The ‘Gate Plate: Pumpkin Muffins Worth Falling For

Tate Fonda, Arts & Features Editor

The first time I recall entering a grocery store, I was with my mother in West Hartford, Connecticut, and I thought we were at a theme park. But beyond Chiquita bananas and saran-wrapped meats lay the most entrancing section of any grocery store — the bakery, where sticky cartons of gooey muffins lie covered in gritty streusel. For this week’s dish, I offer muffins that are “better than the grocery store” — that is, gooey-er, sticky-er and with a few special ingredients that elevate the entire idea. 

“Better than the Grocery Store” Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients — Serves 12


  • 1½  cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Two pinches of salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½  tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼  tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup apple juice

Streusel Topping

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • Half a stick (4 tablespoons) of melted and cooled unsalted butter


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pick your favorite (possibly fall themed) paper liners to bake your muffins inside.

Step 2: Combine all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices) and whisk until combined.

Step 3: In a separate bowl, beat the eggs before adding the rest of the wet ingredients: oil, pumpkin puree and apple juice. 

Step 4: Combine the wet and dry ingredients; fold the batter until well combined. 

Step 5: Adjust proportions of apple juice and flour as needed to create a smooth batter.

Step 6: Melt the butter needed to make the streusel and cool for five minutes. Then combine the rest of the streusel ingredients (flour, brown sugar, salt) until the mixture crumbles. 

Step 6: Pour the muffin batter into a baking tray and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. 

Step 7: Top the baked muffins with the streusel mixture, and enjoy when cooled!

Tips & extras:

  • Bake the streusel into the muffins, if you’d like. This is what I did in the test kitchen and the result was a gooey, buttery muffin. 
  • These muffins are dairy-free, besides the butter in the streusel. Substitute the butter for a stick of plant butter as I did for a dairy-free treat. 
  • Brush the pumpkin muffins with maple syrup or steep some chai to replace the addition of apple juice for a diverse flavor combination.

Paper garlands and plastic pumpkins remind me of Sunday trips to the grocery store in the fall. As you decorate your homes, or dorms, for the brisk season, enjoy a baked good that comforts the senses like a cozy blanket.