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Golden Mean Pumpkin Muffins

Lately almost all the muffins I make begin with this recipe, which may well be the golden mean of muffin recipes. They just taste right, with the perfect balance of sweetness and oil, grain-y-ness and lightness. Total muffin harmony. (For the longest time I cooked steel-cut oats only because I needed “leftovers” to bake more and more of these muffins.) These days, I look at this treasured recipe, then add a little of this, a little of that, less of that, more of this, throw it in the oven, and really, WHO KNOWS what will happen? The truth is, secretly I always expect magic. But, to be honest — I *definitely* don’t always get it. When I do, though, it’s a beautiful thing.

Somehow, these golden-orange delights emerged from the oven just pumpkin-y enough, satisfyingly rich but not heavy, with sugar and cinnamon on top for that extra little something. I don’t want to overly question why they’re so good, so perfectly proportioned. (Why? WHYYYYYY?) Sometimes you just get lucky. 


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp for topping
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
½ tsp ginger
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup light brown sugar + one tablespoon for topping
3 eggs
3/4 cups plain yogurt
1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree


1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease the muffin pan with olive oil. (I like to spray it on.)

2. In one bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and baking soda, salt and spices, and set aside. In another, mix the pumpkin, olive oil, sugar, eggs, and yogurt.

3. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing just until combined. (I often manage to overmix. I think it helps to use a wooden spoon? But also probably paying less attention to giggly toddlers and/or This American Life could be helpful, too. Or, whatever, mix it up, work that arm. They’ll still be delicious.)

4. Scoop into the muffin cups, and sprinkle the leftover cinnamon mixed with sugar on top. Bake 25-30 minutes. Eat them warm, preferably right away. They’re pretty perfect as is, though a touch of butter never hurt anyone.

Previously: Red Lentil and Sriracha Soup.

Natalie Eve Garrett is an artist who loves muffins. She also has an Etsy store.


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