Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I've seen variations of this recipe floating around the blogosphere lately - and I even saw some of these muffins at Starbucks the other day - so I decided they were just calling to me to give them a try. I started out with a base recipe from on of my favorite baking blogs, Annie's Eats, but I lightened them up by cutting the fat and sugar, so I felt like I was eating a breakfast muffin and not a cupcake. The result is a spicy, moist muffin with a creamy, sweet surprise in the center.

I thought they were a great breakfast treat. My hubby took some to work and said they were a big hit with his employees, too. So these is definitely going into the rotation for fall baking recipes! Here's my version:

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
(Makes 12)

For the cream cheese filling:
4 oz. light cream cheese
1/3 c. confectioner's sugar

For the muffins:
1 1/2 c. white flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. vegetable oil

For the cinnamon sugar topping (optional):
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. white flour
2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces

About 2-3 hours before you plan to bake, beat cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until smooth. Shape into a 6-8" log on plastic wrap. Fold up the wrap until completely covered, then place in the freezer.
Once the cream cheese mixture has firmed up, preheat oven to 350&F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 c. flour, baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt. Add eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Beat on low speed just until combined.
Remove the cream cheese mixture from the freezer and cut into 12 small blocks.
Fill each of the muffin liners 1/3 of the way with the pumpkin mixture. Place 1 block of cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin, then top with remaining pumpkin batter. The muffins tins will be very full - almost (but not quite) to the top of the liner.
In a separate small bowl, mix brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 2 Tbsp. flour. Cut butter into mixture with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the tops of the uncooked muffins.
Place the muffins in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted (into the side - not the cream cheese center) comes out clean.
Cool completely before enjoying.
(If storing for more than few hours - keep these in the refrigerator. Pop them in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds each before eating - delish!!)

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