When I was in graduate school I worked at a grocery store in Marietta, Georgia called Harry’s Farmers Market. It was a huge warehouse filled with all kinds of foods from around the world. Harry’s was where I learned to appreciate international cuisine outside of Mexican and Italian food. I discovered food from Africa, India and the Middle East. It was a great place to work and eat. With this ecclectic food exposure you would think my greatest food memory would be the first time I tasted a falafel or bit into a lychee fruit. Nope. It was Harry’s jumbo chocolate chip pumpkin muffins that made my experience there worthwhile.
I ate at least two of these glorious muffins almost everyday. It was the first time I had ever had chocolate and pumpkin together and I couldn’t get enough of it. I even got my friend and study-buddy Camilla hooked on them. We would smuggle the muffins into the library and nibble and giggle for hours (We did take time out to study every now and then.) Then one day I made the ultimate mistake. I looked at the nutritional information on the package. Why did I do that? My chocolate chip pumpkin muffins and I had such a good thing going. I just had to go and ruin it. There it was in black and white judging me, mocking me: Serving size: 1/3 muffin; Calories per serving 335. (I have mentally blocked out the fat grams per serving.) 1005 calories per muffin! Wow! The funny thing is I couldn’t figure out why I was gaining weight since I wasn’t eating a lot. I was just eating muffins. My gastronomic love affair/obsession with those deceptive yet alluring chocolate chip pumpkin muffins was over, and I didn’t eat another muffin from Harry’s again.
I learned two things from that experience: 1) Ignorance is definitely bliss. 2) Don’t read nutrtion labels if you want to enjoy your food in peace.
These muffins are my attempt at re-creating those famous Harry’s muffins. They are super moist and have a mild spice flavor that compliments the chocolate perfectly. And I’m pretty sure that each muffin is not 1005 calories.
Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 20 muffins
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 12-cup standard muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into a large bowl. Whisk the sugars, vegetable oil, pumpkin, eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until well combined.
Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Toss the chocolate chunks with 1 tablespoon flour to coat. Gently stir the chocolate chunks into the batter.
Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin cups and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool the muffins in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Remove them from the pan and cool on the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.