Pumpkin chocolate muffins are a Thanksgiving tradition in my family. I’ve been baking them since I was 13 years old, using a recipe my mom’s friend found on the internet, and thought it was about time to mix things up. The original recipe calls for adding chocolate chips to a buttery dough flavored with cinnamon and cloves. I melted a bar of dark chocolate and swirled it into the batter instead. In place of canned pumpkin, I cooked and pureed butternut squash. Pumpkin or any other winter squash variety would be just as delicious, of course; I just happened to have butternut squash at home. Freshly cooked squash improves the taste, but canned pumpkin is absolutely fine in a pinch. Enjoy these over Thanksgiving weekend, or anytime throughout the fall or winter.
Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Muffins
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup pumpkin or butternut squash, cooked and pureed
3.5 oz dark chocolate bar, melted (see note below for variation with chocolate chips)
Note: 1 cup cooked squash is roughly the equivalent of half a butternut squash, but I cooked a whole squash and used the leftovers to make additional baked goods. To cook the squash, I removed the skin, cut it into cubes, and steamed it. When soft, I mashed it with a fork until smooth.
Variation: Swap melted dark chocolate for 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips. Stir in chips after combining wet and dry ingredients.
Grease or line a muffin tin and preheat oven to 350 °F. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in squash and melted butter until thoroughly combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Break chocolate bar into pieces. Melt in the microwave for about a minute or on the stove over low heat. Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling each cup three quarters of the way to the top. Pour about a teaspoon of chocolate into each muffin cup. Evenly scoop remaining batter over the chocolate in each cup, and swirl with a fork to create marbled patterns. Bake for 18-23 minutes (more time for larger muffins, less for smaller ones), until muffins spring back when touched.
Yields 12 medium-sized muffins.