Before the mounds of stuffing and slices of turkey everyone needs something light but filling to start out Thanksgiving, and these muffins fit the bill! They’re just enough to fill you up, but won’t wreck your appetite for the main event. These muffins have all the flavors of the season: pumpkin, spice, cranberry and nuts.

The recipe calls for cinnamon chips but I don’t care for them, they’re too sweet for me. So I substituted chopped pecans instead. I also plumped up the dried cranberries before incorporating them into the batter. I find that this helps to keep the muffins nice and moist.

These are so easy to make, why not whip up a double batch and freeze some for later? Here is how you can make your own.


You can find the basic recipe here. Start by lining a muffin pan with papers. Spray the papers and the pan with Pam and set aside. It’s important to spray the papers or the muffins will stick and be difficult to remove cleanly from the papers.

In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, dark brown sugar, oil, molasses, salt, spices (I used 2 1/2 teaspoons of Penzey’s Cake Spice and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract), milk and 1 cup cinnamon chips or 1 cup of chopped pecans. (I used chopped pecans because I don’t like the taste of the cinnamon chips.) Set bowl aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour (I used all All Purpose Flour for a higher rise), baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the dried cranberries (I like to re-hydrate the cranberries by placing them in a microwavable bowl with one tablespoon of water and cook for one minute in the microwave then let cool completely before mixing into the batter).

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix by hand until well combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. While the batter is resting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

After 30 minutes, use an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Top each muffin 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sparkling sugar or Swedish pearl sugar if desired.

Bake the muffins for 20-21 minutes then remove from pan to let cool completely or serve warm with butter and jam.

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