Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins for a Pumpkin Carving Party

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Every year when my mom hosts Thanksgiving, she takes on all of the cooking. She wants no help, she asks for no one to bring anything. Thanksgiving is her day, and, as she likes to say, the meal is her gift to all of the people she loves. The one exception is dessert: my sister bakes the apple pie every year, and I bake the pumpkin pie. It's always been one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving tradition: Wednesday night may be a bar hopping thing for some, but for me it has always involved whipping up a perfectly smooth, perfectly creamy pumpkin pie. (Btw, in case you're wondering: use a whisk and hand mix your ingredients till they get a little frothy. You're welcome.)

I love it so much, in fact, that when Turkey Hill came out with their pumpkin pie ice cream a few years ago, it became a hoarding tradition for me to get as many tubs as possible before the season was over. And one of the things I realized while gorging myself on gallons of this treat is that it goes SO WELL with hot fudge. Now, I'm not pretending I'm the first person to think pumpkin and chocolate go well together. There are recipes all over the place proving that this is a delicious and well-known combo. But for some reason, people who have yet to experience are usually ... what's the best way to put it? Grossed out. 

For whatever reason, this combo is not an obvious choice for a lot of people, and if you haven't tried it but you like pumpkin desserts (or the spices that go with them - cinnamon, ginger, clove, etc.), give these pumpkin muffins a shot! They are super moist and have a rich pumpkin flavor, but also little bursts of chocolate chips throughout which will be a nice primer to the world of chocolate and pumpkin. Next thing you know, you'll be putting chocolate syrup on pumpkin pie and making a chocolate dough for your pumpkin ravioli! (Or you'll just keep eating these muffins.)

This recipe uses less than half a can of pumpkin and makes 1 dozen, so it's very easy to double for a large crowd. They make a delicious breakfast treat, or a fabulous dessert option for those with a little less of a sweet tooth. They're also perfect for a party where there will be other sweeter options available, for example anything around Halloween, where you are sure to find a bowl of peanut butter cups or mini snickers within arm's reach at all times. For example, a pumpkin carving party! I have a FREE downloadable pumpkin carving stencil you can snag here!

How cute is this little guy! He's based on this card, of course. You may need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this file (it's free!), and make sure that you check your printer settings to get him to the perfect size for your pumpkin, and read the directions for the best order to cut out each piece.

Okay, back to the muffins and a couple of quick tips! When you add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, give it only enough stirs to incorporate everything, and then stop! Stirring too much will activate the gluten in the flour and will make your muffins tough and chewy. Also, I am a HUGE fan of dark chocolate, but since these muffins on their own are just barely sweet, I used milk chocolate chips to add a hint of extra sugar and to avoid any bitterness you get with darker chocolate. 


You can omit the chocolate chips on the top if you don't want that extra punch of chocolatey goodness, or you can even omit the chips all together if you know that chocolate and pumpkin is just not your thing. These muffins are delicious on their own, but I urge you to give the chocolate thing a try. 

And now for the recipe!


Prep Time: 10 minutes  |  Cook Time: 20-25 minutes  |  Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins


  • 1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (I always use dark, you can use whatever you have)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin (this is slightly less than half a 15 oz. can)
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, plus some extra for the top


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and sugar in a small bowl.
  3. In a separate medium sized bowl, mix the milk, pumpkin, oil, egg, and bourbon.
  4. Put the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk only until the ingredients are just combined.
  5. Add in your chocolate chips and stir once.
  6. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake papers and then pour your batter into each paper. It should come close to the top.
  7. Add a few extra chips to the top of each muffin before putting in the oven.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a few of the muffins comes out clean.
  9. Cool inside the tin for 5-10 minutes, and then on a rack. These are best served right away, but if you're making them ahead of time (like the night before), place them in an airtight container on your counter.

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