Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins

Since the kids are all about pumpkins right now ("How many more days til Halloween? How many more days til Halloween? How many more days til Halloween?"), it’s a great time to make pumpkin muffins. These cakey little treats are tender and moist with bold pumpkin flavor, sweet-smelling autumn spices and a crunchy nut topping.

The recipe calls for demerara sugar, which is raw cane sugar. Some regular supermarkets carry it but you can always find it at Whole Foods. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pecan Crunch Muffins
makes about 18 standard muffins

for 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 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
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 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 15-ounce can 100% pure pumpkin (I use Libby’s)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two standard muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.

For  the topping: Combine flour, butter, demerara sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

For the muffins: Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and mix well (I like to use a whisk). Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar at low speed until just blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; continue beating at medium speed until very light and fluffy, a few minutes. Add pumpkin and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Turn speed down to low and mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Use an ice cream scoop to transfer batter to muffin pans, filling each muffin tin about 3/4 full. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let 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).


* When making muffins, always fill any empty muffin tins halfway with water. This ensures that your muffins will bake evenly.

* You can make these muffins without the crunchy topping, just be sure to increase the sugar in the muffins to 1 3/4 cup.

* You can reheat these muffins by giving them a quick blast in the microwave.

Jennifer Segal is the founder and publisher of Once Upon a Chef, a cooking blog featuring easy and elegant recipes. Before launching her blog, Jennifer e arned her culinary stripes working front and back of the house at some of DC's top fine dining restaurants, including L'Auberge Chez Francois, Sam & Harry's and The Caucus Room.

She has also done private catering and restaurant public relations. Jennifer is a graduate of the professional Culinary Arts Program at L'Academie de Cuisine.