Pigging Out On Pumpkin: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies and Pumpkin Surprise Muffins

Fall has officially arrived! Do you know how I know? It’s because my favorite local coffee shop is now serving pumpkin spice lattes and oh boy, are they yummy!

There are so many pumpkin recipes out there that are great to make in the fall. From pumpkin pie shakes and pumpkin martinis to pumpkin bars and of course pumpkin pie. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to making a recipe that involves pumpkin.

Since October has now arrived, I decided it was time to break out one of my pumpkin recipes and make something. I like to save the shakes and lattes for the professionals and focus on the one thing I can do…bake.Pigging Out 3

I have made many pumpkin recipes over the years. Some have been great and some have instantly found their way to the bottom of the trashcan. My favorite things to make are pumpkin bars (which have NEVER even seen the trashcan at our house). With so many different variations on pumpkin bars it’s hard to decide which one to bake, so I’m sharing with you one recipe that is slightly traditional, but yet has a modern twist.

These pumpkin chocolate chip blondies from The View From Great Island are so flavorful. The combination of the traditional spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice) give the bars a flavor that literally made me feel like I was eating pumpkin pie at my in-law’s house on Thanksgiving. They are light, sweet, and are best eaten with a humungous glass of cold milk! The modern twist of adding the chocolate chips is just enough to satisfy the most devote chocolate lover. Even my husband and three-year old enjoyed them and almost half of the pan was gone the first night I baked them! 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies

Yields One Dozen Bars

Pigging Out 1Wet ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree

Dry ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used a little less and it was still great)


1. Set oven to 350 degrees F

2. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Then add the pumpkin and mix well.

3. Sift the dry ingredients right into the bowl, and blend just until there is no dry flour visible. Fold in most of the chocolate chips, reserving some to sprinkle over the top.

4. Turn the batter into the pan and spread out evenly, sprinkle the remaining chips across the surface and press down lightly.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until it is slightly puffed, and is not wet or wobbly in the center.

6. Let cool on a rack before cutting. Loosely cover once completely cooled.

After filling up on the blondies, I decided that the next pumpkin recipe I would make would be kid-friendly and be slightly healthier. The Pumpkin Surprise Muffins from Lil Sugar proved to be just what I was looking for! They have less of a spice flavor and feature only cinnamon, which really catered to our three-year old’s picky taste. These muffins contain yogurt, so there is the added benefit of protein and less oil than some muffins contain. The recipe also contains some great tips for how to get your child involved in every step of the preparation.

Pumpkin Surprise Muffins

Yields One Dozen Muffins

Pigging Out 2Ingredients

For the Muffins:

  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup flour

For the Filling:

  • 4 ounces room temperature cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar


1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Invite your child to mix together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, stirring until the mixture is nice and smooth.

2. Carefully break the eggs and add to the pumpkin batter along with the vegetable oil and yogurt. Stir until the eggs are incorporated.

3. Sprinkle in the baking soda and baking powder and then measure and add the flour to create a smooth pumpkin muffin batter.

4. Lightly grease a muffin tin and then invite your child to place a big spoonful of the batter in each muffin cup. Along with learning basic culinary skills, scooping the pumpkin mixture into the muffin tins encourages hand-eye coordination.

5. To make the yummy surprise hidden in each pumpkin muffin, whip together the cream cheese, vanilla, cinnamon, and powdered sugar.

6. Now your child can put a small spoonful of the creamy filling in the center of each muffin tin, evenly distributing the filling so each of the muffins has the same amount.

7. Top each muffin with another dollop of the pumpkin batter covering the dollop of creamy filling.

8. Bake the muffins for 22 to 25 minutes or until the tops have slightly browned.

Hopefully your family will enjoy these recipes as much as my family did! They definitely make your house smell wonderful and will put a smile on your face while you drink your morning coffee. What pumpkin recipe will you bake first this fall?

Melissa was born and raised right here in Iowa. Although she grew up in southwest Iowa (about as close to Missouri and Nebraska as you can get!), she has called eastern Iowa home for 15 years. She and her husband Eric live in North Liberty, along with their 4 year-old daughter Kennedy. Melissa attended the University of Northern Iowa where she earned her BA in Early Childhood Special Education and her MAE in K-6 Learning Disabilities. She currently teaches kindergarten for the Clear Creek Amana School District, where she has taught for 14 years. In her spare time, Melissa loves to be outside playing or working on projects in their yard, spending time with family and friends, and baking up goodies for her family. She also enjoys taking walks with their two dogs, plump beagle Lenny and shy dachshund-beagle mix Cooper. Life as a full-time working mommy keeps her very busy, but Melissa wouldn't have it any other way!


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