Hello October! Yesterday we got our first bit of snow here in Fairbanks. Mind you it was only a sprinkling, but I could hardly believe it. If this is fall, what does winter have in store for me? This year is flying by, I can’t believe it’s October. October means pumpkin to me. Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin oatmeal, and now these Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Muffins.
These are deadly. They are light, fluffy muffins filled with cream cheese and topped with a sugar/cinnamon topping. They are a little time intensive (remember to read through the directions fully before starting), but are totally worth the effort. Some hints while making these: make sure the muffins are filled to the brim (they don’t grow too high while baking), add plenty of topping to each muffin (there is enough to cover each muffin completely) and make sure your cream cheese log is completely frozen before starting (or else you will get air in the muffins).
Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Muffins
Makes 24 Muffins
For the filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the topping:
- ½ cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
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
- 1¼ cups vegetable oil
- Begin by preparing the filling 3-4 hours before putting together your muffins. In a medium bowl using a handhed mixer, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of saran wrap and using your hands and a spatula shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the saran wrap tightly around the log, and then wrap a piece of foil around the saran. Transfer the log to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 3 hours. Ideally the log is completely frozen, but can be cut through with a knife.
- Once you are ready to make your muffins, begin by making the topping. In a smal bowl, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Whisk with a fork 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, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to the refrigerator until ready to use.
- For 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 with a fork to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. Add eggs one at a time 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). 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. Fill muffin wells to the top. Generously sprinkle topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until top of muffins are not soft (when you touch with your finger it is ok if it pushes in a little, but muffin top should not sink or jiggle). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.
- For storage, muffins can be left on the counter for up to one day or can be placed in ziploc bags and refrigerated. For longterm storage, place muffins in ziplocs and place in freezer (These muffins freeze well!).
Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats.