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Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Muffins


It snowed on Monday.

Not a light dusting, not a wet slushing, but a full-fledged snowstorm that went on for 14 hours. I felt energized when I woke up that morning. I laced up my snow boots. I zipped up my parka. I squeezed into my hat and my mittens, and I was the happiest person in the parking lot scraping ice off my car. I love the snow -- I really do. I just really love winter.

That said, I spent most of the day thinking of a cozy recipe to go with the weather. I made a few apple pies last week and pumpkin challah the week before, so I tried to mix it up a bit (even though I clearly can't branch out from pumpkin). I settled on muffins, and I'm a sucker for anything swirled, so I settled on these pumpkin muffins swirled with chocolate batter. They're quick, they're easy and they're really dang delicious... plus, there's a teeny bit of espresso powder in there. Sold.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a mixture of nutmeg, ginger & cloves)

2 large eggs

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon espresso powder

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Turbinado sugar, for finishing

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 F and grease a 12-hole muffin tin, or line with baking papers. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices; set aside. In a separate medium bowl, beat eggs, 1/3 cup of the vegetable oil, yogurt, pumpkin and vanilla until combined. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour 1/3 of the batter into another bowl. Add the cocoa powder, espresso powder and 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil into one of the bowls. Now you should have one light batter and one dark batter.

Fill 1/3 of the muffin tins with the light batter, then 1/3 with the chocolate batter. Generously sprinkle the chocolate chips into each muffin, then top with the remaining pumpkin batter. Using a toothpick or a thin skewer, gently swirl the two batters together to create a subtle marbled effect. Top with turbinado sugar, then bake in the oven for 17-20 minutes, until the muffins are puffed and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Devour.


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