumpkin puree:

  • peel and seed a pumpkin
  • cut into cubes (about 1-1 1/2″)
  • roast in a 325 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes (until very tender but not caramelized/browned)
  • puree in a blender, ricer, or food mill
  • measure and freeze unused portions

A Few Tips And Tricks:

  • The crystallized ginger topping is delicious if you’re a ginger fan, but it becomes the dominate flavor resulting in more of a Spiced Ginger Muffin with tiny hints of pumpkin. Of course sometimes this is perfect.
  • For a delicious snack or side dish, try roasting a sugar pumpkin (cut into cubes as above) with a little oil at a higher temperature (375-400 degrees). It will caramelize and be absolutely delicious. Flip the cubes every 10-15 minutes to keep them from burning.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and have fun making your own kitchen creations.

Have any questions or comments?