Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

It's starting to get colder, and it's got me thinking about fall... fall means lots of great things: Halloween (my favourite day all year besides my birthday), Thanksgiving, corn mazes & hay rides (Saunders Farm is close by), great weather for long walks (like the 1/2 marathon 9-Run-Run I'm training for), beautiful hikes in Gatineau park to see the turning leaves, and of course, great food!  Look anywhere lately and the stores are full of pumpkins, everywhere!  Now, since there's still six weeks before Halloween, I haven't bought my pumpkin yet, let alone carved it.  But, now pumpkin's on my brain, so I started looking up recipes.

I planned to make one this weekend, and wait for another weekend closer to the real beginning of fall to do another one.  I started looking and found an easy one for pumpkin ice cream, to make use of my new toy.  I found another good one to repeat for pumpkin ginger nut muffins, and while searching through my bookmarks and favourites, I found a classic: pumpkin cream cheese muffins.  I was going to wait.  I was!  It's too much all at once, right?  But then my friend Helen made some, and well, I had to have one!  And you can't have just one, can you?  So I spent this whole afternoon in a warm, pumpkin-spicy kitchen and I'm loving every minute of it!

Just to throw a wrench in the plans I had for this weekend, here are my muffins, slightly adapted based on the ingredients I had on hand.  The windows can wait to be washed... what's another week? These muffins are worth it.  Plus, they freeze really well so I can stick one batch in my freezer for later on in the winter when I need a little luxury to reheat for an afternoon snack.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Makes: 24 muffins

Filling Ingredients:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese
1 cup icing/powdered sugar

Muffin Ingredients:
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh, I used canned)
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
5 tbsp whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter


For the filling:
Combine the cream cheese and icing sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter.  Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil.  Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

For the muffins:
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, sea salt and baking soda; whisk to blend.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil.  Mix on medium-low speed until blended.

With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

For the topping:
Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.  Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons).  Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces.  Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well.  Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.  Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving (because the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)

Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats.

Note added September 27th: 
Two things to add: 
  • First, I have to freeze these to preserve them because I can't possibly eat them all before they'd spoil. Because of this, I've learned they taste even better after a freeze in a ziplock bag and a thaw on the counter.
  • Second, I took one in to a new friend today, for a treat, and was told they're so good they're "almost orgasmic".  How's that for a compliment ?! :)


  1. Glad you enjoyed them as much as we did!

  2. Hey Alex, I was given a muffin that Ginger had made from your suggested cream cheese muffin recipe and it was indeed delicious! So with the recipe in hand I made a batch and now my house smells heavenly of pumpkin and spices and I will have the leftovers in my freezer to enjoy another time. Meanwhile we are savoring every muffin morsel. Thanks to you!! Hope to join you walking soon. Take care, Monica.

  3. Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed them, and I'm happy to be spreading the joy :)
    See you soon!