Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

First, I just want to say that I have not abandoned my little recipe blog.  I started working on my Master's degree this past September and it has consumed me!  I haven't been cooking much and what I have cooked has not been "blog worthy."  

However....I am on break until January and I am so excited to get back in the kitchen!  I started yesterday by making these muffins.  They involve a few extra steps compared to the run-of-the-mill muffin--but let me tell you...this is not your run-of-the-mill muffin!  The extra time is SO worth it!

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice*
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces

*I bought pumpkin pie spice and it has mysteriously vanished from my spice drawer.  My toddler loves to pull that drawer open and play with all of the spices so I feel quite certain I will find it somewhere one day.  ANYWAY, I had to make my own pumpkin pie spice (which were actually a lot of the spices I had already used) and here is the mix:
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
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 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.

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 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 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).  I lifted the liners and tilted them a little (see picture) to ensure the bottom was completely covered.  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 about 1 1/2 tsp. 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.  
Recipe from

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