Wow. It has been quite some time since I’ve made an appearance here. That is not to say, of course, that I haven’t been in the kitchen. No, no. I’ve spent countless hours cooking and baking my heart out. I just got out of the groove. I was, perhaps, in a rut. I didn’t feel all too inspired.
Maybe it was the warmer months that really threw me off. But come Autumn, my favorite season (of course), pumpkin arrives on the grocer’s shelves, the scent of cinnamon fills the air, and the crisp fall breeze gently nudges me back to the kitchen (now that I can bear to turn the oven on). And what better way to start off the season than with warm, comforting, muffins.
They’re the perfect fall treat, if you ask me. Especially with that big, bakery-style domed top. That is, after all, the best part of a muffin. And, in fact, the only part I would eat as a child. The domed top comes from baking these muffins at high heat for a brief time before lowering the oven to a more traditional muffin making temperature. These autumn-inspired muffins are full of texture from crunchy toasted hazelnuts, melty chocolate chunks, and the perfect bakery-style streusel topping. A batter full of spicy cinnamon and ginger, along with a healthy dose of molasses, remind us that Autumn is here to stay. Happy first day of Fall (well almost . I just couldn’t wait)! Celebrate with muffins! You’ll thank me, but not before you’ve consumed half the batch in one sitting.
- 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 6 tablespoons water)
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry or all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or other neutral oil*
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped hazelnuts, divided
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line or lightly grease a standard muffin tin.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water. Set aside to gel for 5 minutes while you mix the dry ingredients.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger until dispersed. Set aside.
- To the flax egg, whisk in almond milk, 3/4 cup sugar, molasses, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until a homogenous mixture is formed. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and fold in until just combined, then fold in chocolate chunks and 3/4 cup hazelnuts. Be careful not to over mix. The batter will be very thick.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling all the way to the top. Sprinkle with remaining hazelnuts and sugar.
- Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 24-26 minutes, until golden.
- Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
*You can replace up to 1/4 cup of the oil with applesauce
What are your staples in Autumn? I can’t seem to help myself from stirring a bit of pumpkin into everything. And apples, oh the apples! My cravings for apples have been simply insatiable. I think I actually screamed a little when I saw Honeycrisps for the first time of the season. I see all sorts of apple filled goodness in the future. There is serious potential for a pumpkin-apple pairing, too.