There’s a battle brewing at my house. My husband keeps announcing that he’s cold. He puts on a sweatshirt and some slippers and he shivers and he asks me if I think he might be coming down with something (oh please, oh please, don’t let him be coming down with something–have you ever seen The Man Cold video? Welcome to my life.) Then he wanders over to the thermostat and discovers that I have turned it down to chilly, sweater-wearing levels. This is because it is still 90 degrees outside and I refuse, refuse to accept the fact that if I got a caramel apple cider from Starbucks, I would end up lying on the couch, sweating to death and wondering if we could move to a cooler climate. So then he turns the thermostat back up, higher than we normally keep it, and I wonder why the house smells like heater when it’s 90 degrees outside and I discover what he’s done and I plot buying a lockbox for the thermostat. The weather had better cool off soon, lest we find ourselves in thermostat-related couples therapy. Until then, I’m keeping it cool and baking fall goodies. Starting with Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

You’ll need a Duncan Hines spice cake mix (check out this post to see how strongly I feel about Duncan Hines cake mixes), pumpkin puree, sour cream vegetable oil, eggs, and chocolate chips. And vanilla, but I forgot that.

And because this is NOT the Weight Watchers version, we’re adding a streusel topping made with flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and butter.

Preheat your oven to 350. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside. Check out these cupcake liners that I found in the cake decorating aisle of Walmart the other day!

I love that they hold their shape and have a more unique look than traditional cupcake liners.


Ignore the directions on the box. We’re getting crazy here. Place the cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for about 30 seconds or until the dry ingredients are moistened, then beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is smooth. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners.

Whisk together the dry streusel ingredients (flour, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice)…

and then cut in the butter with two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture over the muffin batter…

and then bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes. Yes, I realize that’s a huge span of time. Without going too far off course, let me just say that my new gas oven is throwing me for a loop. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a gas oven or if it’s just because it’s a different oven than what I’m used to, but things are not baking the same and my world has been rocked to its core. The thick and fudgy Tim Riggins Brownies? Yeah, they baked in much less time and came out fluffy and cake-like when I made them this weekend. So because I’ve been reminded first-hand how widely baking times can vary, I’ve given a pretty generous window for how long these will need to bake. There are just a few things to keep in mind: 1) They will probably take longer than the cupcake instructions on the cake box (because of the pumpkin), 2) You’ll want the tops to be turning golden, 3) When you insert a toothpick into the centers to test for doneness, you don’t want anything to come back out, not even crumbs. Because you’re adding the pumpkin and the sour cream, these will be very moist, so if you underbake them at all, they will be on the gooey side. These ones were not baked long enough (my other pan was, though), and you can see the tops of some of them are sinking.

When they’re done baking, remove the pans from the oven and allow them to cool completely. And if you call them “muffins,” you can eat them at all hours of the day, whereas if you call them cupcakes, it’s not socially appropriate to eat them for breakfast. So these are muffins, even if they do involve chocolate. And streusel. And cake mix.


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