Holiday Baking: Blissful Pumpkin Muffins

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I’m an avid pumpkin dessert-lover, so when this season rolls around, I have a blast getting into everything and anything pumpkin-related. Last year, I was enamored with this pumpkin and pear spiced muffin recipe.

This year, I’ve found a muffin that out-stages it. It’s so delicious and shockingly moist (even after a few days), I can’t get enough of it!



Pumpkin Muffins with Candied Pumpkin Seeds

(adapted from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Baker + Cafe by Joanne Chang)


  • 3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (leave at room temperature for ~1 hr)
  • 2 C sugar
  • 3 T unsulfured molasses
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 C fresh orange juice
  • 1 can (16 oz) pumpkin puree OR 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree + 1 oz applesauce (I used the latter)
  • 3 C unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground cloves
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice (optional, if you like a bit more spice, like I do)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C candied pumpkin seeds (I purchased mine from Trader Joe’s, but you can also make your own; see recipe below)



Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F, with a center-mounted baking rack.

Using a mixer (stand mixer or hand-held mixer), cream the butter, sugar, and molasses together on medium speed until fully-combined, light, and fluffy (about 2 minutes).


On low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition to combine the eggs and butter mixture completely. Scrape the bottom and sides occasionally.

On low speed, add the orange juice and pumpkin and beat until well combined. The mixture will look lumpy and liquid-y.


In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and pumpkin pie spice until well mixed. Add the liquid-egg mixture and fold gently just until the dry and wet ingredients are well combined.



Scoop the batter into muffin cups (I prefer a silicone mini muffin tray), filling the cups to the rim. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the candied pumpkin seeds.


Bake for 30 minutes for mini muffins or 40-45 minutes for full-sized muffins, until they are golden brown and spring back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, then remove from the pan.


These little beauties are best enjoyed when warm. However, these muffins are so moist, they will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days (if they even last that long), and taste just as delicious!


Candied Pumpkin Seeds


Option 1: Purchase at Trader Joe’s (they’re delicious in salad, on top of ice cream, on their own…)

Option 2: Make your own!


  • 3/4 C pumpkin seeds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 C sugar


Line a tray with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin seeds, egg white, and sugar to make a loose slurry. Pour the seed mixture into the prepared tray and leave out, uncovered, to dry overnight. The next day, break apart the seed mixture into pieces with your fingers. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.



Do you have holiday baking plans? This pumpkin muffin recipe is my new favorite, and I look forward to sharing it widely with friends and family over the next few months. I hope you enjoy it too!



P.S. Here’s a ‘step-by-step’ visual for Pinterest reference.


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  1. Joanna Sormunen says:

    The muffins look amazing! I wonder if I could do these gluten free?

    1. Joanna, thanks! Good question… I’m not familiar enough with gluten-free baking to know how the flour composition would correlate, but since there aren’t any unique baking requirements, it seems like it could be worth a try. Let me know if you successfully make them!

  2. These look great! I can’t get enough pumpkin right now and I have been putting those pumpkin seeds on everything! I’m tempted to go buy all of them because I know they’re a seasonal item! Nice to meet you on Thursday!

    1. Kelly, thanks!! Awesome to meet a fellow pumpkin lover! 😀 Yep, I’m popping the seeds all the time aaand.. have you tried the TJ’s pumpkin butter? OMG, it’s my favorite pumpkin product ever. I stock up on multiple jars every year. 😡

      It was lovely to meet you on Thursday, and I look very much to keeping in touch! <3


      1. Wait WHAT!? Pumpkin butter? I’m totally going to check it out next time I’m at TJ’s!

  3. Lana LeFevre says:

    This screams Autumn. Good job!

    1. Thanks Lana! I love the autumn season.. all the warm colors, scents, and flavors. ^_^

  4. 1. These muffins DO look amazing. I would eat a few dozen.
    2. I’m obsessed with those Trader Joe’s pumpkin seeds – EXCELLENT call putting them on top
    3. <3 the Flour cookbook! Have you been to the bakery??
    4. It was so great to meet you tonight! xoxo.

