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This weather is lovely, but truly creeping a lot of us out here in NYC. We’ll probably be just shy of 60 degrees today, in the last week of February! Is the seasonal confusion driving my craving for pumpkin muffins? Or perhaps from watching the Crawley family of Downton Abbey take their afternoon tea over and over again? I’ve definitely been heating the tea kettle more often and sipping the English Breakfast. And sure enough, I shared an (amazing) ginger-lemon-honey tea and cranberry scone with Georgia this morning (Balthazar scone, tea, at De Luxe cafe Park Slope). Baking quick breads at home, cutting crusts off my daughter’s sandwiches…my oh my. Where is Mrs. Patmore to teach me to bake a Christmas pudding then light it on fire?

Pumpkin Muffins with Crunchy Sugared Walnuts*

*Perfect for high tea with your 20-month old

  • 1 cup pumpkin (canned or fresh pureed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup milk (your preferred milk, I used reduced fat)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain pastry flour (can substitute whole wheat flour for all or half, if desired)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp turbinado (raw) sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, molasses, salt, spices, and milk.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add all at once to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Scoop batter evenly into the cups of a greased or paper-lined 12-cup muffin tin (I use unbleached parchment paper muffin liners). Sprinkle each cup evenly with walnuts, then cinnamon, then sugar. Bake 10 minutes, rotate 180 degrees, then continue to bake another 8-10 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly touched. Let cool 5 minutes in pan, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Pumpkin Leaf Muffins recipe