Healthy New Year’s Pumpkin Spice Muffins

heidi drygas muffins 1

For Christmas this year, my adorable nieces in Fairbanks gave me the holiday death plague. Complete with hacking cough, sore throat, congestion…you get the idea. I feel like death warmed over. A pair of socks or some homemade drawing with macaroni glued to it would have sufficed. Instead, I have the voice of a 6-pack-a-day smoker and the feeling of a hangover without the joy of the previous night’s festivities. Merry Christmas, Auntie Heidi!

So here I lay on my couch, with the Food Network buzzing in the background. My girl Ina Garten is making some delicious Italian Feast of roast fish with polenta and celery salad. The plague has done nothing to curb my appetite (DAMN IT) and all I want to do is reach through the television and have a little taste for myself.

A staycation for one seems to be what the doctor’s ordered. Even Milo agrees. He’s barely moved from his perch atop the couch all day.

In my delirious, sick-y state I decided I needed to bake something. I KNOW, I KNOW. I’m a terrible baker. Recipe exactness is for the weak and timid. Which is my excuse for why nearly every cake I’ve ever made looks more like a pancake than an actual cake. But I’ve really wanted to make this holiday muffin recipe I received in the mail, and my house is still full of Christmas decorations so it still feels very festive here on the West side of Anchorage. And therefore, I made muffins. Which turned out super delicious, and may even be deceptively healthy. So therefore, Happy New Year’s resolution to you, too! (Just ignore the enormous amount of sugar in them.)

Here’s to a happy, healthy, delicious 2014!

heidi drygas muffins 2

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Pumpkin Spice Muffins
(Adapted from

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. ground ginger
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 can (or 7.5 oz.) pumpkin puree
1/2 c. warm water

For streusel topping:
1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
scant 1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
3 T. cold unsalted butter, cubed

(1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray, or use cute polka-dot liners like I did.

(2) Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl or mixer with the whisk attachment.

(3) In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, pumpkin, and water.

(4) Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until JUST blended (don’t overmix!)

(5) Fill the muffin tins 3/4 of the way with batter.

(6) Mix all of the streusel ingredients except for the butter. Add the butter after the other ingredients are fully incorporated, and use your fingers to crumble up the butter into the mix until only small pieces of butter remain. Top each muffin with a small handful of streusel.

(7) Bake for 30-35 minutes, checking after 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

xo H

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Heidi was born and raised in Fairbanks, and grew up in and around the waters of the Chena River. She graduated with a degree in History from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and received her law degree from Willamette University. A lawyer by day and self-taught home cook at night, she is passionate about cooking and creating tasty, uncomplicated food. She is also a firm believer in buying local produce and products whenever possible, and is an avid fisherwoman. She currently lives in Anchorage with her trusty terrier, Milo.

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