Friends! I have a really great pumpkin muffin recipe with a tasty filling for you this week. I love making these this time of year as it is ‘Pumpkin Spice Everything’ season. If you aren’t a fan of pumpkin, no worries I’m also including a few simple tips on how to have your toddler help you in the kitchen. So, regardless if you bake these muffins or something else I encourage you to have your little ones help along the way in the kitchen!
These muffins are fluffy and I have added a sweet crunchy filling with pumpkin seeds to really ramp up the pumpkin taste. I love giving muffins texture with adding streusel or nuts into the mix! I brought my daughter Mila into the kitchen with me while baking these delicious muffins. I always love having my kids in the kitchen with me. I think our kitchen is the hub at home for memories. It is also the place we foster our family traditions of weekly pizza night, our morning breakfast routine and seasonal baking like these pumpkin muffins or holiday sugar cookies! I’ll be totally honest, incorporating your children into the kitchen can seem a bit daunting and let’s face it … you’ll have a bit more of a mess. Though in the end the mess can be cleaned and the memories will last a lifetime. I love remembering times in the kitchen with my family growing up and that is one thing I want to give my own children. Happy childhood memories in the kitchen.
So, now that Mila is almost two (when did that happen? slow down time!) I try to prepare as much as possible prior to bringing her into the kitchen. Just to keep us both in good spirits. So for this muffin recipe I pulled all the ingredients out and had them pre-measured. I also bake with Mila in the late mornings as she is still full from breakfast and in a happy mood. Try and choose a time during the day when your child is at their best when having them help in the kitchen. For example you wouldn’t want to try cooking with them right before nap time or if they are hungry for lunch or what not.
Mila loves pouring things and mixing. So having the ingredients already measured makes it easy to have her just pour in. This way she isn’t waiting for me to measure things and pulling at my arm. You know how toddlers are ;) I let Mila have her way with the whisk and stir until her heart is content.
One of my most favorite things to do with Mila while baking is prepping the baking pans. Especially for cupcakes or muffins. She is really into counting things right now and gets up to 5 or 6 already which always makes me thrilled and a bit teary eyed. I have her put the muffin cups into the muffin pan and count as we go. We actually do this a few times. She gets really excited when I tell her to do it by herself. I try to make most things a “game” and Mila really gets into it. Once she is over it she basically tells me (when she starts to try and rip the muffin cups instead of play with them ;) and then we move on.
Snacks typically help intermittently. For this recipe Mila snacked on pumpkin seeds, but you can really pull anything easy out for your little one to keep them interested. I do always try to use an ingredient we are cooking with. With my son I used to ask him questions like "What does it taste like? How does it feel crunchy or soft?" I try and ask these questions with Mila but she is still a bit young to really grasp it. Though when your children are of age, try asking them questions pertaining to the different ingredients. This helps them learn more about foods and their tastes + textures.
If you are like and don’t mind messes, I put 1/2 a cup of flour on baking sheet and let Mila play around with that as well. Don’t forget to have your phone handy to snap quick photos too!
When things are baking and cooling Mila and I will typically color, stack/play with the left over muffin cups, play with flour or listen to music and dance in the kitchen. Honest to God. Whatever we do I try keep it all in the kitchen. Sometimes Mila rearranges my cookie cutters or food storage containers. I also collect Disney magnets and keep them all at her level on our refrigerator so she can play with them. Just try to play to your child’s likes and leave it up to them on what it is they want to do. This will keep the experience fun for them (and you). I tried to have Mila scoop the batter into the muffin cups and she wasn’t into it at all. So I had her stop and we moved on. If you child gets frustrated or shows that they just aren’t into it, move on to something else. They don’t have to do every step in the recipe.
The best part really is the taste test in the end. Enjoy what you made together and share it family. Your child will be so proud of themselves!
Happy Cooking Friends!!
All photos by Lily Ro Photography
- 2 cups all purpose flour *you can sub for GF flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- 1 stick of unsalted butter *6 tablespoons for muffin batter, 2 tablespoons for the filling
- 1 1/3 cups brown sugar * + 2 tablespoons for the filling
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the; pumpkin puree, eggs, softened butter, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth.
In another mixing bowl sift together the; flour, salt, baking powder and pumpkin spice. Sift twice to achieve a really nice textured muffin.
With a spatula fold together the wet and dry ingredients until combined. You'll want to fold the ingredients together slowly and stop as soon as the batter comes together. You don't want to over mix, this will keep the muffins nice and fluffy.
In a small bowl stir together the last 2 tablespoons of softened butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and pumpkin seeds.
Line a muffin pan with muffin cups and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Fill each muffin cup with 2 tablespoons of batter.
Then add a bit of the pumpkin seed mixture to each muffin cup.
Lastly, top each muffin cup with the remaining batter. Be sure to leave a little room at the top of each muffin so they can rise when baking and not spill over.
If you have any left over pumpkin seed mixture, sprinkle the rest on top each muffin.
Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes or until risen and fully cooked. Be sure to use a toothpick to check if the muffins are ready to be taken out of the oven. If you poke the toothpick in the center of a muffin and it comes out clean, they are finished baking. If the toothpick comes out with batter on it, give the muffins a little more baking time.
Let cool on a baking rack, but enjoy the muffins slightly warm.