These muffins were a lot of fun to make and the students loved them. To make a more adult or general fall version, nix the frosting altogether, or do a maple syrup-powdered sugar glaze (keeping them more local too). The muffins are 100% whole wheat and the flavor is enriched by lovely fall spices and molasses in lieu of white sugar.
In class, we made mini muffins and everyone was able to decorate three– one to eat in class, two to bring home. We did coconut frosting because I wanted the texture to give the witches and goblins we would be creating a creepier face. Otherwise, I cut the sugar in the frosting by 1 cup with the addition of unsweetened coconut. I had a number of students proclaim they didn’t like coconut but at the end of the day they were eating the muffins with as much gusto as everyone else.
I broke our one hour class time similar to pizza day. Monday before class I made and baked a batch of muffins (so the muffins would be cool when we worked with them). In class we made a batch of batter, which I then refrigerated for the next day’s class. Students made the frosting and were provided decorations. Most of the students worked really fast on these so I was able to take my time going over the ingredients. The following class day I baked yesterday’s batter and had the muffins ready to go.
For decorations, I split the frosting into six batches and added a few drops of food coloring. This gave the students red, orange, green, blue, black and white bases to work with. Next they mostly had dried fruit for add ons: dates, bananas, raisins, cranberries, papaya and ginger. Also, pretzel sticks, marshmallows and a few sprinkles. I told my students to work for shape, rather than a candy pile on.
In all our excitement I forgot to take photos of some of my students truly amazing creations. We had marshmallow mummies, monsters with banana chip tongues, spiders with date arms, witches, devils, ghosts, goblins, cyclops, and beautiful abstract blobs of holiday color (perhaps a Kadinsky or two in our future). Which is why above, is a picture of my classroom blackboard, rather than some fabulous looking muffins.
One of my kindergarteners approached me after class and asked how I came up with our project for the day.
“It’s Halloween week.”
“I think you’re smart because I really like these.”
“Thanks, I’m glad you had so much fun.”
“Yeah, and also, do you know how to make pumpkin pie? Because you’re going to make a pumpkin pie for my Halloween party this weekend.”
No demands. I should have suggested that since he is now an expert at muffins, and enjoyed them so much, he should make them for all his friends.
Aprons were a train wreck at the end of the week so make sure to cover up, especially with the food coloring.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Coconut Frosting
Makes 24 mini muffins. Bake time= 15-18 minutes.
3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons crushed ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground flax (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Black, green, orange, red, blue food coloring, assorted dried fruit and candies, etc
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 mini muffin cups with liners. In a medium bowl add pumpkin, egg, molasses, butter, ginger and vanilla. Stir until well combined. Sift in whole wheat flour, baking powder, flax, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove and baking soda. Mix until just combined, being careful not to over mix ingredients.
Scoop batter into muffin liners. Bake 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. While baking, whisk together frosting ingredients. Divide frosting into small bowls. Dye one green, one orange, one black, etc. Set aside.
Remove muffins from oven. Let cool 10-15 minutes. Frost and decorate with assorted candies and dried fruit.