Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pumpkin Muffin Tops from Cleo Coyle

I am not ashamed to say it. I am a lover of muffin tops. The kind you eat and the other kind, because mangia means love in Italian and love handles make it easier to hold on to the ones you love.

Of course, as a writer, I spend most of the day sitting on my assets. So, while I love indulging for the holidays (butter and I have a longstanding relationship), when it comes to daily eating, I'm always looking for recipes that taste good but aren't crazy-high in calories. This recipe does that for me. 

At the start of the week, I'll make a double batch of these babies and store them in the fridge. Each day I'll pop two in the microwave, spread a little butter on top, pour a fresh cup of coffee (of course!), and I'm good to start writing.

Cleo's Pumpkin 

Muffin Tops

Here is a lighter, healthier alternative to fried doughnuts or syrup-laden pancakes yet just as filling and satisfying with a hot cuppa joe, and it has the added nutrition and fiber of pumpkin...

Servings: about 12 muffin tops


2 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour 

NOTE: For higher, prettier muffin tops, you can increase the flour by 1/4 cup, but in my opinion they don't taste as good.


(1) One bowl mixing method: Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Place eggs in bowl and whisk. Add oil, milk, canned pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt. Whisk until blended. Finally, sift in baking powder and flour. 

NOTE: Sifting the flour lightens it for better rising and texture. Sift after measuring for correct amount. Stir well to blend in the flour. Batter should be smooth but don't over mix. Now chill that batter for 15 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator. This batter really needs to rest and hydrate for best results.

(2) Prep pan and drop: For best results, line baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop batter onto baking sheet, about 2 tablespoons per muffin top (simply drop one tablespoon of batter right on top of the other). These will double in size so leave room between. On the 2nd batch, allow pan to cool before dropping batter or tops will spread too flat.

(3) Bake: Oven should be well pre-heated to 425° F. Bake muffin tops about 10 to 12 minutes (depending on oven). Rounds will rise slightly in center, resembling muffin tops. Serve warm with butter or dust with powdered sugar. Do not allow muffin tops to cool on hot pan. Bottoms may steam and become tough. Be sure to store in refrigerator (either wrapped in plastic or placed in an airtight container).


Pumpkin pie spice can be found wherever other spices are sold. Spice mixes like this (and apple pie spice) are good to keep in mind when looking for economical shortcuts to your holiday baking. If you would rather not use pre-made pumpkin pie spice, here are the ingredients to mix your own...

For 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice mix...

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ginger 
1/8 teaspoon allspice or cloves 
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
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Visit my online coffeehouse here.

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  1. What a great way to get muffin tops without having a special pan.

    Your first two paragraphs are so delightful that I had to read them to my husband. Well done.

  2. Oh Cleo. These look delicious. I am going to have to try them.

    Pat patdupuy@yahoo.com

    1. Pat - Easy to make and great for periodic noshing. I hope you enjoy them, and thanks for dropping by the Kitchen today!

      ~ Cleo

      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. I always want to try your recipes! They sound so delicious! Your books are so much fun to read.

  4. These look delicious! Much more fun than my usual breakfast!