One-Bowl No-Mixer Pumpkin Muffins

So it’s no secret that I’m enamored with pumpkin, and I have dozens of pumpkin recipes that get busted out in the fall.  But for many folks, the idea of setting up the stand mixer to cream butter and sugar…or having multiple bowls and measuring cups to clean up afterward…it’s just too much to contemplate sometimes.  So what happens when you want something quick and easy, but a little special for breakfast or dessert, but don’t want to deal with a massive cleanup?

I’ve been developing this quick little recipe that lets you do everything in a single bowl, no mixer needed, and no measuring cups, either!  (Provided you have a kitchen scale.  You DO have a kitchen scale, don’t you?  If not…don’t be dumb.  It makes life SO much easier!)  To be honest, I estimate all the other dry ingredients like baking powder and spices, rather than using a measuring spoon.  The recipe is pretty forgiving.  So all I really use is the kitchen scale, a big bowl, a whisk, an ice cream scoop, and the muffin pan.

The best part of this recipe is its flexibility.  Make it just as I state below, which will give you moist, sweet, warm-spiced pumpkin muffins…or stir in any additional ingredients you like.  Suggestions at the end, of course!

Preheat your oven to 375F (365F for convection).

In a large bowl, combine:

8.75 oz flour (1 3/4 c)
12 oz brown sugar (or 1 3/4 c, light or dark)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table/sea salt)
Your Desired Spices
(I estimate in my palm:)
1 T ginger
1 T cinnamon
1 T cardamom
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Stir everything together with your fingers until well-mixed. Make a well in the center and then add:

1 can pumpkin (or 12oz/1 3/4 c homemade puree)
3 oz sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk, etc. (about 1/3 cup)
2 large eggs
3 3/4 oz oil (1/2 c, you can also use melted butter, coconut oil, etc.)
1 tsp vanilla
2 T instant coffee dissolved in 1 tsp hot water (optional)

With a whisk, stir the liquid ingredients together lightly on top of the flour until they start to be combined.  Then you can dig deeper with the whisk to incorporate the dry ingredients.  Stir gently until smooth.

At this point, you can distribute the batter into 12 standard muffin cups…or add any extras you like, and the sky’s the limit here.  My favorite combo is fresh cranberries and grated apple, but you can use:

raisins, dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, figs (plump them in warm juice, wine, or liquor in the microwave for a minute?)
chocolate chips
cubes of cream cheese
any fresh fruit (apples, pears, mango, berries, figs, sour cherries, banana…whole, cubed, mashed, or grated)
nuts (chestnuts would be most appropriate, but any nut will do)

Don’t get nervous here.  Generally any amount is fine unless you’re adding a lot of liquid to the batter.  A cup of liquidy ingredients, like grated apple or mashed banana, is about all you want to add before you run into textural problems in the batter, but you can literally double the volume of the recipe with berries, chocolate chips, etc. if you want to.  If you discover that your muffins are too wet to rise and set properly, just add an extra ounce of flour next time to help deal with the extra wet ingredients.

Keep in mind that adding extras means you end up with MORE batter, and the standalone recipe fills 12 standard muffin cups.  So if you add extras, you’ll want to have another muffin pan on hand…or some mini loaf pans, like I always keep around.  When I do this recipe, I add half a bag of fresh cranberries, and about a cup of grated apple (unpeeled) and it yields 12 muffins and 1 mini muffin pan (3″ x 5.75″)…a perfect gift for a neighbor.

Fill a greased or paper-lined muffin tray just slightly over the top of the rim of the cups.  (An ice cream scoop is perfect for this.)  Bake on the center rack of a preheated 375F oven (365F if using convection) for about 25-30 minutes.  You can test if they’re done by inserting a knife or toothpick, and if it comes out clean, they’re done.  The easier way is just to lightly touch the top of one muffin.  If it’s springy and returns to form, it’s done.  If it’s soft and gooey and mushes down…it needs another 5 minutes or maybe longer.

Let these cool for 10 minutes or so before eating.

I like to stir up a quick mixture of sour cream, sugar, and vanilla to use like soft butter on these muffins…it makes them extra special!  But you can go with soft butter…make up some cream cheese frosting…or simply eat them standalone.  Warm is always best, though, so if they’ve been out on the countertop for a few hours or days, nuke them for a few seconds to gelatinize those starches and get them moist and tender again!

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