Espresso Spice Pumpkin Muffins

Espresso Spice Pumpkin Muffins

Something’s just OFF with me today, so I am surprised these muffins turned out so well. Honestly, I was knocking things over the whole time I was making these, spilling things too, and I swear that every time I opened the fridge, things just leapt out at me. I dropped my iPhone three times today. Before I even left the house this morning, I was convinced I had my contact lenses in the wrong eyes (as in left in right and right in left, not someone else’s eyes), and with 2 minutes to go before I had to leave I was switching them, then realizing I was wrong, switching them back, and then discovering I’d smeared mascara all over my face.

It’s been THAT kind of a day.

It’s no wonder I thought I was pushing my luck to bake tonight, but these urges cannot always be stifled. Nor should they, I suppose.

I had some pumpkin to use up, and just to continue the day’s “off”-ness, I ended up having to open a new can anyway, and now that one’s in the fridge waiting for yet another recipe. Oops.

Oh yeah, and I took a picture of the ingredients for this one and had to re-do it three times because I kept leaving something out. By the time I got everything in, a bottle of barbecue sauce poked its way into the picture, despite the fact that there is, I promise, no barbecue sauce used in this recipe whatsoever. But there it is, lurking suspiciously behind the eggs and the muffin tray.


I guess it just wanted to be part of the action. But to me, it was just another thing demonstrating that my attention to detail was slipping fast.

With uncharacteristic boldness, I dove in anyway, despite the odd direction the day had already taken. I got the dry ingredients (whole wheat white flour, baking powder, and salt) whisked up good, then set the bowl aside.

In another bowl, I added the brown sugar to the eggs.

brown sugar and eggs

I whisked.


In went the pumpkin and the vanilla.

pumpkin and vanilla

I whisked.

pumpkin mixture

Okay, now here’s where I started improvising.

The recipe said to melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and stir in the spices (espresso powder, cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, and cloves), but I wanted to replace half the butter with yogurt. The formula for that is to replace half the butter with half as much yogurt, so I melted three tablespoons of butter, and then because I knew I’d be adding the cold yogurt to it, I let it cool a little before adding everything in. In retrospect, I could have added the spices while it was still freshly hot; I’ll definitely do that next time. (And I also didn’t use the microwave, I just melted it on the stove.)

Once the butter had slightly cooled, I added the spices and stirred. Can you tell I was in a bit of a state? Normally I put things away as I go but tonight I felt as if I was barely keeping up and everything just stayed where I left it as I jumped on to the next step.

Anyway, the spices blended nicely into the melted butter.

spices in melted butter

For the yogurt, I finally had occasion to use my 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon. I swear I have never ever seen that specific measurement in a recipe, ever, but I do have a spoon for it. I added 1 1/2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (low fat) and stirred, then put the whole mixture into the egg & sugar bowl.

pumpkin with spices melted

The recipe got very specific after that. I added half the flour mixture, then put in the milk, then added the rest and stirred just until the last traces of flour disappeared.

milk added

more flour

muffin batter in cups

Next I combined white sugar, espresso powder, pumpkin pie spice, and a little bit of cinnamon and sprinkled that generously over the muffins.

muffins with topping

They looked pretty good when they came out of the oven, although they took much longer to bake than most of the other muffins I make. It was almost 25 minutes, I think. They sure looked tasty.


And surprise, they ARE tasty. Really flavorful. The espresso, spices, sugar and pumpkin all come together so well! I was nervous because the smell of the espresso was so strong while I was baking that I checked the recipe multiple times to make sure I hadn’t put in too much. Even Dave, who is innately drawn to the smell of coffee, thought something was burning. But it wasn’t. It was just getting more delicious.

I think by tomorrow morning the texture will be perfect, most baked goods with pumpkin are best the day after baking. But tonight? Already a lovely treat, and well worth the spills, clangs, and confusion…maybe they’re even redemptive.


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