Last weekend I was in North Carolina for the wedding of my dear college friend Rachel. The weather when I arrived was a ridiculous 82 degrees, but thankfully it cooled off for the rest of the weekend. (I say “thankfully” because Rachel and Brooks had a lovely fall wedding planned, from the decor to the colors to the food. You just can’t eat butternut squash risotto or mashed sweet potatoes when it’s 80 degrees outside.)
Because I was 700 miles away from my beloved espresso machine, the girls and I began each morning of that fun-filled weekend with a trip to the local Starbucks. The coffee chain is in full-on autumn mode, with pumpkin bread, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin scones, etc. The only thing I didn’t try was a pumpkin cream cheese muffin. Why? Because I have a whole batch in my freezer at home.
These are so festive and fun to make! This recipe has a cinnamon streusel topping instead of pumpkin seeds and the cream cheese is carefully placed inside so as not to ooze out on top. A word for the overeager: let these cool completely before you eat one, lest you burn your tongue!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
- 1 cup light cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
- 5 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 4 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cups grapeseed or other neutral oil
Prepare filling: Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a ziploc bag and snip off a corner. Pipe into 24 equal mounds on a piece of wax paper. Transfer to freezer and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
Prepare topping: Combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
Prepare muffin batter: Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
Assemble muffins: Fill each cupcake liner with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 Tbs). Place a dollop of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, covering the cream cheese completely. Sprinkle a generous amount of the topping mixture over each muffin.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.
Makes 24 muffins.
Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats.
Nutrition facts (per muffin): 255 calories, 11.6 g fat, 36.6 g carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 4.3 g protein.