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for your comments! They do taste amazing, and even better, the dough keeps wonderfully in the fridge for a week or two. So you could have freshly-baked muffins on demand! (or, if you happen to be in the SoMA area, let me know and I’m happy to give you a few that I’ve made. 😉 )

      I haven’t been to the bakery, but would love to some day! I know I’d go crazy getting at least a dozen items “just to try them and see what the original tastes like”. 😉 I also really loooooved the recipe for sticky buns ( Have you made it? OMG, the butter-sugar topping is just sinfully divine.

      It was wonderful to meet you too, and I look forward to keeping in touch!! <3


      1. Oh man! I wish I were in the SoMA area – I’m in the East Bay! You’re too sweet!

        I’ve never made the sticky buns, but I ate them at the bakery per my husband’s recommendation! Delicious! My friend Tina ( recently made the sticky buns and she said it was QUITE the process, but well worth it for the results.

  5. Michelle Chouinard says:

    That looks crazy yummy. And muffins or not, I’m picking up those seeds next time I go to Trader Joe’s! 🙂

    1. Thanks Michelle! And yes, good call on the seeds! (may I also recommend the pumpkin butter and the pumpkin body cream? I love both so much~)

      1. Michelle Chouinard says:

        Ooo…I’ll have to check them out!

  6. Ruthy T. says:

    I love learning about new things at TJ’s!!!

    1. Ruthy, 😀 !! Yep, they have so many wonderful treats! What are your favs?

  7. Chrissy says:

    These look amazing!!! I need to head to Trader Joe’s for those pumpkin seeds!

    1. Chrissy, thanks! Glad I could provide some inspiration! I also noted it to a few other ppl – check out their pumpkin butter and pumpkin body cream if you haven’t already – two of my other favs. Oh, and the roasted pumpkin seed oil…

  8. Camesha says:

    OK, I need to save this recipe. My son is all over me about making something we these pumpkins around here.

    1. 😀 Awww, I can just imagine him begging! He (and you) will love these, promise. Hope you make it and enjoy the results! <3

  9. All pumpkin everything, I LOVE IT! This looks delicious!

    1. Jessica, YES me too!!! Thanks! They are so, so delicious. I just made a second batch this wknd (the batter keeps really well in the fridge), and they were even better than I remembered. So I feel that gushing about them was completely deserved. 😀

  10. DELICIOUS!!!! Another reason I wish I lived near a Trader Joes. So jealous.

    1. Thanks Breanna! Aww, I’m sorry you’re not near a TJ’s (some of my friends have similar situations and they’ll go when visiting friends, and then ship things back home..!). On the plus side, at least you can make your own homemade version of the pumpkin seeds!

  11. Yum! I love the idea of using candied pumpkin seeds on the muffins! I usually candy the seeds and use them in salads!

    1. Amby, totally! I love using them in salads too, along with some honeyed goat cheese and crisp fuyu persimmon slices. Hmm, notice a sweet theme…? 😛

  12. My son has been begging me to make pumpkin seeds/pumpkin something, so this is perfect!

    1. Jessica, awesome! If you make them, please let me know how he and you like them. I just made a second batch this past weekend (the dough keeps really well in the fridge), and they’re just as heavenly as the first batch. :9

  13. Oh my gosh those look and sound amazing! I’ve never had candied pumpkin seeds before!

    1. Rebekah, thanks! You definitely have to try candied pumpkin seeds! They’re similar to candied pecans and walnuts, but a bit more delicate… If you make your own, I recommend adding a liberal amount of pumpkin pie spice to the mixture, so that they have that holiday scent and taste. 🙂

  14. OMG yum! They look incredible!

    1. Thanks Brenda!! (they are! such a great treat that I like to justify with the ‘mini’ size.) 😉

  15. i have never used pumpkin in anythign before! WOrth a shot!

