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Feeding the Fam: Pumpkin Power Muffins

Photograph by The Naptime Chef

My children are obsessed with mini-muffins. I think it is because I made them so much when they were little—little muffins for little hands!—that they never got used to the big ones. Over time, I’ve developed quite a repertoire of mini-muffin recipes. I pack them frequently for lunches and snacks. I also take them to the beach, playgroup and on road trips. They are perfect for these occasions in so many ways. They aren’t at all messy, and are just the right amount of sweet without becoming the equivalent of serving an entire slice of cake.

Our favorite fall flavor for mini-muffins is pumpkin. To make them on the healthier side, I keep the sugar content low, add honey for flavor, throw in some wheat germ for added vitamins and use a little whole-wheat flour. My kids are none the wiser, which is fine with me. So long as they love their snacks and I know they are fueling up those little bodies with lots of goodness, I am happy.

- When packing school lunch, these muffins are the sweet treat that round out our macaroni and cheese, apple slices and carrots.

- For my son’s after-nap snack, he likes a muffin, peeled apple slices and fresh milk.

- Since this recipe yields 4 dozen muffins, I usually freeze half for later. To do this, I freeze the room temperature muffins on a small tray. Then I transfer them to a zip-top freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. To serve, I bring them back to room temperature and dole out as requested.

- These muffins are nut-free, if you are considering food allergies in your house.

RECIPE: Pumpkin Power Muffins

Yields 48 muffins


  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a mini-muffin tin with liners or spray each cup with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the pumpkin, butter, orange juice and eggs until smooth. Fold in the flour, wheat germ, sugar, honey, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon with a spatula and stir until smooth. Be careful not to overwork the batter so the muffins aren’t too stiff.
  3. Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of each muffin comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for 3 minutes in the pan. Then use a spoon or dull knife to carefully pop them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Photograph by The Naptime Chef
Photograph by The Naptime Chef
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