Pumpkin Munchkins

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A stack of pumpkin donut holes rolled in sugar on a bamboo placemat.

I have this friend, and he has a pumpkin obsession. It might be more worrisome if he didn’t have a partner in crime, but thankfully he does. They have started a tradition for the autumn season—
Pumpkin Day. Pumpkin Day gets planned months out in advance so that no one has an excuse to miss it. This year they even decided to get permits to block off a portion of their street… in Chicago. It’s quite impressive. Everyone hangs out and watches It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, drinks pumpkin ales (Southern Tier Pumking is the best, by a mile), and nibbles on various pumpkin goodies. The offerings are amazingly varied. Pumpkin chili, pumpkin mac and cheese, pumpkin pie bars, Meg’s pumpkin spice sugar cookies, pumpkin dip, and soooo much more.

The number of pumpkin recipes I scoured was bordering on absurd. I was looking at bundt cakes, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, blondies, and the list goes on and on. Eventually I stumbled on to pumpkin poppers. They started popping up on different food blogs with all different kinds of names. I like to think of them as pumpkin munchkins more than anything. They have the slightly dense consistency of a donut and a sugary outside for a little crunch. I doubled the original recipes and made some substitutions. This recipe yields 48 munchkins.

A pumpkin cauldron filled with pumpkin donut holes.


  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ cups wheat flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree (fresh or canned, but not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup low-fat milk

*Note: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, combine the following

  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

For Coating

  • 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter (most recipes call for 2 sticks, but I got away with 1½)
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp cinnamon


Start by preheating your oven to 350° and spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and whisk till combined. In a larger bowl, mix together the wet ingredients—vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and milk. Once those are combined, slowly mix in the dry ingredients into the wet. Fold the dry ingredients in until just combined. Do not overmix the dough. It will dry out the munchkins.

Using a cookie scoop, fill mini muffin tins until they are each ¾ full.  Bake for 10–12 minutes.

While the munchkins are baking, melt butter (on the stove top or in the microwave). Set aside. In a small bowl combine your sugar and cinnamon.

Once you’ve taken the munchkins out of the oven, let them cool on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes. Then roll them in the butter and dip in the sugar-cinnamon mixture.

These are best enjoyed when eaten the day of. So place on the table and watch them disappear!

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

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