Baking is a workout.
It starts the moment I begin gathering ingredients: I heft the gallon of milk out of the fridge while balancing the butter and flimsy cardboard carton of eggs in my other hand. After nudging my pale pink stepstool across the tile with the toe of my shoe, I climb up and s-t-r-e-t-c-h for the whole wheat flour on the tallest shelf my 5’3” frame can barely even see, then lug it to the only open counter space on the other side of the kitchen, all while wrenching open the stuck drawer for measuring cups before deftly hip-checking it closed.
And that’s just the warm-up.
I refuse to wash more than the minimum number of measuring spoons and mixing bowls, so heaven forbid I’d have to scrub the two electric beaters too. Instead, I whip out my handy dandy special tool—a thick and heavy dinner fork—for cutting butter into flour or creaming it with sugar because I am 100% sure it’s safe to toss in the dishwasher (as soon as I lick off the batter). Despite this many years of working overtime, my biceps still moan and beg for the mixer every time.
And I’m just getting to strength training: maintaining a firm and steady death-grip on the 100-pound mixing bowl bursting at the seams with batter as I delicately spoon it into the patiently waiting muffin tin below. Without dripping a single wayward plop of chocolate or vanilla on the countertop.
Once I thrust those into the oven, the cardio comes around again.
Soap, meet sponge. Sponge, meet hand. Hand, meet the Mount Shasta of silverware and cups and bowls coated with salt and sugar and oil.
Normally, my right bicep has rested long enough to attack with renewed vigor, but today… Today it met its match. In the form of an azure blue muffin tin.
I bake almost exclusively with this silicone muffin tin because it leaves the bottoms a beautiful golden brown—only a shade or two darker that the tops—unlike most metal tins that threaten to blacken the bottoms instead. But if you’ve never worked with silicone tins before, there’s something you should know: they’re flimsy. And bendable. And downright impossible to clean properly since they fold and flip whenever you sponge hard enough to wash off the last 10 muffin batches worth of residual cooking spray build-up.
And after 5 years of procrastinating, I finally scrubbed them clean—all in the name of Spiced Pumpkin Muffins!
They’re soft and tender, moist with just a kiss of sweetness—enough to taste without sending you to the dentist. Add in the pumpkin and Holy Trinity of Spices, and you’ll be reaching for a second one before you even swallow a bite of the first!
Now after that long intro, I need to let you in on a little secret… You don’t actually need to pull on your workout clothes and sweatband to make these! The recipe is really simple: stir the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another; mix them until moist; and pop in the oven to bake.
You’ll use half white and half wheat flour in these muffins. Along with extra fiber and nutrients, the wheat adds a subtle nuttiness that accentuates the flavors of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger (aka the Holy Trinity of Spices). But with 1½ cups of moist pumpkin purée, you’ll barely realize the wheat flour is inside!
Put away your butter—you’ll only need a scant 1½ tablespoons of oil. Yes, it’s a small amount. But these muffins are healthy and already packed full of moisture from the pumpkin! And strange as it may seem, you must use a tablespoon of lemon juice. Because we aren’t using eggs, we need the acid in the lemon juice to react with the base in the baking powder and baking soda to lighten up the texture and prevent the muffins’ insides from turning too dense. With such a tiny volume, you won’t taste the lemon at all—only lots of spices and pumpkin!
After baking and popping them out of the tins, try to resist hiding the muffins from your family members or biting their heads off if they ask for a taste. I hoarded the whole batch, especially after calculating their Nutrition Information (go on, take a peek—your jaw will drop at just how few calories are packed inside of these tall muffins!) and finished them off in only 5 days. That’s an average of more than 2 muffins a day!
And I already baked 3 more batches.
These muffins are full of fall flavors! Store in zip-topped bag for up to 6 days in the refrigerator, and reheat each muffin for 15-18 seconds in the microwave.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F, and coat 12 muffins cups with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour and next 7 ingredients (through salt). In a large bowl, mix together the oil, pumpkin, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir in the Splenda and Truvia. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups, filling each to the brim. Bake at 325°F for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Note: I recommend using a combination of sugar substitutes since some people complain about a chemical aftertaste if only using one. However, if you don’t have Truvia, you can substitute another 3-4 packets of Splenda.
Also, you can substitute ½ cup of Splenda Granulated Sweetener OR ¼ cup of Splenda Sugar Blend for the 12 packets of Splenda. (They are NOT the same thing, which is why the measurements are different! See their website for details.)
For a vegan version, substitute your favorite non-dairy milk.
I do not recommend leaving these out on the counter for very long. For best results, store in a zip-topped bag in the refrigerator once they've cooled completely.
can you use coconut oil instead of the canola oil?
my first visit here and have already printed 3 of your recipes to try! 🙂 thanks for all the hard work you put in to share these goodies with us.
Yes, melted coconut oil will work! I really appreciate your interest in my recipes — it means so much to me that you’ve already printed out 3! I can’t wait to hear what you think of them! 🙂
Great, thanks for your prompt reply, Amy! I went to start making them, and wouldn’t you know, I have only 11 Splenda packets left. :-/. What do you recommend: making up for the missing 12th packet with a little more truvia (if so, how much more?)? Or replacing the two sweeteners with Truvia baking blend, which I also have at home? (If so, how much baking blend should I use?)
Sorry for the hassle; I hope to be able to make them soon and let you know how they come out ?.
Oh goodness! I’d recommend making up for the missing Splenda packet with about 2 teaspoons of Truvia. That way, you don’t have to use a third sweetener! 😉 I can’t wait to hear how the muffins turned out!
Ok, so just to be clear, I’ll be using a total of 4t Truvia, yes? Thanks again!
Yes, that’s correct! 🙂 It’s my pleasure!
sue nelson says...
How do we substitute Stevia for Splenda and Truvia
It actually depends on the exact brand and product of stevia that you’d like to use! All stevia brands/products vary in sweetness and volume. If you can give me that info, then I can give you the best substitution Sue! 🙂
Pam Brockman says...
How much stevia in the raw or liquid vanilla creme stevia by Sweet Leaf should we use? I made the gingerbread muffins & they were wonderful!!! Can we also just use white while wheat flower in the pumpkin muffins?
I’m so glad you loved the gingerbread muffins, Pam! That means so much to me! 🙂
Yes, you can definitely use white whole wheat flour to make these muffins! Stevia In The Raw would probably be the easiest substitution. I’d recommend using ½ cup + 1 tablespoon to replace both the Splenda and Truvia. You shouldn’t need to make any adjustments to the other ingredients if using that substitution.
I’m excited to hear what you think of these pumpkin muffins too!
The print out recipe says to use 4 1/2 teaspoons of canola oil, but in your write up you say to use “a scant 1 1/2 tablespoons” of oil. This is a big difference. Which amount is the correct one?
I really appreciate your interest in my recipe, Brenda! With measurements, 1 tablespoon is the equivalent of 4 teaspoons. Therefore, 4 ½ teaspoons = 1 ½ tablespoons. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what you think of these muffins!