What You Need:
- ½ cup golden brown sugar
- ½ cup organic applesauce
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 10-ounce can organic pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chocolate chips
For the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 4 drops red food coloring
- 1 drop yellow food coloring
What You Do:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, applesauce, eggs, and pumpkin puree. Set aside.
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and whisk with the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips.
- Slowly pour the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and stir, using slow, deliberate strokes with a wooden spoon or spatula. Do this just until you don’t see any flour. Be careful not to over-stir, or you will end up with muffins that are rubbery and tough.
- Portion the batter into a greased muffin tin (grease with nonstick cooking spray instead of butter, oil, or shortening for a healthier muffin), filling each cup about halfway. The easiest way to do this is to use a large spoon with the help of a smaller spoon to drop the batter where you want it.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the muffins bounce back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. While the muffins are baking, follow steps 7-11 to prepare the cream cheese frosting.
- In a small bowl, sift the powdered sugar through a sieve to remove lumps. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer. Start on the slowest setting, then gradually increase the speed until you get a smooth and creamy consistency.
- Stir in the orange juice and vanilla.
- Drop in the food coloring and stir until the frosting is a nice, even shade of orange.
- When the muffins are done, remove them to a cooling rack and let cool 5 minutes in the tray, then remove the muffins to the rack. Allow the muffins to cool completely before frosting.
- Spread the frosting on the muffins with a spreader, or pipe it on using a plastic zip-top bag. To pipe, spoon the frosting into a quart-sized bag and snip off the bottom corner.
Decorate the muffins any way you wish: with sprinkles, a thin twist of orange rind, or nothing at all!
**This recipe is peanut free, tree nut free, and vegetarian.