Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Self Frosting Nutella and Pumpkin Muffins

Guess what? I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year. And while I always enjoy hosting it, I'm kind of enjoying the break too. But it's made me a little lazy. I've barely been shopping at all the last couple of weeks, I haven't been obsessively perusing the blogosphere looking for fun new recipes or tips for perfect turkeys, I haven't even reviewed my notes from last year's big day, and I haven't sent my sister's their annual packet of fresh herbs because we'll all be together (come to think of it, I ought to get a packet of herbs to my sister-in-law). One thing I have been doing here in lazy mode is thinking of easy dessert recipes--things that can be made well in advance, please a crowd, and contain pumpkin.

I should tell you that in addition to pumpkin, these contain Nutella. I love Nutella, but I've been slow to hop on the Nutella bandwagon--you know, the one where you make everything with Nutella and everyone goes blissfully insane. 

Why so slow to join that party? you're probably asking. Well, logical or not, I do have my reasons. One is that at about $3.50 for a small jar, Nutella isn't exactly a cheap condiment. Two is that I was kind of afraid that if I ate it on everything, I wouldn't really appreciate it as much as I do when it comes once a year to us in Kip's stocking. Three is that I sometimes feel like people take a mediocre recipe, add Nutella to it, and badaboom, everyone loves them. Maybe I'm just jealous, but that kind of bothers me.

In a way, I guess it almost seems like the Nutella takes all the glory from the recipe. Like you could combine Nutella with dirt or you could combine Nutella with the best chocolate cake ever and you'd still get the same gaga response from the masses. Does that make sense? No. Okay, well we'll chalk it up to my own personal insanity.

 But when I saw this recipe, I just couldn't hold out any longer, especially when knock-off Nutella went on sale at Aldi for $1.19 (yes, especially then).

I love chocolate and pumpkin together. And I just had to see if these really did "self frost." (THEY DO.)

Although I actually found that I prefer the Nutella stuck into the middle of the muffin providing a sort of Nutella-filled doughnut effect (sorry, forgot the pictures for those)--also having it in the middle means my kids can't quite as easily just eat the Nutella part off the muffin, not that they would ever do such a thing. At any rate, I'll give instructions for both the self-frosting and the cream-filled varieties of muffin. 

Make them for Thanksgiving. Even if you don't want to depart from the pumpkin pie these can feed all those voracious nieces and nephews for breakfast when you all get together crazy style in the same house.

Self Frosting Nutella and Pumpkin Muffins
idea adapted from A Feast for the Eyes, muffin recipe adapted from Food
makes 24 muffins
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cost: $2.40 without the Nutella; it will cost you another .50-1.00, depending on whether you can find a good knock off brand or not.
flour: .30, eggs: .40, sugar: .35, pumpkin: 1.00, oil: .20, spices. 15

Note: You can use all white flour if you want; it's delish, but the white whole wheat doesn't hurt either.

2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C white whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 pinch cardamom (you can skip if you don't have)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
2 C sugar
2 C pumpkin (about a 15 oz can--it's not quite exact, but if you don't have 2 C, the can works fine)
1 1/4 C vegetable oil (I use canola)

To frost or fill:
1--1 1/2 C Nutella

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix all ingredients (except Nutella) together. Don't you just love instructions like that? I mentioned my lazy style Thanksgiving attitude, right?

To do self-frosting muffins:

Put batter in muffin tins--you're going to fill them nearly to the top. Then plop on 1 (generous if you will) Tbsp Nutella onto each muffin. Use your finger (or a spoon if you were not raised in a barn) to sort of swirl it so that it's just combining on the edges with the pumpkin batter. You just kind of want to connect the pumpkin to the Nutella--you don't want to swirl batter into the Nutella in a way that would mix them.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into muffin part comes out clean.

Allow to cool before eating (I really prefer these cool to warm). You'll bite on and voila, you'll have a Nutella frosting on top. Yeah, it's pretty awesome. (See, there goes the Nutella stealing all the glory; these muffins rock on their own just for the record).

To do Nutella-filled muffins:

Put batter halfway up the muffin cup. Add 1 (generous if you will) Tbsp Nutella. Cover with batter so that muffin cup is filled. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. It's a little trickier to test these for doneness--just do your best to make sure the batter isn't gooey. For me, this is almost always at 20 minutes.

Allow to cool and eat. (Again I must reiterate that I really prefer these cool to warm. Both are good, but I love love love them once cooled.)



  1. This sounds great!! I'm not hosting Thanksgiving, but did managed to get volunteered to play hostess to 21 people the weekend after! I've been activly making my menu list and wanted something easy, yet delicious to serve for dessert that adults and kids would like. Even better I have all the ingredients and don't have to go to the store again!! Thanks



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