It's no secret, I love to bake. I bake cupcakes for a living, and it's rare that I actually get the chance to bake for fun. When I do have the time (or energy) to bake something for fun, I tend to gravitate toward breakfast treats. Scones, cinnamon rolls, muffins... who doesn't love a warm, fresh-from-the-oven sweet treat in the morning?
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
are the perfect treat to help kick off the fall season. Pumpkin muffins are spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and filled with a surprise cream cheese center. They've got a crumbly topping that is pretty much irresistible. I baked these this past weekend to share at church, and they were definitely a hit! They'd make a great addition to any breakfast or brunch celebration throughout the fall. (I'm thinking breakfast on Thanksgiving morning perhaps...)
There are a few steps involved. First, you have to make the cream cheese filling in advance and freeze it for at least 2 hours. This keeps it nice and gooey in the oven. Combine a package of cream cheese and a cup of powdered sugar until smooth; then form it into a log, and wrap it in saran wrap and place it in the freezer. I did the step the day before, which made the muffin baking process go much quicker on Sunday morning.
Then, mix up the muffin batter. It calls for pantry basics - canned pumpkin, oil, sugar, eggs, flour, and spices. Mix it up using a mixer, or a large bowl and a powerful whisk.
Finally, mix up the crumb topping. In a small bowl, combine a bit of flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in some butter pieces until everything is crumbly. You can use a pastry cutter, two knives, or simply your fingers. (I go the simple route - use my fingers to rub the butter into the dry mixture until it's crumbly. A little messy, but the easiest in my opinion!)
Now for the assembly - spoon a few tablespoons of the batter into the bottom of 24 paper-lined muffin cups. For the cream cheese filling, take the frozen cream cheese log out of the freezer, and slice it into 24 pieces. Place one in each of the 24 muffin cups.
Then, cover each cream cheese piece with another few tablespoons of batter, until the muffin cups are very full. Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of the crumb topping.
Pop the muffins into a 350*F oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the muffins have domed and are baked through.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Servings/Yield: 24 muffins
- For the cream cheese filling:
- 8-oz package cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- For the muffins:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1¼ cups vegetable oil
- For the crumb topping:
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1. To prepare the filling, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log, covering the log tightly with the saran wrap. Place in freezer and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
2. For the muffins, preheat oven to 350*F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda. In a large mixing bowl or electric mixer, combine eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, and vegetable oil. Mix until smooth until well-blended. Add the dry ingredients, and mix on low just until incorporated.
3. For the topping, combine brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.
4. To assemble the muffins, spoon a few tablespoons of the batter into the bottom of 24 paper-lined muffin cups. For the cream cheese filling, take the frozen cream cheese log out of the freezer, and slice it into 24 pieces. Place one in each of the 24 muffin cups. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, covering cream cheese completely. Evenly divide the crumb topping over each muffin.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before serving.
Source: adapted from Annie's Eats