Nov 1, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Wow! I'm in pumpkin heaven! Although I just tried this recipe for the first time tonight, these are some of the best muffins I've ever made! Warm and delicate muffins, just out of the oven, with a deliciously sweet cream cheese filling. So good! Two thumbs way up for this recipe even though it takes a little more work than normal.

This recipe, which my friend Angie led me to, comes from a blog called Annie's Eats. I followed her recipe pretty much to the letter except when it came to the topping. I'm sure there is nothing wrong with Annie's topping, and I'll probably give it a try next time, but I decided to do a little experimenting. For half of the muffins, I thought that I'd go "topless" and sprinkle nothing at all on them. They are already plenty sweet and plenty rich. For the other dozen muffins, I did more of a brown sugar streusel topping. I mixed together about 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and a few tablespoons flour (no butter). I also scattered some chopped pecans across the top. Anyway, BOTH options are wonderful, but I think I have a slight preference for the brown sugar topping.

Anyway, give these a try. You won't be sorry.

Makes 24 muffins

Ingredients:
For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

For the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions:
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners' 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 1 1/2-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.

To make 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, 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.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. 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. (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)

6 comments:

  1. My friend Pam sent this comment in: "I tried the pumpkin muffin recipe today. Had a little trouble with the cream cheese filling (it never reached the stage where slicing it would be possible--even tried putting it in the freezer). Probably because we used cream cheese in a plastic tub and not the brick type (not even sure we can get that here in England). I used real pumpkin from our garden and something called "mixed spice" instead of pumpkin pie spice. We tried one as soon as it looked like it wouldn't melt our tongues, Wish you were here....it was AMAZING!!!! The next six are in the oven as we speak. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe....yum, yum, yum!!!"

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  2. Glad you liked the recipe, Pam! It's a keeper! And I do understand your cream cheese dilemma. I'm pretty sure that the recipe does call for the block cream cheese, which is firmer. But even with that, I've never quite gotten the cream cheese filling to freeze as firmly as I'd hoped. The first time I made the recipe, I was able to get actual slices, though they were quite messy slices, and they became increasingly so as I went along. And that's when the mixture had been in the freezer overnight, not just a couple of hours. Then yesterday, when I tried the recipe a second time, the cream cheese filling was even more messy. No slices at all. Pretty much had to drop the filling in by teaspoonfuls. But the muffins still tasted great. I don't know what is up with that. I'll maybe try turning up the freezer temp next time. Otherwise, I'll just live with the problem.

    So tell me how using fresh pumpkin went. Was it easy to do? Do you normally use fresh pumpkin for pies, etc? I wish I could taste the difference.

    Still tinkering with different toppings, but that's because I'm trying to make a great recipe even better. :-)

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  3. Pam's response: "i had to spoon the cream cheese filling into the batter - but i think it worked out ok. the fresh pumpkin is pretty easy. i found instructions on the internet: baked in oven and mashed. i used a hand held electric mixer to create a puree. we can't get (i don't think) canned pumpkin over here - so i have always used fresh pumpkin (the 1,000s of times i've cooked a pumpkin pie - JK)

    i only got 18 muffins out of the recipe - must have been too big. we had left over cream cheese stuff and topping which we ate with raspberries later in the evening...pretty good."

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  4. Pam, thanks for the lead on using fresh pumpkin. I'll have to try that sometime. I'm guessing that it would taste even better with fresh ingredients.

    Only 18 muffins, huh? I wonder if muffin cups are larger in the UK. For me, the recipe easily makes 24, and could even go over to 25.

    I don't know how you stand it over there. No pumpkin pie spice, no canned pumpkin, cream cheese only in tubs! It must be a living hell! ;-)

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  5. You know we are big pumkin dessert fans over here? I will have to try this for sure!

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  6. Do it, Emily! You'll really like these!

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