Preheat the oven to 350F/177C. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. This recipe will make 15 muffins; I use a 12-count pan and a 6-count pan to fit all the batter.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extra for 2 to 3 minutes, until the butter is fluffy. Add the eggs and beat again for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add the pumpkin puree next and mix again briefly until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter, then mix just until the flour is incorporated. Add the pecans and chocolate chips and fold them in with a spatula.
Use a 1/4 cup scoop to divide the batter evenly. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Enjoy the muffins warm, or cool them completely, then top with whipped cream.
For Optional Whipped Cream:
For the whipped cream: combine the chilled heavy cream, confectioner's sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon and maple extract in a large mixing bowl. Whisk on med-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream into a pastry bag; I used Ateco tip #847. Pipe a generous amount of frosting onto each muffin. If desired, add a sprinkle of cinnamon to top and drizzle with caramel sauce.