Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

One of my favorite treats at coffee houses are pumpkin cream cheese muffins. And they're expensive! I am really really excited about this recipe. I found it over at Annie's Eats and had to try it. Anyone who really knows me knows that baking is not my thing, but I'm getting better. I made half a recipe (12 muffins with filling + a dozen mini muffins without filling) and think these are possibly the closest thing to heaven. I thought the cloves were slightly overwhelming, so next time I'm going to cut the amount further or omit altogether. The recipe makes a lot of topping, but trust me, use all off it. You won't regret it. These are probably going to be a year round staple.

For the filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

For the muffins:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves (need to reduce)
1/2 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2/3 to 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used 3/4 because my math was off and it was fine)

For the topping:
1/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 tbsp flour
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To prepare filling: Combine the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Smooth plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least two hours.

To make muffins: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners (for the mini muffins I just spritzed with cooking spray). In a medium bowl, combine with flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, 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 topping: Combine 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 or two forks [your fingers work really well too... just saying] until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Keep in fridge 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 12 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 the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes (10-12 minutes for mini muffins). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

I wrapped a few of the muffins individually in saran wrap and placed in a freezer bag, to keep in the freezer.
[click here for printable version]

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