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
8 oz (one package) cream cheese
1 cup icing/powdered sugar
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
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh, I used canned)
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
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 ?! :)