CEiMB: Pumpkin Pie Muffins

The final recipe of Pumpkin Week is also the CEiMB recipe of the week. See how much forethought went into this? I actually planned a week’s worth of recipes around a theme, including the CEiMB recipe. Craziness. I am not typically that structured; enjoy it while it lasts. This week’s recipe was chosen by Oddball Oven Mitt, and I think it’s the perfect timing for pumpkin recipes so I was very excited about making these muffins.

Typically when cooking from a recipe, I will make a few minor changes. I might add some different spices or herbs to better meet our preferences or swap out things we dislike, but when baking, I almost never stray from the recipe. I am not much of a baker and feel like I don’t know enough about baking to really experiment with different things. With dinner, I can pretty much predict what my changes or swaps will do to the overall recipe; in baking, I have no clue what using this kind of flour over that kind of flour will do. So when I tell you that I doctored up this recipe a bit, realize that it took a lot of courage!

This is not the first Ellie recipe that has called for whole grain pastry flour, but I have to find any. In fact, I can’t even find pastry flour of any kind, let alone whole grain. Ryan and I always do the grocery shopping together, and as soon as I tell him we’re looking for the ever-elusive pastry flour he says, “That again?” So, this time I decided to use my Google Fu and find something else to use in place of the impossible to find specialty flour. I cannot remember which site I found the information on, to be fair I checked a few sites to make sure they all suggested the same thing, but I found that using 7/8 cup of whole wheat flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch could be substituted for 1 cup of whole grain pastry flour. Now, obviously I don’t know what they would have been like had I been able to find the pastry flour, but I will say that these muffins were quite light and moist, not dense like I think they would have been had I used only the all-purpose flour.

After reading some of the reviews on Food Network’s page, I decided to double the amount of spices. Many people complained that the recipe was a little bland as written, and there were several reviewers who said they doubled the spices and were happy with the results. I think doubling the spices made them too spicy; in the future I will probably do 1 1/2 times the spices. I could tell when I only added the original that it wouldn’t be spicy enough because I couldn’t smell the spices in the batter the way I think you should be able to do. So I think the answer is definitely somewhere between the original amount and twice as much.

My other change was in regards to the oil. I have seen several of the other CEiMBers swap applesauce for oil in a few of our other baking recipes. I’ve always been nervous about doing this simply because I didn’t know how much to use: is it an equal ratio? Should I swap all the oil? Again, I consulted my BFF, Google, and decided to swap half of the oil for applesauce.

Finally, I also made my own buttermilk. Up until this point, I have always bought a jug of buttermilk whenever a recipe has called for it. Inevitably, I have dumped more than half the jug down the drain every single time. We don’t use buttermilk often enough for it to be worthwhile for us to keep it on hand, and I hate feeling wasteful by throwing so much of it out. I had heard you could make buttermilk on your own using regular milk, but it scared me. Well, since I was feeling so courageous, I decided to try making my own buttermilk. I put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (you can also use vinegar) into a 1 cup measuring cup, then added milk to just below the 1 cup line. Let it sit for 5 minutes, and wah la! Homemade buttermilk. Then I just poured out about 1/4 cup to yield the 3/4 cup this recipe called for.

By the time I took these out of the oven, I was nervous. Relatively, I made quite a few changes to the recipe, and I just hoped they didn’t turn out like little hockey pucks or something. Before taking them to our friends and my mom, we decided to sample one. It was delicious! The texture was great; they were very moist. As I already mentioned, I think the spices sort of overwhelmed the other flavors, but I do like pumpkin seasonings so it wasn’t a deal-breaker. I dropped some off with my mom on a Saturday, and by Sunday when I showed up with the pie they were gone. So, I would say they were a hit!

Pumpkin Pie Muffins
Cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
7/8 cup whole-grain flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsulphered molasses
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil and 1 egg until combined. Add the other egg and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Cool completely on the rack.

Source: Ellie Krieger’s “The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life”, p. 21


October 29, 2009. recipes.


  1. peggy replied:

    We really loved these! Glad they were a hit for you as well. Pumpkin just rocks in my world.
    Have a safe and happy halloween!

  2. Elina replied:

    I used ww pastry flour (I can easily find it around here… definitely whole foods but I also think just at my regular grocery store) and added 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice (for half batch) and they were perfect! Super light and moist. I loved them.
    Thanks for the tip of making your own buttermilk. I also hate wasting it, so I actually used powdered buttermilk in my muffins this time, and they came out great! :D

  3. pamela replied:

    I just used plain whole wheat flour in place of the pastry flour. I can’t find any either. You got some great height on you muffins! They look terrific.

  4. applec replied:

    They look great. I made only a few changes but thought they were absolutely delicious.

  5. macduff replied:

    I love the fact that you made your own buttermilk! Martha Stewart always does that. I actually love it when a recipe calls for buttermilk. I don’t drink regular milk (I’m a soy girl), but I LOVE buttermilk. It reminds me of that Kefir drinkable yogurt, so I try to drink a little every day when I have it around. And it makes awesome recipes.

    Great post – your muffins look AWESOME!

  6. Tessa replied:

    What a great end to your pumpkin week :) I’m glad your family liked them. Great photo!

  7. Sarah replied:

    Your muffins look delicious, and congrats on winning the new Ellie book. Happy Halloween!

  8. Sarah replied:

    these look fab! I’ve only been able to find the WW pastry flour at health food stores. It’s pretty pricey.

  9. sara replied:

    Good job! Baking substitutions are not that scary, and now you know :) Glad they came out so good.

    Regarding the shape of my muffins, I don’t really know why they come out like that, but I think it has to do with my silicone muffin pan. The muffins tend to bake straight up instead of up and out, it’s weird. The only thing I would say is just make sure that you tap the muffin pan against the counter to make sure the batter is even in the cups before you bake them.

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