Light, Loaded Pumpkin Muffins with Dark Chocolate, Cherries and Walnuts


The perfect pumpkin muffin. It is something I aspire to create. The last week or so has been spent tweaking my basic pumpkin recipe.


Five extra pounds of Ima Shanna later, the final results are scrum-didily-umptious! Presenting my family’s forever favorite sweet, squash creation.


Mr. Pumpkin and Ms. Dark Chocolate are an unexpectedly delectable combination. The two sing harmoniously on the palette. Of course, Dark Chocolate never saw a Madame Cherry or Sir Walnut she didn’t get along swimmingly with. But, can the four ingredients unite with fabulous flourish?


Yes. Oh, the flavorful four shine together in “Light, Loaded Pumpkin Muffins with Dark Chocolate, Cherries and Walnuts.”


Fortunately, my little brother (well, he is actually quite big: 6’6″ tall!) is staying with us for a bit. Thus, I have an extra taste-tester on hand. “Dod (uncle in Hebrew) P.” has refined taste-buds, so he makes a trustworthy sampler – and he is shares his honest opinions. Dod P. gave the muffins two thumbs up. Yay!


Snu Magoo and Littlest Guy ate two muffins for breakfast – each. They crumbled more on the floor than usual: they inhaled these pillows of pumpkin perfection with lightening speed. I consider these facts a sign of kiddie endorsement: The Munchkin Seal of Approval.


Let’s. Get. Baking. !


First, combine the wet ingredients…


…And mix well.


In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.


… And stir, stir, stir. Maybe one more stir.


Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients…


… and mix well.


Snu Magoo and Littlest Guy are small (but mighty!) mixing helpers.


Use an ice cream scoop to fill twelve muffin cups.


Bake for 20-25 minutes…


… And cool oh-so-slightly.

Then, eat a soft, pillowy, slightly sweet muffin while warm.

The pleasure of oozing dark chocolate envelopes savory, crunchy walnuts and warm, soft cherries in a warm, delicious hug.


Critic A approves.


The second judge concurs.

It’s unanimous: “Yummy in my Tummy, Ima!”


Thank you for visiting us at Casa Curls and Carrots. Do try these muffins for your family, friends – or for a bit of pleasure not to be shared.

You deserve a treat!





Light, Loaded Pumpkin Muffins with Dark Chocolate, Cherries and Walnuts

Wet ingredients:

1 1/3 cups organic pumpkin purée

2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup canola oil

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. 0% Greek yogurt

Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour

1/4 cup rolled oats

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. Jamaican allspice or cloves 

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup walnuts, roasted and chopped

1/2 cup 60-70% dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli) 


  • Preheat oven to 350•F or 177•C.
  • Line a standard muffin pan with twelve muffin cups.
  • Whisk wet ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined.
  • In a separate, medium-sized bowl, use a large spoon to mix the dry ingredients well.
  • Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Mix well to completely combine.
  • Use an ice-cream scoop to place batter into muffin cups.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool on wire racks. Enjoy!


©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.



39 thoughts on “Light, Loaded Pumpkin Muffins with Dark Chocolate, Cherries and Walnuts

  1. Oh my goodness–these look amazing and wonderful. If I could eat one through my computer right now, I would! I might try it with dried cranberries, since I always have those on hand, along with Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips, of course! 🙂 Maybe after Thanksgivukkah (I already have 2 loaves of pumpkin bread in the freezer for that.)

    1. Hi, Merril,
      I am a bit pumpkin obsessed. You see, I have a loaf of pumpkin-raisin bread in the freezer, as my recipe makes two ( Still, I am baking pumpkin muffins! Truth be told, these muffins go very quickly – probably because of the dark chocolate inside!. I think they will be delicious with any dried fruit that you, your husband and daughters fancy. Thank you kindly for taking the time to visit and leave a warm, encouraging comment.
      Good Shabbos!

  2. yum!!! Love that your perfecting a pumpkin recipe. Even better that your kiddos lap them up. They’re all about the muffin, aren’t they? 😉

    1. Oh, Liz – Kids seem to adore muffins. Truth be told, I secretly hope mine get full and leave a few crumbs. Especially when it comes to this recipe. Many thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your warm and bright words. xx Shanna

    1. Dan,
      Thank you! Your comments are so uplifting. I am touched and honored that you stopped by – and left such warm, encouraging words. Thank you. Have a great weekend! Oh, and as as for the two munchkins: I’ll keep ’em.

  3. The just love pumpkin and chocolate together! And anything dark chocolate is just divine. Anything kiddo approved is always great! Crumbs from kids, I have no clue about that, ha ha ha! Mine boys can be quite messy, especially with muffins.

    1. Hi, Gretchen,
      Yes, messy eaters – we can relate on this, having crumbly little ones!
      I love pumpkin and chocolate, too. MMM. I appreciate you leaving a sweet note. Update me if you give these bad boys a try. Have a great day!

    1. Howdy, Amiga Ada,
      Thank you so much for visiting and leaving such bright, supportive words. Your visits are so uplifting. I am happy to hear that you like the combination – do let me know if you try the recipe. You are a great baker. Have a fabulous Sunday!

    1. OH my gosh, Lidia. I think that I had cherries and chocolate on my mind because you mentioned the combination with pumpkin previously. I should have cited you as my inspiration. Well, I now wholeheartedly thank you, a bit late. Thank you for coming by – you have made my night. Warmly, Shanna xx

  4. Chocolate, cherries, and walnuts I know play very well together. I didn’t realize there was room for pumpkin, too, at the party. These sound great, Shanna. I bet that flavor combination surprises everyone. It certainly would me.
    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Hanukkah, Shanna.

    1. Hi, John,
      You see, I am slowly attempting to lure you into making pumpkin muffins. Eventually, you will break down and give them a go. 😉 Thank you for your warm wishes for the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Max, Zia – and all who you care for.

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