The ‘Gate Plate: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


The ‘Gate Plate

Simple and scrumptious recipes for college students

When I arrived on campus, I quickly learned that a college kitchen is very different from a home kitchen: there are no staple spices in the cupboards, no secret stashes of flour and sugar in the basement and no parents or siblings to run to the grocery store for an extra stick of butter. Especially with pandemic limitations on getting to the stores, I realized that college students just need to be flexible and creative: simply learn to cook with what we have, and trust that it is okay to substitute ingredients. What I have also learned, after living with 15 housemates (besides the fact that dishes tend to accumulate at astronomical levels), is that food represents so much more than the basic nutrients needed to fuel and satisfy the human body.  

Food is a way to learn something new about those around you. It is fascinating to watch what your friends cook, and what it means to them. From one housemate’s rendition of a Sloppy Joe recipe from her grandmother in Indiana, to vegetarian housemate’s bowl of stir-fry vegetables, you can learn extraordinary things about people based on what they eat. Food is also a way to express creativity. My housemates pride themselves on who can produce the prettiest plate for dinner by using vibrantly colored ingredients and plating techniques galore. Food is a way to express you care, too. I found the best remedy for overwhelmed and overworked college students is a batch of freshly baked pumpkin muffins to enjoy during a study break. My hope in writing this column is to not only share my passion for cooking as a college student, but to ignite reader’s own interest and spark creativity in the college kitchen.

Easy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

This week’s recipe incorporates flavorful fall spices with a college student favorite: muffins. These muffins could not be easier to make, and can be frozen for later snacking. If you don’t have a muffin tin, you can easily use a baking pan to make a loaf of pumpkin bread. 

SERVINGS: 12 muffins

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOK TIME:  20-25 minutes

EASY TIP: An ice cream scoop is the perfect size for scooping batter into the muffin tin!


Preheat oven to 375° F and line a muffin tin with paper muffin liners (if cooking a loaf, generously spray your pan with cooking spray).

Combine in one bowl:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat flour for a healthier kick!)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice mix (found in the spice aisle at Price Chopper!)

Combine in a large bowl:

  • 15 oz can of pumpkin puree 
  • ¾ cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup canola oil 
  • 2 eggs (optional)
  • ½ cup mascarpone, ricotta or Greek yogurt (optional)

Add ingredients from both bowls and mix until smooth. Stir in:

  • ½ bag of dark chocolate chips 

Scoop batter into a prepared muffin tin or loaf pan. Fill a little over ½ of the way up — they will rise! Cook for about 20 minutes, stick a toothpick in to check and see if more baking time is needed (when the toothpick comes out clean, they are done). Let muffins cool, and enjoy!