Muffins: Cream Cheese Pumpkin Delight

When making any kind of bread anything, my ultimate goal is bold flavor and moisture. As you know as of recent I’ve been trying to cut out as much fat out of my recipes as possible… while sneaking in as much in via small quantities as possible. (oxymoron?) Speaking of cutting fat, another great site to follow if you haven’t run across it yet,  skinnytaste.com She’s fantastic, and I really love that she includes all the nutritional value for almost everything she posts about.

So I’ve been eyeing this recipe for several months and have just never set aside the time to make it. It’s not they’re so much difficult as they are time-consuming. You need to be organized, and plan ahead several hours if you know you’re going to be wanting to throw these down. Totally worth it though, they’re incredibly delicious, and definitely a crowd pleaser…and really not as bad for you as they appear! (bonus!)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. Supposedly these were a knockoff of an item Starbucks used to do (according to Annie’s Eats) which is fine with me, because their coffee blows, least they can do is make up for it in tasty treats.

Confession Time: I know cream cheese (cc) is bad for you, but why are all the bad things…so good. If you could more actively invest in (cc) in the stock market, I’d buy out those stocks so fast. At least I can say I’ve graduated to eating the batter with (cc) in it, no longer just taking small chunks out of the box and eating it directly. Wait…is that progress? Oh well, who’s keeping score here.

Definitely several notes on this recipe: so make sure if you decide to make them you give yourself plenty of time, and really read the directions several times thru.

1. First things first is when you make the cream cheese mixture and put it in the freezer, the original instructions said at least 2 hours…I left it in for 3-4 and it still hadn’t hardened into a log yet. I would just do this step the night before so you aren’t watching the clock.

2. I used about half of what was called for in (cc), maybe a smidgen more. So if you’re watching your calorie/fat count, I would use 4-5 oz instead of the whole 8oz originally called for.

3.  I cut the amount of oil…by a lot. The canned pumpkin provides plenty of moisture and always allows for way less butter or oil (whatever is called for) So when I noted the original recipe, the full amount required was definitely not necessary and mine turned out great.

4. I used about 3/4 tsp of (cc) block per muffin and they turned out just fine–I didn’t want the (cc) to overpower the muffin…and wanted to cut some fat.

5. This makes a ton of muffins…yield was 24…but I’m pretty sure I got close to 30.

6. Measure out with a tablespoon or whichever tool you wish when scooping the pumpkin into muffin liners. You really want to make sure you get an even amount. I failed to do these with the first half and the (cc) was towards the top instead of the middle. They were both delicious…if you just prefer to have the (cc) in the middle make sure you measure….if you don’t care…do it whichever way you please you wild animals.

7. Go do these!! They were so good, they flew off my desk when I brought them to work. Even those who weren’t super sold on pumpkin really enjoyed these.

My adaption of Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins: Yield 26-30

For the filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup vegetable oil

For the topping:
½ cup sugar
6 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, 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 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 (I prefer to use my hands). Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • 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 26-30 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 a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells. The batter is thick so spread it instead of overfilling, or shake/jiggle the muffin pan.
  • Bake for 21 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. If you’re serving these the next day, I would put the in the microwave for 10 second. Heats everything up perfectly: just warms the muffin, and makes the (cc) ooze, but not drip.

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