Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There is no gift giving stress, just good food and good people. What I love most about Thanksgiving is the pie. I absolutely love pie, especially pumpkin pie. Pumpkin products are a little harder to find overseas, so eating pumpkin pie was always a special treat. On Thanksgiving I would eat pumpkin pie for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. I know it might seem strange expressing my love for a November holiday in February, and even stranger that this is not a post for pumpkin pie, however these pumpkin muffins allow me to enjoy the flavor of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie all year. Just like I freeze my banana muffins, I bake these muffins in bulk, and then stored in the freezer for lunches. I have also given two versions of the recipe so that you can decide whether you would like to make a healthier muffin, or more of a dessert.

1 1/2 cups whole white wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce ( or 1/3 cup vegetable oil)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1/2 cup sugar plus one tablespoon (or 1 cup sugar)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
As many chocolate chips as you like

Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put liners in muffin cups.
Whisk together pumpkin, apple sauce, eggs, pumpkin pie spice,  sugar, chocolate chips, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.
Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.
Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

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