    1. Alycia, really?! Do you like to make apple desserts in the fall? For me, I love the whole ‘sugar and spice’ flavors of fall, and pumpkin is such a great partner for those spices. but I think you could prob make similar versions with pureed apple or pear, to get similarly yummy results. 🙂

  16. YUM! I love pumpkin muffins, or pumpkin anything, really!

    1. Peel&Posies (such a cute username, btw), thanks! Yes, we’re kindred pumpkin-loving spirits!

  17. Oh heck yes. This looks amazing!!! Pinned it to my YUM! board! Thanks!

    1. Candace, awesome! I promise that they will indeed live up to that YUM standard. 😉 Enjoy, if you do make them, I’d love to hear what you think! Happy holiday baking! <3

  18. These looks so yummy! i haven’t tried making anything pumpkin yet. no i take that back.. i did try one recipe but everything came out soggy. I’ll have to add these to my queue but knowing me.. fall will be over before i start. haha

    1. Esther, I could just imagine your poor pumpkin recipe….! So sorry to hear about it – hopefully it still tasted good? Or was it non-salvageable? If you were to try pumpkin baking again… please do try these. 🙂 They’re not as overwhelmingly pumpkin as say, a pumpkin pie (that’s good for the first slice, and then slightly tiring by the fourth..), and they’re not such a crazy splurge when they’re made in mini form. Enjoy, or if I happen to have some around when you’re in the area, then happy to share mine with you. 😉

  19. Kristine Foley says:

    Drooling over here! Need all the pumpkin!

    1. Kristine, wish I could send you some! 😀

  20. Erica says:

    I need some Christmas recipes in my life, haha I’m on pumpkin viewing overload! 🙂 Sounds like this could be good though!

    1. Erica, you have a head-start on the holidays! I’ve got some non-pumpkin recommendations for you – you can see buttery apple (in a very mild way) cookies, eggnog cookies, and lemon bar recipes here: :9

  21. I love the idea of having the seeds on the very top of the muffins 🙂

    1. Thanks Lindsay! 🙂 They’re easy and fun~

  22. Those look delicious! I love Trader Joe’s – I will have to try this out!

    1. Claire, awesome! If you do, I know you’ll love it! 🙂

  23. Pauline Cabrera says:

    After using them as house decoration, it’s time bake those into pumpkin muffins.

    1. Pauline, haha yes – good idea to use those sugar pumpkins! My mother-in-law just showed me a gorgeous flowering kale bouquet she received. A dense spherical collection of warm purple ruffled kale ‘blooms’ with jade green tips. So pretty (and edible!). Love things that are both decorative and functional!

  24. You are so lucky to have a trader Joe’s! And these sound amazing! 🙂

    1. Tanya, yep! It’s a fun, unconventional store~ 🙂 And thanks! They are such lovely, yummy little treats~

  25. Karissa Ancell says:

    I don’t like pumpkin but my family does so I bet they would love this.

    1. Karissa, totally understandable. If you were interested in other variations, pureed apple or pear (with reduced amount of sugar, since the fruits are naturally sweet) would also be lovely partners with the fall spice flavors~ 🙂

  26. These Pumpkin Muffins with Candied Pumpkin Seeds look AMAZING! There’s always room for more pumpkin recipes in my book <3

    1. Thanks Angelic! Glad the recipe found a place in your book! 😉 <3

  27. YUM!!! I will absolutely be trying these out. I love pumpkin seeds but I’ve never tried them candied:)

    1. Joanna, awesome! Candied pumpkin seeds are similar to the concept of candied pecans, but they’re a bit more delicate… so they’re great for snacking on without feeling too ‘sugary’. If you make your own, I suggest adding pumpkin pie spice to the mixture for that ‘holiday’ taste~

  28. I think I’ve overdosed on pumpkin for this year! lol they look great though

    1. Nancy, haha, I hear you. I have yet to get there, but if you’re looking for other flavors, substituting the pumpkin with pureed apple or pureed pear (and decreasing the amount of sugar and increasing the baking time a little bit) would work well! Their flavors go well with the holiday spices. 🙂

  29. Sounds like a great Fall dessert!! Haven’t ever tried candied pumpkin seeds, but looks really interesting! <3

    1. Shipra, thanks! It’s my way of snuggling into fall, like you would snuggle into a warm blanket with hot chocolate. If you make the candied pumpkin seeds, try adding pumpkin pie spice to the mixture so that it has that holiday feel. They’re quite tasty!

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