Writer Fuel – Pumpkin Muffins Edition

Writer Fuel – Pumpkin Muffins Edition

Do you know what every writer needs? Food. And while I’m all for sitting down with a spoonful of Nutella, sometimes what’s really (really) needed for those long writing sessions is something fresh out of the oven.

I’m way, way more likely to stick to my word goal if I have some delicious, home-made sustenance.

I know there are tons of pumpkin muffin recipes out there, but these are perfect. And I know that because I’ve made them almost once a week since the first of September, tweaking the batches until they came out totally, absolutely perfect. Perfect, I say.

They are soft, with a nice firm crust, plenty of pumpkin flavor, Maple syrup, and chai-inspired spices. These are all-out, gourmet, top-shelf pumpkin muffins. Plus, they are super quick to make.

As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also pretty healthy. These delicious little guys have it all.

I can smell them now. Mmmm.

Do you want to know what the key is to really fabulous muffins? It’s not super precise measuring, although that helps. It’s not some fancy pan. With muffins, the secret is all in how you stir.

I know this, because it’s what my grandma taught me. And my grandma could make an incredible muffin. It didn’t matter if it was from a box mix or from scratch, her muffins were perfect. Because she knew how to stir them.

First of all, the wet and the dry ingredients have to be combined in separate bowls. Don’t skip this step. All the flour, spices, and baking soda/powder to one side; all the milk, eggs, wet sweeteners, and oils to the other side. You want those ingredients combined before you put everything together.

Don’t skip it. Don’t make my grandma mad.

Then, the wet and the dry go together, but carefully. I don’t even really stir them. I use more of a folding action to get them combined. And then, before you think it’s mixed, stop folding. I leave a few hunks and lumps of flour in the batter. Most of the time those lumps bake out. Very occasionally I’ll get a little bit of flour in a muffin, but it’s totally worth the incredibly soft texture.

As long as you are careful with your stirring, you will have an incredibly soft muffin. Promise.

Now that you’ve tolerated my lecture on proper muffin stirring, here is the recipe for my Maple Spiced Pumpkin Muffin.

Writer fuel at it’s very best.


  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (like safflower or canola)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk (you may not need it all, depending on how moist the pumpkin puree is)
  • pumpkin seeds (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or line a 12-muffin pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: both flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and cloves.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the pumpkin, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. (save the last wet ingredient, milk, for later) Mix well.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the wet ingredients. As in, add in half the flour mixture, then half the milk, stir together. Then add in the last half of the flour mixture and the last half of the milk, and stir together. Remember to fold gently, and don’t overmix. You may not need all the milk, depending on how moist the pumpkin puree is. I find different brands are, well, different. You want your batter to be pretty thick for these muffins.

Using a large spoon, or if you are very fancy, an ice cream scoop, fill your muffin pan. Each divot should be about 3/4 full. I’m a rebel, though, so I usually go a little higher.

If you are very fancy, you can sprinkle on some pumpkin seeds.

Put them in the oven and bake for twenty minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let them cool about five minutes, and then pop them out of the pan onto a cooling rack. I use a fork to loosen around the edge. Grandma always went with a butter knife, and she was really careful not to scrape the bottom of the tin.


Alternate Options

Bonus! I also make these muffins with chocolate chips. When I do, I reduce the maple syrup to 1/2 cup, add a little more milk, and stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the batter. This is my husband’s favorite way to have a pumpkin muffin.